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Madera, California
City of Madera Water Tower
City of Madera Water Tower
"The Heart of California"
Location in Madera County and the state of California
Location in Madera County and the state of California
Madera, California is located in California
Madera, California
Madera, California
Location in California
Country United States
State California
County Madera
Regions Central Valley
Northern California
Incorporated March 27, 1907
 • Type Council and Manager
 • City 16.48 sq mi (42.67 km2)
 • Land 16.48 sq mi (42.67 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)  0%
272 ft (83 m)
 • City 61,416
 • Estimate 
 • Density 3,997.57/sq mi (1,543.51/km2)
 • Metro
Demonym(s) Maderan
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
Area code 559
FIPS code 06-45022
GNIS feature IDs 277552, 2410906

Madera (Spanish for "Wood") is a city and county seat of Madera County, California. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 61,416. According to a July 1, 2019 estimate by the US Census Bureau, the city's population is 65,860.

Located in the San Joaquin Valley, Madera is the principal city of the Madera Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is part of the Fresno-Madera-Hanford Combined Statistical Area. The city is also home to the Madera Unified School District.


Madera is located at 36°57′41″N 120°03′39″W / 36.96139°N 120.06083°W / 36.96139; -120.06083. The geographic center of California is 38 mi (61 km) east of Madera. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.8 square miles (41 km2), all land.

Madera is the location of the Madera AVA wine region.


Madera has a hot semi-arid climate. Average January temperatures are a maximum of 53.9 °F (12.2 °C) and a minimum of 35.9 °F (2.2 °C). Average July temperatures are a maximum of 98.3 °F (36.8 °C) and a minimum of 61.4 °F (16.3 °C). Annually, there are an average of 105.2 days with highs of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher and an average of 30.8 days with lows of 32 °F (0 °C) or lower. The record high temperature was 116 °F (47 °C) on July 13, 1961. The record low temperature was 15 °F (−9 °C) on January 10, 1949.

Average annual rainfall is 10.97 inches (279 mm) and there are an average of 43 days with measurable precipitation. The wettest year was 1983 with 22.13 inches (562 mm) and the driest year was 1932 with 4.73 inches (120 mm). The most rainfall in one month was 7.11 inches (181 mm) in March 1991. The most rainfall in 24 hours was 2.60 inches (66 mm) on May 6, 2005. Although snow is rare, 4.0 inches (100 mm) fell in January 1962.

Weather chart for
temperatures in °F
precipitation totals in inches


The town was named after the Spanish term for lumber. The town was laid out by the California Lumber Company in 1876. From 1876 to 1931 a 63-mile water flume carried lumber from the mountains to Madera where the lumber was shipped by train.

The first post office at Madera opened in 1877 and the town incorporated on March 27, 1907. One of the city's first African Americans to hold an elected office was Rev. Naaman N. Haynes, who was voted in as school board trustee in the 1960s.

Landmarks include the notable and historic Madera water tower and a fully operational drive-in movie theater.


Within the city, State Route 99 carries traffic in a generally northwest / southeast orientation. East of the city, State Route 41 can be accessed via either eastbound county roads or via State Route 145, the latter of which turns from a northeast/southwest bearing to a directly south orientation within the city. The eastern terminus of State Route 152 is located 10 miles (16 km) to the north of the city, on State Route 99.

Just north of Madera is the Madera Amtrak station. A California High-Speed Rail stop is also planned.

There is a Greyhound bus station located downtown.

The City of Madera provides local transportation known as Madera Metro. Madera residents can travel conveniently from neighborhoods to shopping centers, local schools, medical offices and work sites on the Madera Metro fixed-route transit services. Madera County provides bus connections with other communities in the county.

Madera Municipal Airport is a general aviation airport owned and operated by the City of Madera. It is situated on approximately 524 acres on the northwest edge of the city and is supervised by the Madera Public Works Department. Madera residents also have access to the nearby Yosemite International Airport, located in Fresno.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 217
1890 950 337.8%
1910 2,404
1920 3,444 43.3%
1930 4,665 35.5%
1940 6,457 38.4%
1950 10,497 62.6%
1960 14,430 37.5%
1970 16,044 11.2%
1980 21,732 35.5%
1990 29,281 34.7%
2000 43,207 47.6%
2010 61,416 42.1%
2019 (est.) 65,860 7.2%
U.S. Decennial Census


The 2010 United States Census reported that Madera had a population of 61,416. The population density was 3,889.7 people per square mile (1,501.8/km2). The racial makeup of Madera was 30,640 (49.9%) White, 2,069 (3.4%) African American, 1,933 (3.1%) Native American, 1,369 (2.2%) Asian, 72 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 22,603 (36.8%) from other races, and 2,730 (4.4%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race accounted for 47,103 people (76.7% of the population).

