San Benito County, California

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San Benito County is a county located in the Coast Range Mountains of the U.S. state of California, south of San Jose. As of 2000 the population was 53,234. The county seat is Hollister, which includes nearly two-thirds of the county's population. El Camino Real passes through the county and includes one mission in San Juan Bautista.



San Benito County was formed from parts of Monterey County in 1874.

The county is named after the San Benito Valley. Father Juan Crespí, in his expedition in 1772, named a small river in honor of San Benedicto (Saint Benedict), the patron saint of the married, and it is from the contraction of this name that the county took its name.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,391 square miles (3,602 km²), of which 1,389 square miles (3,598 km²) is land and 2 square miles (4 km²) (0.12%) is water.

Sharing a border with Santa Clara County, San Benito County lies adjacent to the San Francisco Bay Area and is sometimes considered a part of that region. Instead, the county is associated with the Monterey Bay Area through governmental organizations such as the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments as well as the Pajaro River, which flows from northern San Benito County into the Monterey Bay. However, the United States Census Bureau includes the county in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara MSA and the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland CSA, which the Census uses as a statistical definition of the San Francisco Bay Area.

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