An aerial photograph of Foster City in 2013

Foster City is a city located in San Mateo County, California. The 2020 census put the population at 33,805,[6] an increase of more than 10% over the 2010 census figure of 30,567. Foster City is sometimes considered to be part of Silicon Valley for its local industry and its proximity to Silicon Valley cities.[8][9] Foster City is one of the United States’ safest cities,[10] with an average of one murder per decade.[11]


Foster City was founded in the 1960s, built on the existing Brewer Island in the marshes of the San Francisco Bay on the east edge of San Mateo, enlarged with engineered landfill. The city was named after T. Jack Foster, a real estate magnate who owned much of the land comprising the city and who was instrumental in its initial design. His firm, Foster Enterprises, now run by his descendants, relocated to San Mateo in 2000[12] and is still active in real estate affairs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Forbes ranked Foster City #10 on their 2009 list of "America's Top 25 Towns to Live Well." Money has also recognized Foster City multiple times as one of the "Best Places to Live."


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.8 square miles (51 km2), of which 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2) is land and 16.1 square miles (42 km2) is water. The total area is 81.07% water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[13]


The 2010 United States Census[14] reported that Foster City had a population of 30,567. The 2009 median home price in Foster City was $1,025,000. The population density was 8,138.2 people per square mile (3,141.8/km2). The racial makeup of Foster City was 13,912 (45.5%) White, 576 (1.9%) African American, 29 (0.1%) Native American, 13,746 (45.0%) Asian, 189 (0.6%) Pacific Islander, 575 (1.9%) from other races, and 1,540 (5.0%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1,995 persons (6.5%).

The Census reported that 30,458 people (99.6% of the population) lived in households, 52 (0.2%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 57 (0.2%) were institutionalized.

There were 12,016 households, out of which 4,256 (35.4%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 7,127 (59.3%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 963 (8.0%) had a female householder with no husband present, 316 (2.6%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 531 (4.4%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 75 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 2,807 households (23.4%) were made up of individuals, and 860 (7.2%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53. There were 8,406 families (70.0% of all households); the average family size was 3.04.

The population was spread out, with 6,913 people (22.6%) under the age of 18, 1,526 people (5.0%) aged 18 to 24, 9,801 people (32.1%) aged 25 to 44, 8,223 people (26.9%) aged 45 to 64, and 4,104 people (13.4%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.0 males.

There were 12,458 housing units at an average density of 3,316.8 per square mile (1,280.5/km2), of which 6,958 (57.9%) were owner-occupied, and 5,058 (42.1%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0.8%; the rental vacancy rate was 3.5%. 18,423 people (60.3% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 12,035 people (39.4%) lived in rental housing units.

Demographic profile[15] 2010
Total population 30,567 (100.0%)
One race 29,027 (95.0%)
Not Hispanic 28,572 (93.5%)
White alone 12,829 (42.0%)
Black or African American alone 545 (1.8%)
American Indian and Alaska Native alone 17 (0.1%)
Asian alone 13,691 (44.8%)
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone 182 (0.6%)
Some other race alone 102 (0.3%)
Two or more races alone 1,206 (3.9%)
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 1,995 (6.5%)


As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 28,803 people, 11,613 households, and 7,931 families residing in the city. The population density was 7,668.5 people per square mile (2,960.5/km2). There were 12,458 housing units at an average density of 3,316.8 per square mile (1,280.5/km2). There were 11,613 households, out of which 30.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.7% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.7% were non-families. 23.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 21.2% under the age of 18, 5.9% from 18 to 24, 35.3% from 25 to 44, 27.6% from 45 to 64, and 10.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.9 males.

According to Money magazine, the median income for a household in Foster City was $135,470.[9] The median income for a family was $118,231.[17] Males had a median income of $77,916 versus $51,157 for females. The per capita income for the city was $45,754. 2.9% of the population and 1.7% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 1.6% of those under the age of 18 and 5.6% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.


City Hall of Foster City

In the California State Legislature, Foster City is in the 13th Senate District, represented by Democrat Josh Becker, and in the 22nd Assembly District, represented by Democrat Kevin Mullin.[18]

In the United States House of Representatives, Foster City is in California's 14th congressional district, represented by Democrat Jackie Speier.[19]

As of December 2021, Foster City's Mayor is Richa Awasthi. Other councilmembers include Sam Hindi, Jon Froomin, and Patrick Sullivan. Froomin was elected to office after former councilmember Herb Perez was recalled by a majority of Foster City voters. Perez was the first city councilperson to be recalled since 1977.

