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Fresno County, California
County of Fresno
Fresno county courthouse.jpg
Millerton Lake State Recreation Area 3.jpg
Courtright Reservoir 2.jpg
Top to bottom: Fresno County Courthouse, Millerton Lake, Courtright Reservoir
Official seal of Fresno County, California
Location in the state of California
Location in the state of California
Country United States
State California
Region San Joaquin Valley
Metro area Fresno-Madera
Incorporated 1856
Named for The city of Fresno (Spanish for "ash tree")
County seat Fresno
Largest city Fresno
 • Total 6,011 sq mi (15,570 km2)
 • Land 5,958 sq mi (15,430 km2)
 • Water 53 sq mi (140 km2)
Highest elevation
14,248 ft (4,343 m)
 • Total 1,008,654
 • Density 167.801/sq mi (64.788/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Area code 559
FIPS code 06-019
GNIS feature ID 277274

Fresno County, officially the County of Fresno, is a county located in the central portion of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 1,008,654. The county seat is Fresno, the fifth most populous city in California.

Fresno County comprises the Fresno, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is part of the Fresno-Madera, CA Combined Statistical Area. It is located in the Central Valley, south of Stockton and north of Bakersfield.


The area now known as Fresno County is the traditional homeland of Yokuts and Mono peoples, and was later stumbled upon by Spaniards during a search for suitable mission sites. In 1846, this area became part of the United States as a result of the Mexican War.

Fresno County was formed in 1856 from parts of Mariposa, Merced and Tulare counties. Fresno is Spanish for "ash tree" and it was in recognition of the abundance of the shrubby local Ash, Fraxinus dipetala, growing along the San Joaquin River that it received its name. Parts of Fresno County's territory were given to Mono County in 1861 and to Madera County in 1893. The original county seat was along the San Joaquin River in Millerton, but was moved to the rapidly growing town of Fresno on the newly built Southern Pacific Railroad line after a flood destroyed much of the town.

The settling of Fresno County was not without its conflicts, land disputes, and other natural disasters. Floods caused immeasurable damage elsewhere and fires also plagued the settlers of Fresno County. In 1882, the greatest of the early day fires wiped out an entire block of the city of Fresno, and was followed by another devastating blaze in 1883.

At the same time residents brought irrigation, electricity, and extensive agriculture to the area. Moses Church developed the first canals, called "Church Ditches," for irrigation. These canals allowed extensive cultivation of wheat. Francis Eisen, leader of the wine industry in Fresno County, also began the raisin industry in 1875, when he accidentally let some of his grapes dry on the vine. A.Y. Easterby and Clovis Cole (aka the "Wheat King of the Nation") developed extensive grain and cattle ranches. These and other citizens laid the groundwork for the cultivation of Fresno County – now one of the nation's leading agricultural regions. In more recent times cotton became a major crop in Fresno and the southern San Joaquin Valley, but recent drought and lower demand have lessened cotton's importance to the local economy.

The discovery of oil in the western part of the county, near the town of Coalinga at the foot of the Coast Ranges, brought about an economic boom in the 1900s (decade), even though the field itself was known at least as early as the 1860s. By 1910, Coalinga Oil Field, the largest field in Fresno County, was the most richly productive oil field in California; a dramatic oil gusher in 1909, the biggest in California up until that time, was an event of sufficient excitement to cause the Los Angeles Stock Exchange to close for a day so that its members could come by train to view it. The Coalinga field continues to produce oil, and is currently the eighth-largest field in the state.

More than thirty structures in Fresno County are on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Fresno Water Tower, which once held over 250,000 US gallons (950 m3) of water for the city of Fresno, the Meux Home, and Kearney Mansion Museum.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 6,011 square miles (15,570 km2), of which 5,958 square miles (15,430 km2) is land and 53 square miles (140 km2) (0.9%) is water.

Major watercourses are the San Joaquin, Kings River, Delta-Mendota Canal, Big Creek, Friant Kern Canal, Helm Canal and Madera Canal. It is bordered on the west by the Coast Range and on the east by the Sierra Nevada. It is the center of a large agricultural area, known as the most agriculturally rich county in the United States. The county withdrew 3.7 billion US gallons (14,000,000 m3) of fresh water per day in 2000, more than any other county in the United States.

