California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States of America. It is the most populous state in the U.S., as well as physically the most diverse, with the highest and the lowest points in the lower 48 states located within 150 miles of each other. If California were an independent nation, it would have the fifth largest economy in the world. The state's official nickname is "The Golden State" in reference to California's 1849 Gold Rush.
As one of the most demographically diverse states in the nation, California is a dominant force in American culture as well as the nation's economy. In addition to paying somewhat more to the federal system than it receives in benefits, it has some of the nation's largest cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco.
The state's capital is Sacramento.
GeographyCalifornia borders the Pacific Ocean, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and the Mexican state of Baja California. The state has strikingly beautiful natural features, including an expansive central valley, tall mountains, hot deserts, and hundreds of miles of scenic coastline. With an area of 411,000 km²
As of 2004 California had a population of 35,893,799. The state had 9,400,000 foreign-born residents (26.5% of the population), of which an estimated 2,209,000 were illegal aliens (illegal aliens accounted for nearly one-fourth of the foreign-born population and 6.2% of the total state population).