Ventura, officially the City of San Buenaventura, is the county seat of Ventura County, California, United States. The coastal site, set against undeveloped hills and flanked by two free-flowing rivers, has been inhabited for thousands of years. European explorers encountered a Chumash village, referred to as Shisholop, here while traveling along the Pacific coast. They witnessed the ocean navigation skill of the native people and their use of the abundant local resources from sea and land. The eponymous Mission San Buenaventura was founded nearby in 1782 where it benefitted from the water of the Ventura River. The town grew around the mission compound and incorporated in 1866. The development of nearby oil fields in the 1920s and the age of automobile travel created a major real estate boom during which many designated landmark buildings were constructed. The mission and these buildings are at the center of a downtown that has become a cultural, retail, and residential district and visitor destination.
Ventura lies along U.S. Route 101 between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, which was one of the original U.S. Routes. The highway is now known as the Ventura Freeway, but the original route through the town along Main Street has been designated El Camino Real, the historic pathway connecting the California missions. During the post–World War II economic expansion, the community grew easterly, building detached single family homes over the rich agricultural land created by the Santa Clara River at the edge of the Oxnard Plain. The population was 106,433 at the 2010 census, up from 100,916 at the 2000 census with the median age being 39. Ventura is part of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Ventura had a population of 106,433. The population density was 3,316.2 people per square mile (1,280.4/km²). The racial makeup of Ventura was 76.6% White, 1.6% African American, 1.2% Native American, 3.4% Asian (0.9% Filipino, 0.6% Chinese, 0.4% Indian, 0.4% Korean, 0.4% Japanese, 0.3% Vietnamese, 0.5% Other), 0.2% Pacific Islander, 5.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 31.8% of the population.
The Census reported that 103,940 people (97.7% of the population) lived in households, 755 (0.7%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 1,738 (1.6%) were institutionalized.
There were 40,438 households, out of which 13,014 (32.2%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 18,907 (46.8%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 4,936 (12.2%) had a female householder with no husband present, 2,153 (5.3%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 2,621 (6.5%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 371 (0.9%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 10,959 households (27.1%) were made up of individuals and 4,271 (10.6%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57. There were 25,996 families (64.3% of all households); the average family size was 3.14.
The population was spread out with 23,918 people (22.5%) under the age of 18, 9,581 people (9.0%) aged 18 to 24, 28,814 people (27.1%) aged 25 to 44, 29,957 people (28.1%) aged 45 to 64, and 14,163 people (13.3%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.6 males.
There were 42,827 housing units at an average density of 1,334.4 per square mile (515.2/km²), of which 22,600 (55.9%) were owner-occupied, and 17,838 (44.1%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.3%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.5%. 59,330 people (55.7% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 44,610 people (41.9%) lived in rental housing units.