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City of Atwater
Water tower in the city
Water tower in the city
Nickname(s): 
A-Town
Motto(s): 
Community Pride, City Wide
Location of Atwater in Merced County, California
Location of Atwater in Merced County, California
Atwater, California is located in California
Atwater, California
Atwater, California
Location in California
Atwater, California is located in the United States
Atwater, California
Atwater, California
Location in the United States
Atwater, California is located in North America
Atwater, California
Atwater, California
Location in North America
Country United States
State California
County Merced
Incorporated August 16, 1922
Area
 • Total 6.57 sq mi (17.02 km2)
 • Land 6.57 sq mi (17.01 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.01 km2)  0.14%
Elevation
151 ft (46 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 31,970
 • Density 4,868.28/sq mi (1,879.64/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (Pacific)
ZIP codes
95301, 95342
Area code(s) 209
FIPS code 06-03162
GNIS feature ID 277600

Atwater is a city on State Route 99 in Merced County, California, United States. Atwater is 8 miles (13 km) west-northwest of Merced, at an elevation of 151 feet (46 m). The population as of the 2020 United States census was 31,970.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.1 square miles (16 km2). 99.86% of it is land and 0.14% water.

The city includes Castle Air Museum, but does not include Castle Air Force Base proper.

History

The railroad reached Atwater in the 1870s, and a town grew up. The first post office opened in 1880. Atwater incorporated in 1922. The name honors Marshall D. Atwater, a wheat farmer whose land was used by the railroad for its station.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1930 917
1940 1,235 34.7%
1950 2,856 131.3%
1960 7,318 156.2%
1970 11,640 59.1%
1980 17,530 50.6%
1990 22,282 27.1%
2000 23,113 3.7%
2010 28,168 21.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010

At the 2010 census Atwater had a population of 28,168. The population density was 4,620.8 people per square mile (1,784.1/km2). The racial makeup of Atwater was 18,410 (65.4%) White, 14,808 (52.6%) Hispanic or Latino of any race, 1,225 (4.3%) African American, 364 (1.3%) Native American, 1,416 (5.0%) Asian, 76 (0.3%) Pacific Islander, 5,300 (18.8%) from other races, and 1,377 (4.9%) from two or more races.

The census reported that 28,066 people (99.6% of the population) lived in households, 31 (0.1%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 71 (0.3%) were institutionalized.

There were 8,838 households, 4,255 (48.1%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 4,593 (52.0%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 1,558 (17.6%) had a female householder with no husband present, 672 (7.6%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 615 (7.0%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 60 (0.7%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 1,615 households (18.3%) were one person and 738 (8.4%) had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 3.18. There were 6,823 families (77.2% of households); the average family size was 3.61.

The age distribution was 9,016 people (32.0%) under the age of 18, 2,968 people (10.5%) aged 18 to 24, 7,492 people (26.6%) aged 25 to 44, 5,760 people (20.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 2,932 people (10.4%) who were 65 or older. The median age was 30.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.5 males.

There were 9,771 housing units at an average density of 1,602.9 per square mile, of the occupied units 4,905 (55.5%) were owner-occupied and 3,933 (44.5%) were rented. The homeowner vacancy rate was 3.3%; the rental vacancy rate was 10.9%. 14,920 people (53.0% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 13,146 people (46.7%) lived in rental housing units.

2000

At the 2000 census there were 23,113 people in 7,247 households, including 5,667 families, in the city. The population density was 4,277.4 people per square mile (1,652.6/km2). There were 8,114 housing units at an average density of 1,501.6/sq mi (580.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 57.34% White, 4.99% Black or African American, 1.27% Native American, 5.43% Asian, 0.36% Pacific Islander, 24.48% from other races, and 6.14% from two or more races. 41.51% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Of the 7,247 households 45.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.9% were married couples living together, 16.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.8% were non-families. 17.6% of households were one person and 6.9% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 3.15 and the average family size was 3.55.

The age distribution was 34.9% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 17.4% from 45 to 64, and 9.1% 65 or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.4 males.

The median income for a household in Atwater is $37,344, and the median family income was $39,789. Males had a median income of $32,983 versus $22,450 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,162. About 15.3% of families and 18.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.1% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.

Sports

  • Atwater Aviators - collegiate baseball of the Golden State Collegiate Baseball League. Atwater Falcons - Football and Baseball. Buhach Colony Thunder - Football and Basketball

Education

Primary and secondary schools

Public schools

Most of the city is zoned to the Atwater Elementary School District. Schools of AESD within Atwater and serving Atwater include:

  • K-6
    • Aileen Colburn Elementary School
    • Shaffer Elementary School
    • Thomas Olaeta Elementary School
    • Elmer Wood Elementary School
    • Mitchell K-6 Elementary School
    • Peggy Heller Elementary School
    • Bellevue Elementary School
  • 7-8
    • Mitchell Senior Elementary School
    • Bellevue Senior Elementary School
    • Peggy Heller Junior High School
  • High School
    • Atwater High School
    • Buhach Colony High School
  • Other
    • Atwater Valley Community Day School
    • Atwater Senior Academy

A small section of eastern Atwater is located in the Merced City School District; that section is zoned to Rudolph Rivera Middle School. Franklin Elementary School is the closest elementary school to the section of Atwater.

Merced Union High School District operates Atwater High School and Buhach Colony High School, both of which serve and reside in Atwater.

Private schools

School Grades
Ariel Dear Academy 2-12
Fruitland Christian Preschool PK-K
Landmark Christian School PK-12
St. Anthony School PK-8

Notable residents

BlossHouseAtwaterCAJuly06
Bloss House Museum
  • Chuck Compton, NFL Green Bay Packers defensive back
  • Thomas W. Hayes, former California State Treasurer
  • Carrie Henn, actress, Rebecca "Newt" Jorden in Aliens (1986)
  • Jamill Kelly, 2004 Olympics silver medal in wrestling
  • Sheryl Underwood, American actress
  • Willow Wisp, Experimental Gothic/Metal Band
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