Merced County, California facts for kids

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Merced County, California
County
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
Seal
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
Region San Joaquin Valley
Incorporated April 19, 1855
Named for Merced River
Area
 • Total 1,979 sq mi (5,130 km2)
 • Land 1,935 sq mi (5,010 km2)
 • Water 44 sq mi (110 km2)
Highest elevation 3,801 ft (1,159 m)
Population (April 1, 2010)
 • Total 255,793
 • Estimate (2015) 268,455
 • Density 129.25/sq mi (49.905/km2)
Time zone Pacific Time Zone (UTC−8)
 • Summer (DST) Pacific Daylight Time (UTC−7)
ZIP code 93620, 93635, 93661, 93665, 95301, 95303, 95312, 95315, 95317, 95322. 95324, 95333, 95334, 95388, 95340, 95341, 95343, 95344, 95348, 95365. 95369, 95374
Area code 209
FIPS code 06-047
GNIS feature ID 277288
Website www.co.merced.ca.us

Merced County (/mərˈsɛd/ mər-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. The county seat is Merced. 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.

History

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.

Geography

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.

National protected areas

  • Merced National Wildlife Refuge
  • San Luis National Wildlife Refuge

Demographics

2011

Places by population, race, and income

2010

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 1,141
1870 2,807 146.0%
1880 5,656 101.5%
1890 8,085 42.9%
1900 9,215 14.0%
1910 15,148 64.4%
1920 24,579 62.3%
1930 36,748 49.5%
1940 46,988 27.9%
1950 69,780 48.5%
1960 90,446 29.6%
1970 104,629 15.7%
1980 134,560 28.6%
1990 178,403 32.6%
2000 210,554 18.0%
2010 255,793 21.5%
Est. 2015 268,455 5.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2015

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%).

2000

As of the census 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.

Transportation

Major highways

Public transportation

  • Merced County Transit, or "The Bus," provides local service in Merced as well as connecting service between most cities in Merced County.
  • The University of California, Merced, operates its own transit system, Cat Tracks. This system connects with Merced County Transit.
  • Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System, or YARTS, connects Merced with Yosemite National Park.
  • Greyhound buses and Amtrak trains provide long-distance intercity service.

Airports

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.

Communities

Cities

Census-designated places

Population ranking

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

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Merced City 78,958
2 Los Banos City 35,972
3 Atwater City 28,168
4 Livingston City 13,058
5 Delhi CDP 10,755
6 Winton CDP 10,613
7 Franklin CDP 6,149
8 Gustine City 5,520
9 Hilmar-Irwin CDP 5,197
10 Dos Palos City 4,950
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.


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