Orange County is a county in the U.S. state of California. Its county seat is Santa Ana. As of the 2010 census, its population was 3,010,232, making it the third most populous county in California, behind Los Angeles County and San Diego County, and the second most populous in the Greater Los Angeles Area, after Los Angeles County. It is the sixth most populous county in the United States as of 2009 while at the same time is the smallest area-wise county in Southern California, being roughly half the size of the next smallest county, Ventura. The county is famous for its tourism, as the home of such attractions as Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, and several beaches along its more than 40 miles (64 km) of coastline. It is known for its affluence and political conservatism – a 2005 academic study listed three Orange County cities as being among America’s 25 “most conservative,” making it one of two counties in the country containing more than one such city (Maricopa County, Arizona, also has three cities on the list).
Whereas most population centers in the United States tend to be identified by a major city, there is no defined urban center in Orange County (it is sometimes considered part of both the Los Angeles and San Diego metro areas). It is mostly suburban except for some traditionally urban areas at the centers of the older cities of Anaheim, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Orange, and Santa Ana. There are several edge city-style developments such as Irvine Business Center, Newport Center, and South Coast Metro.
The city of Santa Ana serves as the governmental center of the county, or county seat, Anaheim as its main tourist destination, and Irvine as its major business and financial hub. All of these three Orange County cities have populations exceeding 200,000. Thirty-four incorporated cities are located in Orange County; the newest is Aliso Viejo, which was incorporated in 2001. Anaheim was the first city incorporated in Orange County, in 1870 when the region was still part of neighboring Los Angeles County.