Ventura County is one of 58 counties in the State of California. It has a beautiful, temperate climate and its landmass rises from sea level to 8,831 feet at Mt. Pinos in the Los Padres National Forest. At certain times of the year, it is possible to stand on the beach and see snow in the mountains.

The county’s coastline stretches a stunning 42 miles and the peaks of the Los Padres National Forest account for 46 percent of the landmass in the northern portion of the county. Fertile valleys in the southern half of the county make Ventura County a leading agricultural producer. Together, farming and the Los Padres National Forest occupy half of the county’s 1.2 million acres.

The mild Mediterranean climate, along with scenic geography, makes the area attractive to the more than 900,000 culturally and ethnically diverse people who call Ventura County home. The unincorporated areas – along with the ten incorporated cities of Camarillo, Fillmore, Moorpark, Ojai, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Santa Paula, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, and San Buenaventura (Ventura) – rank Ventura as the 11th most populous county in the State.

Ventura County has a strong economic base that includes major industries such as biotechnology, health care, education, agriculture, advanced technologies, oil production, military testing and development, and tourism.

Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu is the largest employer in the county with more than 16,000 employees. The County of Ventura (government) is the next largest employer more than 8,000 employees located throughout the county. The Port of Hueneme is California’s smallest, but only deep-water port between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and plays a major role in the local economy.

Home to two universities (California State University Channel Islands and California Lutheran University), a small private college and three community colleges (Oxnard, Ventura, and Moorpark), multiple university extensions, institutes, and adult schools, the county is an educational center and enjoys a strong structure for workforce development.

The County of Ventura was formed January 1, 1873, when it separated from Santa Barbara County. It is a general law county, governed by a five-member Board of Supervisors, elected at-large for a staggered four-year term in their respective districts, and the chairmanship rotates annually. The Board of Supervisors is responsible for providing policy direction, approving the County budget, and representing the County in a number of areas including special districts. Board actions can apply countywide or only in unincorporated areas.

Other County elected officials include the Auditor-Controller, Assessor, Clerk/Recorder, District Attorney, Treasurer-Tax Collector, and Sheriff. The County Executive Officer advises, assists, and acts as an agent for the Board of Supervisors in all matters under the Board’s jurisdiction.

Under the guidance of the Board of Supervisors, the approved County annual budget of more than $2 billion serves to assist vulnerable adults and children, provide public safety, ensure justice, protect public health, and improve the quality of life for the county’s residents.  In alignment with key focus areas established in the County Strategic Plan, services are provided to residents by over 8,000 dedicated public servants working in 23 different agencies, departments and special districts.

County Demographics

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Types of Counties

The California Constitution recognizes two types of counties:

  • General law counties.
  • Charter counties.

General law counties adhere to state law as to the number and duties of county elected officials. Charter counties have a limited degree of “home rule” authority that may provide for the election, compensation, terms, removal, and salary of the governing board; for the election or appointment (except the sheriff, district attorney, and assessor who must be elected), compensation, terms, and removal of all county officers; for the powers and duties of all officers; and for consolidation and segregation of county offices. A charter does not give county officials extra authority over local regulations, revenue-raising abilities, budgetary decisions, or intergovernmental relations.

A county may adopt, amend, or repeal a charter with majority vote approval. A new charter or the amendment or repeal of an existing charter may be proposed by the Board of Supervisors, a charter commission, or an initiative petition. The provisions of a charter are the law of the state and have the force and effect of legislative enactments. There are currently 45 general law counties and 13 charter counties.

County History

The original 27 counties in California were Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Los Angeles, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo and Yuba.