Fresno County is part of the Madera AVA wine region.

Fresno was actually named after two particular ash trees that grew near the town of Minkler on the Kings River, one of which is still alive and standing.

National protected areas


A number of minerals have been discovered in the county, including macdonaldite, krauskopfite, walstromite, fresnoite, verplanckite, muirite, traskite, and kampfite.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 4,605
1870 6,336 37.6%
1880 9,478 49.6%
1890 32,026 237.9%
1900 37,862 18.2%
1910 75,657 99.8%
1920 128,779 70.2%
1930 144,379 12.1%
1940 178,565 23.7%
1950 276,515 54.9%
1960 365,945 32.3%
1970 413,053 12.9%
1980 514,621 24.6%
1990 667,490 29.7%
2000 799,407 19.8%
2010 930,450 16.4%
2020 1,008,654 8.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010 2020

2020 census

Fresno County, California - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 304,522 271,889 32.73% 26.96%
Black or African American alone (NH) 45,005 44,295 4.84% 4.39%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 5,979 6,074 0.64% 0.60%
Asian alone (NH) 86,856 109,665 9.33% 10.87%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 1,066 1,233 0.11% 0.12%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 1,744 5,209 0.19% 0.52%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 17,208 29,546 1.85% 2.93%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 468,070 540,743 50.31% 53.61%
Total 930,450 1,008,654 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.

2010 Census

The racial makeup of Fresno County was 515,145 (55.4%) White, 49,523 (5.3%) African American, 15,649 (1.7%) Native American, 89,357 (9.6%) Asian (3.3% Hmong, 1.7% Asian Indian, 1.0% Filipino, 0.8% Laotian, 0.6% Chinese, 0.5% Japanese, 0.5% Cambodian, 0.3% Vietnamese, 0.2% Korean, 0.1% Pakistani, 0.1% Thai), 1,405 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 217,085 (23.3%) from other races, and 42,286 (4.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 468,070 persons (50.3%). 46.0% of Fresno County's population is of Mexican descent; 0.7% of its residents are Salvadoran, and 0.3% of its residents are Puerto Rican.


As of the census of 2000, there were 799,407 people, 252,940 households, and 186,669 families residing in the county. The population density was 134 people per square mile (52/km2). There were 270,767 housing units at an average density of 45 per square mile (18/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 54.3% White, 5.3% Black or African American, 1.6% Native American, 8.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 25.9% from other races, and 4.7% from two or more races. 44.0% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 7.5% were of German ancestry according to Census 2000. 59.3% spoke English, 31.5% Spanish and 3.1% Hmong as their first language.

There were 252,940 households, out of which 41.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.5% were married couples living together, 15.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.2% were non-families. 20.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.09 and the average family size was 3.59.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 32.1% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 18.5% from 45 to 64, and 9.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 100.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.2 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $34,725, and the median income for a family was $38,455. Males had a median income of $33,375 versus $26,501 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,495. About 17.6% of families and 22.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.7% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.

Metropolitan Statistical Area

The United States Office of Management and Budget has designated Fresno County as the Fresno, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area. The United States Census Bureau ranked the Fresno, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area as the 56th most populous metropolitan statistical area of the United States as of July 1, 2012.

The Office of Management and Budget has further designated the Fresno, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area as a component of the more extensive Fresno-Madera, CA Combined Statistical Area, the 49th most populous combined statistical area and the 55th most populous primary statistical area of the United States as of July 1, 2012.


