Elk Grove is a city in Sacramento County, California, located just south of the state capital of Sacramento. It is part of the Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of 2014, the population of the city was estimated at 160,688. The second-largest city in Sacramento County, Elk Grove was the fastest growing city in the U.S. between July 1, 2004, and July 1, 2005.
Elk Grove itself was founded in 1850 as a stage stop for travelers coming from Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area, when the Elk Grove Hotel and Stage Stop was opened by James Hall and the town was subsequently named after it. In 1868 the Western Division of the Central Pacific Railroad came through about a mile east of Elk Grove. At this new location another hotel was built to accommodate travelers and was also named the Elk Grove Hotel.
In the following decades, Elk Grove remained a small farming community with little urban development. However, in the late 1980s, suburban development projects began to spring up around the community, specifically in the north near Sacramento. This was meant to serve Sacramento’s population as well as San Francisco commuters looking for a community relatively near the San Francisco Bay Area which they could settle in and still commute from. This set off a period of rapid suburban growth which hit its peak in the years 2004 and 2005 when Elk Grove was declared the fastest growing city in the US.
On July 1, 2000, Elk Grove incorporated as a city. In 2008 Elk Grove suffered heavily from the subprime mortgage crisis due to its suburban nature.
The Elk Grove Unified School District is the fifth largest school district in California and one of the fastest growing school districts in the nation. Located in southern Sacramento County, the district covers 320 square miles (830 km2), one-third of the county. For the 2002-03 school year, the district served more than 52,500 students, and expects to reach 66,000 students by 2015. Those students attend 38 elementary schools, 8 middle schools, 8 high schools and 4 alternative high schools.