Isla Vista is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Santa Barbara County, California in the United States. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 23,096. The majority of residents are college students at nearby University of California, Santa Barbara (located to the east of the community) or at Santa Barbara City College. The beach-side community lies on a flat plateau about in elevation, separated from the beach by a .
Isla Vista enjoys a Mediterranean climate and often has slightly less precipitation than either Santa Barbara or the adjacent community of Goleta. Isla Vista is located on a south-facing portion of the Santa Barbara County coast, between Coal Oil Point and Campus Point in view of the Channel Islands. During El Niño years, precipitation in Isla Vista can be excessive and potentially dangerous. Some homes and apartments built on the south side of Del Playa Drive, most popular with students due to their direct ocean views, are in danger of collapse, since they are built on quickly-eroding bluffs thirty to sixty feet above the Pacific Ocean. Recent erosion has exposed foundation supports in several of the properties closest to the university campus, UCSB.
As Isla Vista is on the south coast of Santa Barbara County, which has some of the highest housing prices in the United States, the student population shares densely packed housing with a working Hispanic population. Since Isla Vista has not been annexed by either Goleta or Santa Barbara, remaining unincorporated, only county funds are available for civic projects.
Isla Vista's History