Major highways

  • I-5 (CA).svg Interstate 5
  • California 33.svg State Route 33
  • California 41.svg State Route 41
  • California 43.svg State Route 43
  • California 63.svg State Route 63
  • California 99.svg State Route 99
  • California 145.svg State Route 145
  • California 168.svg State Route 168
  • California 180.svg State Route 180
  • California 198.svg State Route 198
  • California 201.svg State Route 201
  • California 245.svg State Route 245
  • California 269.svg State Route 269



Commercial service
  • Fresno Yosemite Int'l Airport
General Aviation
  • Fresno Chandler Executive Airport
  • Firebaugh Airport
  • Mendota Airport
  • New Coalinga Municipal Airport
  • Reedley Municipal Airport
  • Sierra Sky Park Airport

Public transportation

  • Fresno Area Express or FAX is the local bus operator in Fresno.
  • Clovis Transit Stageline is the bus service in Clovis.
  • Reedley Transit a.k.a. Dial-A-Ride services Reedley.
  • Fresno County Rural Transit Agency (FCRTA) offers a variety of local and intercity transit services around Fresno County.
  • Greyhound and Orange Belt Stages provide intercity, long-distance bus service.
  • Amtrak San Joaquins stop in Fresno.




Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Fresno County.

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Fresno City 494,665
2 Clovis City 95,631
3 Sanger City 24,270
4 Reedley City 24,194
5 Selma City 23,219
6 Parlier City 14,494
7 Kerman City 13,544
8 Coalinga City 13,380
9 Kingsburg City 11,382
10 Mendota City 11,014
11 Orange Cove City 9,078
12 Firebaugh City 7,549
13 Huron City 6,754
14 Fowler City 5,570
15 Old Fig Garden CDP 5,365
16 Mayfair CDP 4,589
17 Sunnyside CDP 4,235
18 San Joaquin City 4,001
19 Tarpey Village CDP 3,888
20 Squaw Valley CDP 3,162
21 Riverdale CDP 3,153
22 Caruthers CDP 2,497
23 Auberry CDP 2,369
24 Easton CDP 2,083
25 Calwa CDP 2,052
26 Laton CDP 1,824
27 Del Rey CDP 1,639
28 Biola CDP 1,623
29 West Park CDP 1,157
30 Minkler CDP 1,003
31 Malaga CDP 947
32 Tranquillity CDP 799
33 Shaver Lake CDP 634
34 Lanare CDP 589
35 Friant CDP 509
36 Cantua Creek CDP 466
37 Centerville CDP 392
38 Raisin City CDP 380
39 Three Rocks CDP 246
40 Fort Washington CDP 233
41 Cold Springs Rancheria AIAN 184
42 Big Creek CDP 175
43 Bowles CDP 166
44 Monmouth CDP 152
45 Big Sandy Rancheria AIAN 118
46 Table Mountain Rancheria AIAN 64



Agriculture is the primary industry in Fresno County. Ag production totaled $5.3 billion in 2007, making it the number one agricultural county in the nation.[1] Major crops and livestocks include:

Companies based in Fresno County

  • Gottschalks Department Stores (liquidated in 2010 )
  • Sun-Maid Raisins
  • Pinnacle Armor, maker of the Dragon Skin Body Armor
  • Pelco, maker of surveillance cameras (acquired by Schneider Electric October 2007)
  • David Sunflower Seeds, now part of ConAgra Foods
  • Flicks Candy Company
  • Harris Ranch Beef Company
  • Saladino's Inc
  • National Raisin Company
  • Pacific Ethanol
  • United Security Bank
  • Central Valley Community Bank
  • Electronic Recyclers International

Major employers


Educational institutions in Fresno County include:

  • California State University, Fresno which opened in 1911.
  • California Health Sciences University is a private university established in 2012. It currently offers a College of Pharmacy and College of Osteopathic Medicine and is committed to health sciences research and improving the access and delivery of quality health care in the San Joaquin Valley.
  • San Joaquin College of Law is a private, nonprofit law school founded in 1969 and located in the City of Clovis.
  • Fresno Pacific University is a private university in the City of Fresno.

Within the California Community Colleges System, Fresno County is mostly covered by the State Center Community College District and the West Hills Community College District. The following campuses are in Fresno County:

  • Clovis Community College near the City of Clovis
  • Fresno City College in the City of Fresno
  • Reedley College in the City of Reedley
  • West Hills College Coalinga in the City of Coalinga

In addition, the Fresno County Public Library operates public libraries throughout the county.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Fresno para niños

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