Arcata, CA
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Living in Arcata


Arcata is a medium-sized coastal city (i.e. on the ocean, a bay, or inlet) located in the state of California. With a population of 17,843 people and five constituent neighborhoods, Arcata is the 330th largest community in California.

Housing costs in Arcata are among some of the highest in the nation, although real estate prices here don't compare to real estate prices in the most expensive communities in California.

Arcata is a decidedly white-collar city, with fully 88.36% of the workforce employed in white-collar jobs, well above the national average. Overall, Arcata is a city of professionals, service providers, and sales and office workers. There are especially a lot of people living in Arcata who work in food service (12.66%), office and administrative support (11.58%), and teaching (11.03%).

Also of interest is that Arcata has more people living here who work in computers and math than 95% of the places in the US.

Arcata is a small town with a large college student population. Because of this, there is a real youthful, hip vibe to the place, and much of the life in the town is centered on the college. This has helped Arcata to buck the trend of other small towns that have suffered declining populations over the past 20 to 30 years. Spending by students, and faculty and staff jobs, are a big part of the local economy.

Arcata is also nautical, which means that parts of it are somewhat historic and touch the ocean or tidal bodies of water, such as inlets and bays. Such areas are often places that visitors and locals go for waterfront activities or taking in the scenery.

Residents of the city have the good fortune of having one of the shortest daily commutes compared to the rest of the country. On average, they spend only 16.85 minutes getting to work every day.

The education level of Arcata ranks among the highest in the nation. Of the 25-and-older adult population in Arcata, 47.22% have at least a bachelor's degree. The typical US community has just 21.84% of its adults holding a bachelor's degree or graduate degree.

The per capita income in Arcata in 2010 was $18,681, which is lower middle income relative to California and the nation. This equates to an annual income of $74,724 for a family of four. However, Arcata contains both very wealthy and poor people as well. Arcata also has one of the higher rates of people living in poverty in the nation, with 37.11% of its population below the federal poverty line.

Arcata is a somewhat ethnically-diverse city. The people who call Arcata home describe themselves as belonging to a variety of racial and ethnic groups. The greatest number of Arcata residents report their race to be White, followed by Native American. Arcata also has a sizeable Hispanic population (people of Hispanic origin can be of any race). People of Hispanic or Latino origin account for 13.97% of the city’s residents. Important ancestries of people in Arcata include German, English, Italian, and European.

The most common language spoken in Arcata is English. Other important languages spoken here include Spanish and Chinese.

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