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County of Fresno
—  County  —
Official seal of County of Fresno
Location in the state of California
Map of USA CA.svg
California's location in the United States
Country Flag of the United States.svg United States
State Flag of California.svg California
Region San Joaquin Valley/Metropolitan Fresno
Incorporated 1856
County seat Fresno
Largest city Fresno
 • Total 6,017.42 sq mi (15,585.0 km2)
 • Land 5,962.73 sq mi (15,443.4 km2)
 • Water 54.70 sq mi (141.7 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total 930,450
 • Density 150/sq mi (60/km2)
Time zone Pacific Standard Time (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)

Fresno County is a county located in the Central Valley of the U.S. state of California, south of Stockton and north of Bakersfield. As of 2008, it is the tenth most populous county in California with an estimated population of 931,098,[1] and the sixth largest in size with an area of 6,017.4 square miles (15,585 km2). The county seat is Fresno. In 2009 Fresno was the fifth largest city in California.


The area now known as Fresno County, once a semiarid steppe, was discovered by Spaniards during a search for suitable mission sites. In 1846, this area became the property 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. The county is named after Fresno Creek. Fresno in Spanish signifies "ash tree" and it was due to the abundance of mountain ash or ash trees in the county 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 placed in Millerton, but it had to be abandoned after a devastating flood swamped the county court house. The county seat was then moved to higher ground at Fresno and the little town of Millerton never fully recovered.

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 transformed the barren desert of Fresno County into rich soil, thus enabling extensive wheat farming in Fresno County. Frances 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 the nation's leading agricultural region. 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 first decade of the 20th century, 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.[2][3]

To date, over 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.


Fresno County vote
by party in presidential elections
Year GOP DEM Others
2008 48.2% 131,015 50.3% 136,706 2.1% 5,727
2004 57.4% 141,988 41.7% 103,154 0.9% 2,321
2000 53.1% 117,342 43.1% 95,059 3.8% 8,434
1996 47.4% 98,813 45.3% 94,448 7.3% 15,132
1992 40.7% 89,137 42.2% 92,418 17.2% 37,606
1988 50.0% 94,835 48.8% 92,635 1.3% 2,400
1984 54.3% 104,757 44.7% 86,315 1.0% 1,864
1980 51.1% 82,515 40.4% 65,254 8.4% 13,617
1976 48.1% 72,533 49.7% 74,958 2.2% 3,314
1972 50.4% 79,051 46.4% 72,682 3.2% 4,986
1968 43.6% 59,901 47.4% 65,153 9.0% 12,342
1964 34.3% 46,792 65.6% 89,375 0.1% 141
1960 44.3% 57,930 55.2% 72,164 0.5% 608
1956 43.3% 51,611 56.4% 67,234 0.2% 270
1952 49.0% 54,626 50.3% 56,135 0.8% 837
1948 37.2% 30,379 58.5% 47,762 4.3% 3,525
1944 35.5% 22,668 63.8% 40,769 0.7% 425
1940 29.8% 21,079 69.1% 48,866 1.1% 805
1936 20.9% 11,545 77.8% 42,859 1.3% 722
1932 26.1% 12,134 69.9% 32,528 4.0% 1,875
1928 54.3% 20,687 44.3% 16,884 1.4% 527
1924 44.0% 15,635 13.0% 4,610 43.0% 15,282
1920 55.4% 14,621 36.4% 9,613 8.3% 2,179

Fresno County is a Republican-leaning county, voting for President George W. Bush with 57% of the vote in 2004, although it remains closer in Senatorial races and voted for Barack Obama in 2008.

The cities of Clovis, Coalinga, Kingsburg, and Reedley voted overwhelmingly for President George W. Bush. Fowler, Fresno, Kerman, and Selma did so by much lesser margins and remain GOP-leaning "swing" cities in the county. Huron, Mendota, Orange Cove, Parlier, and San Joaquin voted overwhelmingly for Senator John Kerry (D-MA). Firebaugh and Sanger did so by smaller margins and compose the Democratic-leaning "swing" cities in the county.

According to the California Secretary of State, in April 2008 there were 350,369 registered voters in Fresno County. 151,370 (43.2%) were registered Republican, 140,507 (40.1%) were registered Democratic, 13,708 (3.9%) are registered with other political parties, and 44,784 (12.8%) declined to state a political party. Republicans have a plurality or majority of voter roll registration in the cities of Clovis, Coalinga, Kingsburg, Reedley, and the unincorporated areas. The other cities and towns have Democratic pluralities or majorities.

From Fresno County's incorporation in 1849, it voted Democratic in every election until the 1904 election, when President Theodore Roosevelt stood for re-election. Fresno County backed Roosevelt's over his Democratic opponent William Jennings Bryan. This did not immediately change the county's voting tendencies, however, as it supported Democrat Woodrow Wilson in the elections of 1912 and 1916.

Fresno County was generally Republican from the onset of the "roaring 1920s" until the Great Depression, when former President Franklin D. Roosevelt forged the New Deal Coalition that the agrarian county identified with. This led to a cycle of elections from 1932 till 1976 in which the county consistently voted Democratic, barring Richard Nixon's landslide victory over former Senator George McGovern (D-SD) in the 1972 Presidential Election.

