kids encyclopedia robot

Madera County, California facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Madera County, California
County of Madera
Wassama Roundhouse.jpg Devils Postpile National Monument near Mammoth Lakes.jpg
Fresno Dome 2004.jpg Mt Banner and Thousand Island Lake.jpg
Basslake goatmountain.jpg
Flag of Madera County, California
Official seal of Madera 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
Country  United States
State  California
Regions San Joaquin Valley, Sierra Nevada
Metropolitan area Metropolitan Fresno
Incorporated 1893
County seat Madera
 • Total 2,153 sq mi (5,580 km2)
 • Land 2,137 sq mi (5,530 km2)
 • Water 16 sq mi (40 km2)
 • Total 150,865
 • Estimate 
 • Density 70.072/sq mi (27.055/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific Time Zone)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (Pacific Daylight Time)
FIPS code 06-039
GNIS feature ID 277284

Madera County, officially the County of Madera, is a county at the geographic center of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 150,865. The county seat is Madera.

Madera County comprises the Madera, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Fresno-Madera, CA Combined Statistical Area. It is located in the eastern San Joaquin Valley and the central Sierra Nevada.

The southeasternmost part of Yosemite National Park is located in the county's northeast.


Logging in the Sierra, Madera County, about 1901

Madera County was formed in 1893 from the southern part of Mariposa County during a special election held on May 16, 1893. Citizens residing in the area that was to become Madera County voted 1,179 to 358 for establishment of the new county.

Madera is the Spanish term for wood. The county derives its name from the town of Madera, named when the California Lumber Company built a log flume to carry lumber to the Central Pacific Railroad there in 1876.

The Madera County Sheriff's Department employed the first woman in California to die in the line of duty as a sworn law enforcement officer—Tulare native Lucille Helm (1914-1959). For 15 years, the Madera housewife and mother of four worked on call as a "matron" assisting with female transfers.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,153 square miles (5,580 km2), of which 2,137 square miles (5,530 km2) is land and 16 square miles (41 km2) (0.8%) is water.

Madera County is part of the Madera AVA wine region.

National protected areas



Places by population, race, and income


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 6,364
1910 8,368 31.5%
1920 12,203 45.8%
1930 17,164 40.7%
1940 23,314 35.8%
1950 36,964 58.5%
1960 40,468 9.5%
1970 41,519 2.6%
1980 63,116 52.0%
1990 88,090 39.6%
2000 123,109 39.8%
2010 150,865 22.5%
2015 (est.) 154,998 2.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2015

The 2010 United States Census reported that Madera County had a population of 150,865. The racial makeup of Madera County was 94,456 (62.6%) White, 5,629 (3.7%) African American, 4,136 (2.7%) Native American, 2,802 (1.9%) Asian, 162 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 37,380 (24.8%) from other races, and 6,300 (4.2%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 80,992 persons (53.7%).


Madera California county government offices
County government office building.

As of the census of 2000, there are 123,109 people in the county, organized into 36,155 households, and 28,598 families. The population density is 58 people per square mile (22/km²). There are 40,387 housing units at an average density of 19 per square mile (7/km²). The racial makeup of the county is 62.2% White, 4.1% Black or African American, 2.6% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 24.4% from other races, and 5.2% from two or more races. 44.3% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. 8.0% were of German, 5.9% English, 5.4% American and 5.3% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000. 63.6% spoke English and 33.7% Spanish as their first language.

There are 36,155 households out of which 40.2% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.9% are married couples living together, 12.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 20.9% are non-families. 16.5% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 3.18 and the average family size is 3.52.

In the county, the population is spread out with 29.6% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 33 years. For every 100 females there are 91.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 86.0 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $36,286, and the median income for a family is $39,226. Males have a median income of $33,658 versus $24,415 for females. The per capita income for the county is $14,682. 21.4% of the population and 15.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 28.6% of those under the age of 18 and 9.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


The Chowchilla/Madera County Fairgrounds hosts the Chowchilla Junior Fair, founded in 1946, and the Chowchilla Western Stampede. It also houses the Chowchilla Speedway, a 1/3 mile dirt track, and the Associated Feed Pavilion, a covered arena. The venue hosts numerous horse events and auctions, a Spring Festival barbecue, and other public and private events.


Major highways

Other roads

The eastern side of Madera County, which includes Devil's Postpile National Monument and part of Minaret Summit, is unconnected to the rest of Madera County by road. This only road into this area is Minaret Summit Road which becomes State Route 203 at the Mono County border, connecting this area to Mammoth Lakes. Red's Meadow Road is a further extension of this route.

The gap between Minaret Road (not to be confused with Minaret Summit Road), which runs northeast into the Sierras from North Fork, and the end of the Red's Meadow Road is less than 10 miles, and plans for a highway (or tunnel) connecting the Eastern Sierra and the San Joaquin Valley via Minaret Summit had often been discussed. An area southwest of Minaret Summit was not included in the Wilderness Act of 1964 in order to leave a corridor for this possibility. During his time as Governor of California, Ronald Reagan made a horse packing trip into the area. Afterward he supported conservationists' efforts to prevent this highway. Reagan continued his efforts after being elected President in 1980, and the area was eventually designated wilderness by the California Wilderness Act of 1984.

Public transportation

  • Madera County Connection provides service between the cities of Madera and Chowchilla. Routes also run to eastern Madera County. A connection to Fresno can be made at Valley Children's Hospital near the county line.
  • The cities of Madera and Chowchilla also have their own local transit services.
  • Greyhound buses and Amtrak trains stop in Madera.


  • Madera Municipal Airport and Chowchilla Airport are general aviation airports.



Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Population ranking

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

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Madera City 61,416
2 Chowchilla City 18,720
3 Madera Acres CDP 9,163
4 Bonadelle Ranchos-Madera Ranchos CDP 8,569
5 Yosemite Lakes CDP 4,952
6 Oakhurst CDP 2,829
7 Parksdale CDP 2,621
8 Parkwood CDP 2,268
9 Ahwahnee CDP 2,246
10 Coarsegold CDP 1,840
11 Fairmead CDP 1,447
12 Rolling Hills CDP 742
13 Bass Lake CDP 527
14 Nipinnawasee CDP 475
15 La Vina CDP 279
16 Picayune Rancheria (Chukchansi Indians) AIAN 69
17 Northfork Rancheria (Mono Indians) AIAN 60
kids search engine
Madera County, California Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.