, located on the east side of the San Francisco Bay, occupies a land area of 743 square miles, and is the seventh most populous among all California counties and second in the Bay Area with more than 1.5 million citizens. The population is highly diverse, both economically and ethnically. Personal income varies widely throughout the community. Housing costs are relatively high in all areas of the county.
The county is divided into two major geographical units by series of northwest/southeast running hills; the 32 mile long coastal plain and the Livermore-Amador Valley. Elevations in Alameda County begin at sea level and reach 3,700 feet in east county. Moderate year-round temperatures near the San Francisco Bay contrast with hot summers in the eastern area of the county.
The most heavily urbanized areas are the cities of Oakland and Berkeley, with a continuous pattern of suburban development extending southward to Fremont. The Livermore-Amador Valley, although still agriculturally productive, is experiencing considerable suburbanization.