The town of Paradise, located in Butte County, is 10 miles (16 km) east of Chico and 85 miles (137 km) north of Sacramento. The population was 26,283 as of 2013, down from 26,408 at the 2000 census.
It spreads out on a wide ridge between deep canyons formed by the west branch of the Feather River to the east and Butte Creek to the west. The Paradise area extends northward from Paradise to include the unincorporated town of Magalia, and such smaller communities as Stirling City, eleven miles north. Elevation of the town is 1,778 feet (542 m), according to the GNIS. The town is approximately eight miles east of the city of Chico, and ten miles north of the Oroville area.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 18.3 square miles (47 km2), over 99% of it land.
Soils are mostly well drained reddish brown loam, gravelly in some cases and often grading to clay loam or clay with increasing depth. They have developed on volcanic material. Paradiso is by far the most common soil series in town.
The first post office was established at Paradise in 1877; it closed for a time in 1911, but was re-established later that year, when the post office at Orloff was closed. Paradise incorporated in 1979. For many years, the Butte County Railroad operated trains along the ridge, serving mines and sawmills.
A legend persists that the town was named because it was the home of the Pair o' Dice Saloon, an idea supported by the fact than an official 1900 railroad map referred to the town as "Paradice". However, according to folklorist Barbara Mikkelson of Snopes.com, there is no documentation of such an establishment, nor an explanation of how the map's spelling of the town originated. Gene Sylva, a former mayor of the nearby town ofOroville, has stated that the saloon story is false, and that the true etymology of the town's name is traced to his great-great-grandfather, William Pierce Leonard, who named the town on a summer day in 1864, after a hot and dusty ride from the Sacramento Valley. Arriving at his sawmill while the staff were on break, Leonard "took a deep breath of the cool, clean air, and exclaimed, 'Boys, this is paradise.'" Mikkelson, however, suggests that Sylva's explanation may also be "pleasingly inventive historical fiction", but surmises that the town was probably named for it being a pleasant place to live.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Paradise had a population of 26,218. The population density was 1,430.9 people per square mile (552.5/km²). The racial makeup of Paradise was 24,129 (92.0%) White, 112 (0.4%) African American, 301 (1.1%) Native American, 330 (1.3%) Asian, 24 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 416 (1.6%) from other races, and 906 (3.5%) from two or more races.Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1,836 persons (7.0%).
The Census reported that 25,810 people (98.4% of the population) lived in households, 139 (0.5%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 269 (1.0%) were institutionalized.
There were 11,893 households, out of which 2,574 (21.6%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 5,227 (44.0%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 1,308 (11.0%) had a female householder with no husband present, 511 (4.3%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 742 (6.2%)unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 94 (0.8%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 4,038 households (34.0%) were made up of individuals and 2,126 (17.9%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17. There were 7,046 families (59.2% of all households); the average family size was 2.73.
The population was spread out with 4,501 people (17.2%) under the age of 18, 1,858 people (7.1%) aged 18 to 24, 4,822 people (18.4%) aged 25 to 44, 8,466 people (32.3%) aged 45 to 64, and 6,571 people (25.1%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 50.2 years. For every 100 females there were 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.5 males.
There were 12,981 housing units at an average density of 708.5 per square mile (273.5/km²), of which 7,975 (67.1%) were owner-occupied, and 3,918 (32.9%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.8%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.9%. 17,381 people (66.3% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 8,429 people (32.1%) lived in rental housing units.
The State of California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development defines Feather River Hospital as a General Acute Care Hospital in Paradise with Basic emergency care as of August 22, 2006. The facility is located at (NAD83) latitude/longitude .
Paradise is served by Paradise Unified School District as well as several independent Charter and Private Schools.
PUSD schools include:
Other Paradise Schools include:
There are not many options for transportation within Paradise other than driving an automobile. The Paradise/Magalia area is served by the "B line" Butte County Transit. Butte Community College also runs bus service for students.
Paradise's link with Chico, Skyway Road (referred to locally as simply "Skyway"), begins in the Sacramento Valley, at the Highway 99 freeway in Chico, and runs up the ridge as a 4-lane divided highway until it reaches Paradise. Through the town it is a four-lane undivided highway, and it becomes a two-lane road as it continues up the Sierra's ridge to Magalia and numerous smaller communities to the north. Paradise is connected to Oroville via Highway 191, otherwise known as Clark Road upon entering the town.
The Paradise Memorial Trail is a paved pedestrian and bicycle path which runs through town on the path of the former railroad tracks leading up the ridge. However, aside from points along this path, the very hilly terrain of the town, coupled with the large spacing of commercial areas and large land area make Paradise difficult to navigate on foot or on a bicycle, in addition to the lack of sidewalks.