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As of the census2 of 2000, there are 26,865 people, 10,328 households, and 7,239 families residing in the city. The population density is 804.1/km² (2,082.6/mi²). There are 10,547 housing units at an average density of 315.7/km² (817.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 78.89% White, 4.82% Black or African American, 0.60% Native American, 7.56% Asian, 0.29% Pacific Islander, 2.65% from other races, and 5.18% from two or more races. 9.02% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 10,328 households out of which 36.7% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.2% are married couples living together, 11.9% have a female householder with no husband present, and 29.9% are non-families. 23.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 6.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.60 and the average family size is 3.10.
In the city the population is spread out with 27.1% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 28.8% from 45 to 64, and 9.3% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 39 years. For every 100 females there are 94.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $67,617, and the median income for a family is $77,974. Males have a median income of $59,628 versus $39,893 for females. The per capita income for the city is $31,226. 4.3% of the population and 3.1% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 4.4% of those under the age of 18 and 2.9% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Benicia was founded on May 19, 1847 by Robert Semple, Thomas O. Larkin , and Comandante General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, on land deeded to them by General Vallejo, and named after the General's wife. They originally intended it to be a port city to rival San Francisco. Benicia was named the California state capital in 1853, but quickly lost its early prominence. The capital was moved permanently to Sacramento the following year, and the Solano County, California seat was moved to Fairfield, California in 1858.
Benicia faded into a backwater during the next century, kept alive mainly by the United States Army's Benicia Arsenal , to the east of the city. After 1860 the town did not grow again until the economic boom of World War II, which doubled the population to about 7,000 residents.
Two developments in the early 1960s would completely change Benicia: The closing of the Benicia Arsenal in 1960–64, and the completion of the Benicia-Martinez Bridge in 1962. The closing of the Arsenal removed Benicia's traditional economic base, but allowed city leaders to create an industrial park on Arsenal land which eventually provided more revenue for the city than the Army had. The completion of the Benicia-Martinez Bridge made it possible for the city to become a suburb of San Francisco and Oakland, and suburban development in the Benicia hills began in the late 1960s.
Between 1970 and 1995, the population of Benicia grew steadily at a rate of about 1,000 people per year, and the city changed from a poor, blue-collar town of 7,000 to a white-collar bedroom suburb of 28,000.
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