Merced County, California
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Merced County, California

Merced County, California
County of Merced
Merced Theatre.JPG
San Luis Reservoir 1.jpg
UC Merced at night.jpg
Boeing B-29 SuperfortressCAM.jpg
Images, from top down, left to right: The historic Merced Theatre, San Luis Reservoir, UC Merced, The B-29A Super Fortress exhibit at the Castle Air Museum in Atwater
Official seal of Merced County, California
Location in the state of California
Location in the state of California
California's location in the United States
California's location in the United States
Coordinates: 37°11?N 120°43?W / 37.19°N 120.71°W / 37.19; -120.71Coordinates: 37°11?N 120°43?W / 37.19°N 120.71°W / 37.19; -120.71
Country United States
State California
RegionSan Joaquin Valley
IncorporatedApril 19, 1855[1]
Named forMerced River, originally El Río de Nuestra Señora de la Merced ("River of Our Lady of Mercy" in Spanish).
County seatMerced
Largest cityMerced
 o County Executive OfficerJames L. Brown [2]
 o Total1,979 sq mi (5,130 km2)
 o Land1,935 sq mi (5,010 km2)
 o Water44 sq mi (110 km2)
Highest elevation3,801 ft (1,159 m)
 o Total255,793
 o Estimate 
 o Density130/sq mi (50/km2)
Time zoneUTC−8 (Pacific Time Zone)
 o Summer (DST)UTC−7 (Pacific Daylight Time)
ZIP code
93620, 93635, 93661, 93665, 95301, 95303, 95312, 95315, 95317, 95322, 95324, 95333, 95334, 95388, 95340, 95341, 95343, 95344, 95348, 95365, 95369, 95374[6]
Area code209
FIPS code06-047
GNIS feature ID277288

Merced County ( m?r-SED), is a county located in the northern San Joaquin Valley section of the Central Valley, in the U.S. state of California.

As of the 2010 census, the population was 255,793.[4] The county seat is Merced.[7] The county is named after the Merced River.

Merced County comprises the Merced, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Modesto-Merced, CA Combined Statistical Area. It is located north of Fresno County and Fresno, and southeast of Santa Clara County and San Jose.


The county derives its name from the Merced River, or El Río de Nuestra Señora de la Merced (River of Our Lady of Mercy), named in 1806 by an expedition headed by Gabriel Moraga, which came upon it at the end of a hot dusty ride on the El Camino Viejo across the San Joaquin Valley in Spanish colonial Las Californias Province.

Between 1841 and 1844, during the period when Alta California was a territory of independent Mexico, four Mexican land grants were made in what became Merced County: Rancho Orestimba y Las Garzas, Rancho Panoche de San Juan y Los Carrisolitos, Rancho San Luis Gonzaga, and Rancho Sanjon de Santa Rita

Merced County was formed in 1855 from parts of Mariposa County. Parts of its territory were given to Fresno County in 1856.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,979 square miles (5,130 km2), of which 1,935 square miles (5,010 km2) is land and 44 square miles (110 km2) (2.2%) is water.[8]

National protected areas



Places by population, race, and income


The 2010 United States Census reported that Merced County had a population of 255,793. The racial makeup of Merced County was 148,381 (58.0%) White, 9,926 (3.9%) African American, 3,473 (1.4%) Native American, 18,836 (7.4%) Asian, 583 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 62,665 (24.5%) from other races, and 11,929 (4.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 140,485 persons (54.9%).[19]


As of the census[20] of 2000, there were 210,554 people, 63,815 households, and 49,775 families residing in the county. The population density was 109 people per square mile (42/km²). There were 68,373 housing units at an average density of 36 per square mile (14/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 56.2% White, 3.8% Black or African American, 1.2% Native American, 6.8% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 26.1% from other races, and 5.7% from two or more races. 45.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 6.6% were of Portuguese and 6.0% German ancestry according to Census 2000. 55.1% spoke English, 35.3% Spanish, 3.2% Hmong, 2.9% Portuguese and 1.0% Punjabi as their first language.

There were 63,815 households out of which 45.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.8% were married couples living together, 14.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.0% were non-families. 17.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.25 and the average family size was 3.69.

In the county, the population was spread out with 34.5% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 17.8% from 45 to 64, and 9.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 99.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.6 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $35,532, and the median income for a family was $38,009. Males had a median income of $31,721 versus $23,911 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,257. About 16.9% of families and 21.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.4% of those under age 18 and 10.7% of those age 65 or over.

As of 2008, according to the Lao Family Community, a nonprofit organization, about 8,000 Hmong lived in Merced County.[21]

Government and policing

County Government

Merced County is a California Constitution defined general law county and is governed by an elected Board of Supervisors. The Board consists of five members, elected by districts, who serve four-year staggered terms.[22]

Merced County Sheriff

The Merced County Sheriff provides court protection, jail administration, and coroner service for the entire county. It provides patrol, detective, and other police services for the unincorporated parts of the county. The main sheriff station and offices are at Merced. There are two sheriff's substations. A Grand Jury report in 2010 stated that the Sheriff processed 12,746 average jail bookings per year with an average daily jail population of 1,123.[23]

Municipal police departments

Municipal police departments in the county are: Merced, population 83,000; Los Banos, population 38,000; Atwater, population 30,000; Livingston, population 13,000; Gustine, population 6,000; Dos Palos, population 5,500.