Former Mayor Sam Hindi was the first Palestinian-American Mayor in the history of California. Councilmember Sanjay Gehani was the first Mayor for Foster City of Indian descent. Current (2022) Mayor Richa Awashi is the first female minority Mayor and first woman Immigrant to be Foster City's Mayor. [20] [21]

According to the California Secretary of State, as of February 10, 2019, Foster City has 16,568 registered voters. Of those, 7,336 (44.3%) are registered Democrats, 2,756 (16.6%) are registered Republicans, and 5,977 (36.1%) have declined to state a political party.[22]


Foster City is home to five public schools in the San Mateo-Foster City Elementary School District. Foster City Elementary School (which has recently been remodeled), Brewer Island Elementary School, Audubon Elementary School, and newly-built Beach Park Elementary School serve kindergarten through fifth grades. Nathaniel Bowditch Middle School serves 6th through 8th grades. There are several private preschools and elementary schools. There is a separate High School District: San Mateo Union High School District. There is no high school located east of Highway 101 so Foster City high school students attend the public schools in the San Mateo Union High School District and other private high schools in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Four public schools in Foster City (Audubon School, Brewer Island School, Foster City School, and Bowditch Middle School) have won California Distinguished School awards. In 1993, Bowditch was recognized with the U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon. In 2005, Bowditch became a California Distinguished School for the second time. A third recognition was given in 2013.

Foster City has one private Jewish day school: Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Day School is a kindergarten – eighth grade school. It was rated the number one Jewish day school in the South Bay/Peninsula.[23]

Foster City also has one private elementary school: Kids Connection is a kindergarten – fifth grade school.

The city is served by the Peninsula Library System.


Foster City, like most of the peninsula, has a mild Mediterranean climate, with warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters. The warmest month of the year is September, with an average daytime temperature of 77.8 °F (25.4 °C) and an average nighttime temperature of 53.8 °F (12.1 °C), while the coldest month of the year is January, with an average daytime temperature of 58 °F (14 °C) and an average nighttime temperature of 41.5 °F (5.3 °C).[24]

Climate data for Foster City, California
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 78
Average high °F (°C) 58.0
Daily mean °F (°C) 49.7
Average low °F (°C) 41.5
Record low °F (°C) 23
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.6
Average precipitation days 11 10 9 5 3 1 0 0 1 3 7 10 60
Source: [24]


Metro Center, one of Foster City's largest retail/office complexes


Around 1993 Visa Inc. began consolidating various scattered offices in San Mateo, California to a location in Foster City.[25] Visa's headquarters were in Foster City, and Visa became Foster City's largest employer. Visa owns four buildings at the intersection of Metro Center Boulevard and Vintage Park Drive. As of 2009 it employed about 3,000 people at the complex. During that year Visa signed a 10-year lease agreement for the top three floors of 595 Market Street in San Francisco and moved its top executives there. Visa continued to keep employees at the Foster City offices.[26] As of 2009, after the headquarters move, the Foster City facilities remained the company's center of employment, and those buildings housed 2,400 employees as of 2009.[27]

Other companies with headquarters in Foster City:

Top employers

According to the city's 2021 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[28] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Gilead Sciences 8,481
2 Visa 2,459
3 Inovant LLC 1,006
4 Zoox 510
5 CyberSource 465
6 CSG Consultants 329
7 Costco Wholesale 276
8 IBM 248
9 Qualys 247
10 Sledgehammer Games 237


Boating is a popular activity in the city's lagoons.
Shells Dirt Jumps at the Beach Park

Foster City has 24 parks occupying more than 200 acres (0.8 km2), including many public tennis courts, baseball and soccer fields, basketball courts, and rollerblading/biking trails along the San Francisco Bay.

Foster City also has:

  • World Class Windsurfing and Kite-Surfing A world-class windsurfing and kite-surfing spot in the San Francisco Bay can be found within the city limits of Foster City. It is located adjacent to Mariners Point.
  • A Golf course and driving range There is one 9-hole golf course, and driving range Mariners' Point, on land owned by the city, and operated by VB Golf.
  • Dragon Boating The Bay Area Dragons and Ho'okahi Pu'uwai Outrigger Canoe clubs operate in the lagoon. In an attempt to preserve the city's waterways and reduce noise levels, only electric, wind, or man-powered watercraft are permitted in the Lagoon.[29]
  • Teen Activities Center A newly constructed $4 million center for teens that will provide access to: TV's, computers, video games, art rooms, homework rooms, a kitchen and outdoor basketball courts. The center is also known as "The Vibe" and has a concrete skatepark adjacent to it.[30]
  • Public Amphitheatre Located in Leo J. Ryan Memorial Park, is a newly constructed Amphitheatre. It serves as the location for the Foster City Summer concerts. Adjacent to the park is a boardwalk with boat tie-up facilities.
  • Community Theatre The historic Hillbarn Theatre was founded in 1941 and provides the community with a robust calendar of events as well as performance classes.