The Census reported that 60,825 people (99.0% of the population) lived in households, 418 (0.7%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 173 (0.3%) were institutionalized.

There were 15,938 households, out of which 9,003 (56.5%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 8,521 (53.5%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 2,917 (18.3%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,450 (9.1%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,323 (8.3%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 97 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 2,374 households (14.9%) were made up of individuals, and 1,077 (6.8%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.82. There were 12,888 families (80.9% of all households); the average family size was 4.09.

The population was spread out, with 21,338 people (34.7%) under the age of 18, 7,732 people (12.6%) aged 18 to 24, 17,287 people (28.1%) aged 25 to 44, 10,407 people (16.9%) aged 45 to 64, and 4,652 people (7.6%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26.6 years. For every 100 females, there were 104.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.3 males.

There were 17,049 housing units at an average density of 1,079.8 per square mile (416.9/km2), of which 8,096 (50.8%) were owner-occupied, and 7,842 (49.2%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 3.5%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.1%. 28,785 people (46.9% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 32,040 people (52.2%) lived in rental housing units.


As of the census of 2000, there were 43,207 people, 11,978 households, and 9,438 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,515.3 people per square mile (1,357.4/km2). There were 12,521 housing units at an average density of 1,018.7 per square mile (393.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 48.2% White, 3.9% African American, 2.8% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 38.0% from other races, and 5.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 67.8% of the population.

There were 11,978 households, out of which 48.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.7% were married couples living together, 17.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.2% were non-families. 16.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.57 and the average family size was 3.90.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 35.4% under the age of 18, 12.5% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 14.9% from 45 to 64, and 8.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females, there were 102.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,033, and the median income for a family was $31,927. Males had a median income of $29,776 versus $23,210 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,674. About 25.6% of families and 32.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.0% of those under age 18 and 12.7% of those age 65 or over.

Current estimates

According to estimates by the US Census Bureau from July 1, 2019, the total population for the City of Madera was 65,860, and the median household income was $42,581.


  • Private Schools
    • Saint Joachim School (preK-8)
    • Crossroads Christian School (preK-8)
  • School districts
    • Madera Unified School District (K-12)
  • High schools
    • Madera High School
    • Madera South High School
    • Matilda Torres High School
  • Higher education
    • Madera Community College
    • San Joaquin Valley College Madera (for-profit)
  • Public libraries
    • Madera County Public Library

Notable people

Noteworthy persons from Madera include:

  • Frank Bergon, author of four novels, including Jesse's Ghost (2011) which is set in Madera.
  • Connor Brogdon, pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies.
  • Dwayne Crump, defensive back for the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • Lee Evans (1947–2021), Olympic gold medalist and former world record holder in track and field.
  • Zoila Frausto Gurgel, women's Mixed Martial Arts champion
  • Lavar Johnson, American mixed martial artist who competed as a heavyweight for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
  • Jack W. Kelso (1934–1952), Medal of Honor recipient.
  • Oswaldo Lopez, winner of the 2011 Badwater Ultramarathon.
  • Frank McNally, all-pro football player.
  • Wally O'Connor, Four-time Olympian in water polo & swimming and 1924 gold medalist.
  • Jeannine Riley, actress and star of Petticoat Junction.
  • Martha Baird Rockefeller, concert pianist, philanthropist, and wife of John D. Rockefeller Jr.
  • Kathryn Grove Shipp (1904–1977), explosives expert, raised in Madera
  • Avery Stafford, gospel and R&B vocalist
  • Virginia Stroud, painter and former Miss Indian America
  • La Schelle Tarver, outfielder for the Boston Red Sox
  • Lorin Whitney, organist and recording artist
  • Leroy Zimmerman, All-Pro professional football player, Hall of Fame softball pitcher, and teacher.

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