State and federal representation

In the United States House of Representatives, Merced County is in California's 16th congressional district, represented by Democrat Jim Costa.[24]

In the California State Legislature, Merced County is in the 21st Assembly District, represented by Democrat Adam Gray, and the 12th Senate District, represented by Democrat Anna Caballero.[25]


Voter registration statistics

Cities by population and voter registration


Merced County voted for the winning candidate for president in every election from 1972-2012, before voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Democrat Barack Obama won a majority in the county in both 2008 and 2012. Republican George W. Bush won a majority in the county in both 2000 and 2004.

Presidential election results

According to the California Secretary of State, as of October 20, 2008, there were 97,179 registered voters in Merced County.[] Of those, 44,704 (46.0%) are registered Democratic, 35,955 (37.0%) are registered Republican, 3,090 (3.2%) are registered with other political parties, and 13,430 (13.8%) declined to state a political party. Atwater and the unincorporated areas of Merced County have Republican plurality registration advantages. All of the other cities and towns in the county have Democratic pluralities or majorities in voter registration.

Merced County has been somewhat of a bellweather county for presidential elections. Since 1916, it has voted for the winner in each election except in 1956, 1968, and 2016.


The following table includes the number of incidents reported and the rate per 1,000 persons for each type of offense.

Cities by population and crime rates


According to America's Labor Market Information System 2014 report,[31] the companies with the largest employment in Merced are, in alphabetical order:

Merced County grows 90% of California's sweet potato crop,[32] due in part to the efforts of John Buttencourt Avila, called "the father of the sweet potato industry".


Major highways

Public transportation


Merced Regional Airport, located two miles (3 km) southwest of downtown Merced, provides passenger air service. General aviation airports in the county include Castle Airport, Gustine Airport, and Los Banos Municipal Airport.



Census-designated places

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Merced County.[33]

+ county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census) Population (2018 CA Department of Finance)

1 + Merced City 78,958 86,750
2 Los Banos City 35,972 40,986
3 Atwater City 28,168 31,235
4 Livingston City 13,058 14,328
5 Delhi CDP 10,755
6 Winton CDP 10,613
7 Franklin CDP 6,149
8 Gustine City 5,520 5,874
9 Hilmar-Irwin CDP 5,197
10 Dos Palos City 4,950 5,679
11 Planada CDP 4,584
12 McSwain CDP 4,171
13 Le Grand CDP 1,659
14 South Dos Palos CDP 1,620
15 Santa Nella CDP 1,380
16 Ballico CDP 406
17 Cressey CDP 394
18 El Nido CDP 330
19 Dos Palos Y CDP 323
20 Stevinson CDP 313
21 Bear Creek CDP 290
22 Volta CDP 246
23 Snelling CDP 231
24 Tuttle CDP 103

Places of interest

The former Castle Air Force Base and the United States Penitentiary, Atwater are located in an unincorporated area near Atwater.

See also


  1. ^ Other = Some other race + Two or more races
  2. ^ Native American = Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander + American Indian or Alaska Native
  3. ^ a b Percentage of registered voters with respect to total population. Percentages of party members with respect to registered voters follow.


  1. ^ "Merced County". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2015.
  2. ^ "Merced County, CA - Official Website - County Executive Office". Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ "Laveaga Peak". Retrieved 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ a b "American FactFinder". Retrieved 2019.
  6. ^ "Merced County, CA Zip Codes". Retrieved 2016.
  7. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011.
  8. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B02001. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  10. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B03003. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  11. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19301. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  12. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19013. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  13. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19113. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  14. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  15. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015.
  16. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved 2015.
  17. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015.
  18. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved 2015.
  19. ^ "2010 Census P.L. 94-171 Summary File Data". United States Census Bureau.
  20. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011.
  21. ^ Oppenheim, Jamie. "Hmong youth not preserving traditions, professor says Archived June 8, 2010, at the Wayback Machine." Monday March 29, 2010. Retrieved on September 20, 2010.
  22. ^ "Board of Supervisors". Merced County, CA. Retrieved 2015.
  23. ^ Grand Jury report 2010 website
  24. ^ "California's 16th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved 2013.
  25. ^ "Communities of Interest -- County". California Citizens Redistricting Commission. Retrieved 2014.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q California Secretary of State. February 10, 2013 - Report of Registration Archived November 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  27. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2018.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Office of the Attorney General, Department of Justice, State of California. Table 11: Crimes – 2009 Archived December 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  29. ^ Only larceny-theft cases involving property over $400 in value are reported as property crimes.
  30. ^ a b c United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Crime in the United States, 2012, Table 8 (California). Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  31. ^ "Major Employers in California". Retrieved 2018.
  32. ^ "Farmers Markets: Stokes Purple is a sweet potato of mystery", Los Angeles Times, 2 November 2012
  33. ^ Promotions, Center for New Media and. "US Census Bureau 2010 Census". Retrieved 2018.

Further reading

  • A Memorial and Biographical History of the Counties of Merced, Stanislaus, Calaveras, Tuolumne and Mariposa, California. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1892.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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