Since former President Jimmy Carter's defeat by former President Reagan, Fresno became a GOP-leaning swing county which barely voted for Reagan's successor former President Bush and only voting Democratic for Bill Clinton in his 1992 presidential bid. Republicans have won elections in Fresno County by increasing margins since 1996, and widely view it and the rest of the Central Valley as one of their strongholds in largely Democratic California.

In the United States House of Representatives, parts of Californias 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st congressional districts are in Fresno County. The 18th and 20th districts are held by conservative Democrats Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa respectively. The 19th and 21st districts are held by Republicans Jeff Denham and Devin Nunes respectively.

In the State Assembly, parts of the 29th, 30th, and 31st districts are in Fresno County. The 29th and 30th districts are held by Republicans Linda Halderman and Danny Gilmore, respectively, while the 31st district is held by Democrat Juan Arambula. In the State Senate, parts of the 14th and 16th districts are in Fresno County. The 14th district is held by Republican Tom Berryhill and the 16th district is held by Democrat Dean Florez.

Fresno tends to remain socially conservative while being more moderate on economic issues, which can be seen in Fresno's support for socially conservative proposition amendments but occasionally voting for a Democratic Presidential Candidate if economic times are poor such as former President Bill Clinton's victory over incumbent former President George H.W. Bush in 1992 and President Barack Obama over Senator John McCain in 2008.

On Nov. 4, 2008 Fresno County voted 68.7 % for Proposition 8 which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.


According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 6,017.42 square miles (15,585.0 km2), of which 5,962.73 square miles (15,443.4 km2) (or 99.09%) is land and 54.70 square miles (141.7 km2) (or 0.91%) is water.[4]

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 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.

Cities and towns Edit

Adjacent counties Edit

National protected areasEdit

Transportation infrastructure Edit

Major highways Edit


Airports Edit

Commercial service
General Aviation

Public TransportationEdit



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 CountyEdit

Major employers in Fresno CountyEdit




Nonprofits (community based organizations)


Historical populations
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%


The 2010 United States Census reported that Fresno County had a population of 930,450. 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, 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%).[9]

Population reported at 2010 United States Census
The County
two or
more races
or Latino
(of any race)
Fresno County 930,450515,14549,52315,64989,3571,405217,08542,286468,070
two or
more races
or Latino
(of any race)
Clovis 95,63167,7582,6181,32010,2332188,8574,62724,514
Coalinga 13,3807,734549171407363,9375467,161
Firebaugh 7,5494,715701164002,3712376,887
Fowler 5,5702,63410413661081,8002783,687
Fresno 494,665245,30640,9608,52562,528849111,98424,513232,055
Huron 6,7542,30066773963,9643026,527
Kerman 13,5446,860681731,091144,6756639,711
Kingsburg 11,3828,57662146383211,7064884,883
Mendota 11,0145,8231071538254,46537910,643
Orange Cove 9,0783,9407213110134,4813508,413
Parlier 14,4947,251851807796,38750514,137
Reedley 24,19414,10516926779787,85099818,455
San Joaquin 4,0011,96631543701,7661473,825
Sanger 24,27014,454219311758397,64584419,537
Selma 23,21912,8692844791,05797,63089118,014
two or
more races
or Latino
(of any race)
Auberry 2,3692,0481010524268112309
Big Creek 17515811503727
Biola 1,6235106433162692541,196
Bowles 166108611043771
Calwa 2,0529952467439846681,848
Cantua Creek 466244531019914461
Caruthers 2,4971,22414382210904961,591
Centerville 3923211920033899
Del Rey 1,639740711340814331,534
Easton 2,0831,24813586805931031,308
Fort Washington 233209417011126
Friant 50943341470114063
Lanare 5891815752030044519
Laton 1,8241,001413100744521,393
Malaga 947418121511246425891
Mayfair 4,5892,03016999310141,7382293,010
Minkler 1,00381842023010830302
Monmouth 1528261504711107
Old Fig Garden 5,3654,00010554209107332541,532
Raisin City 3801235316020312308
Riverdale 3,1531,82633592751,0511522,106
Shaver Lake 63461105308744
Squaw Valley 3,1622,7003077472159147525
Sunnyside 4,2352,6871765846766402011,525
Tarpey Village 3,8882,868775926134521681,219
Three Rocks 246129010010214235
Tranquillity 7995049132025120637
West Park 1,157602323254137066879
two or
more races
or Latino
(of any race)
All others not CDPs (combined) 125,37880,0363,2452,5178,93312425,9904,53355,856


As of the census[10] 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 54.30% White, 5.30% Black or African American, 1.60% Native American, 8.05% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 25.90% from other races, and 4.73% from two or more races. 43.99% 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 41.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.50% were married couples living together, 15.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.20% were non-families. 20.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.80% 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 32.10% under the age of 18, 11.10% from 18 to 24, 28.50% from 25 to 44, 18.50% from 45 to 64, and 9.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 100.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.20 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 17.60% of families and 22.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.70% of those under age 18 and 9.90% of those age 65 or over.

Fresno County is also known for having the highest rate of chlamydia in the state, which in 2006 was 545.2 cases per 100,000 people, compared with the statewide average of 363.5.


Educational institutions in Fresno County include:

The following community college campus sites are in Fresno County:[11]

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

Notable locationsEdit

See alsoEdit

External links and referencesEdit


Coordinates: 36°45′N 119°39′W / 36.75, -119.65

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