In addition, Foster City maintains an extensive 218-acre (0.9 km2),[31] man-made enclosed lagoon system. The lagoons were initially designed as a drainage system required in order to efficiently drain the lowland city.

Items of interest

Foster City's Werder Pier is a remainder of the original expanse of the San Mateo–Hayward Bridge. It is also one of the longest and oldest piers in California. Unfortunately, due to much needed repair, the once popular fishing pier is no longer in operation.

A number of San Francisco professional athletes have called Foster City home. Former San Francisco Giants players Kevin Mitchell and Jeff Kent won the National League Most Valuable Player award while they were residents of Foster City.[citation needed]

Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal, was raised in Foster City.

Norman Hsu, the Hong Kong-born convicted criminal (Ponzi scheme scam artist) and political activist, is a former resident of Foster City.

The movie Over the Edge is based on events occurring in Foster City and chronicled in a 1973 article titled "Mousepacks: Kids on a Crime Spree" in the San Francisco Examiner.

The music video for "Super Hyphy", a song by Bay Area rapper Keak Da Sneak featuring R&B singer Keyshia Cole, was filmed at Bowditch Middle School.

Foster City TV broadcasts a variety of programs related to the operation of and life in Foster City. Foster City TV provides programming through a dedicated government-access television (GATV) channel.

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "California Cities by Incorporation Date". California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions. Archived from the original (Word) on November 3, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  2. ^ "City Council". City of Foster City. Archived from the original on February 11, 2015. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  3. ^ "City Manager's Department". City of Foster City. Archived from the original on February 11, 2015. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  4. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  5. ^ "Foster City". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Foster City (city) QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau.
  7. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  8. ^ Woolsey, Matt. "In Depth: America's Top 25 Towns To Live Well". Forbes.
  9. ^ a b "Best places to live 2008". CNN.
  10. ^ [1] FBI Crime Reports (2015), reported in Patch
  11. ^ Foster City, California (CA 94404) profile: population, maps, real estate, averages, homes, statistics, relocation, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, moving, houses, news. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  12. ^ Simon, Mark (January 21, 2000). "Foster City Loses Namesake Enterprise". SFGATE. Retrieved May 20, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  14. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Foster City city". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  15. ^ "Demographic Profile Bay Area Census". Archived from the original on December 27, 1996.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  17. ^ U.S. Census Bureau: Foster City
  18. ^ "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Archived from the original on February 1, 2015. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  19. ^ "California's 14th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  20. ^ "Foster City Appoints 1st Minority Woman Mayor in 50-Year History". December 9, 2021.
  21. ^ "City Council Member Bios | Foster City California".
  22. ^ "CA Secretary of State – Report of Registration – February 10, 2019" (PDF). Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  23. ^ Teach the Children | j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California. (2006-08-08). Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  24. ^ a b "Foster City, California". Weatherbase. Retrieved May 3, 2022.
  25. ^ "Visa Finds a Passport to the Future San Mateo Company Bets on 'Smart' Cards That Will Exchange Information, Not Just Money." San Jose Mercury News. Monday August 7, 1995. 1F Business. Retrieved on February 2, 2011. "Then, two years ago, it began consolidating scattered sites throughout San Mateo in nearby Foster City with[...]"
  26. ^ "Week in review." The Daily Journal. January 3, 2009. Retrieved on February 2, 2011.
  27. ^ "Visa joins The Chronicle 200 at No. 20." San Francisco Chronicle. April 19, 2009. Retrieved on February 2, 2011.
  28. ^ "City of Foster City CAFR 2021"
  29. ^ Water Activities, City of Foster City
  30. ^ "Building a Better VIBE". San Mateo Times Article
  31. ^ Built to Withstand a "100 Year Flood" Archived August 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. City of Foster City.
  32. ^ CAF Rise Above. "Tuskegee Airmen Pilot Roster."

External links