MERCED County, CA
Merced County , 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 2020 census, the population was 281,202. 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.
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.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of , of which is land and (2.2%) is water.
National protected areas
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.
Places by population, race, and income
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%).
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.
Government and policing
Merced County is a California Constitution defined general law county and is governed by an elected Board of Supervisors. The Board consists of five members, elected by districts, who serve four-year staggered terms.
Merced County Sheriff
The Merced County Sheriff provides court protection, jail administration, and coroner service for the entire county. It provides patrol, detective, and other police services for the unincorporated parts of the county. The main sheriff station and offices are at Merced. There are two sheriff's substations. A Grand Jury report in 2010 stated that the Sheriff processed 12,746 average jail bookings per year with an average daily jail population of 1,123.
Municipal police departments
Municipal police departments in the county are: Merced, population 83,000; Los Banos, population 38,000; Atwater, population 30,000; Livingston, population 13,000; Gustine, population 6,000; Dos Palos, population 5,500.
State and federal representation
In the United States House of Representatives, Merced County is in .
In the California State Legislature, Merced County is in , and .
Voter registration statistics
Cities by population and voter registration
Merced County voted for the winning candidate for president in every election from 1972 to 2012, before voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Democrat Barack Obama won a majority in the county in both 2008 and 2012. Republican George W. Bush won a majority in the county in both 2000 and 2004.
According to the California Secretary of State, as of October 20, 2008, there were 97,179 registered voters in Merced County. Of those, 44,704 (46.0%) are registered Democratic, 35,955 (37.0%) are registered Republican, 3,090 (3.2%) are registered with other political parties, and 13,430 (13.8%) declined to state a political party. Atwater and the unincorporated areas of Merced County have Republican plurality registration advantages. All of the other cities and towns in the county have Democratic pluralities or majorities in voter registration.
Merced County has been somewhat of a bellwether county for presidential elections. Since 1916, it has voted for the winner in each election except in 1956, 1968, and 2016. Despite a leftward shift in recent years, Merced County voted "Yes" in the 2021 California gubernatorial recall election despite the fact that it had voted for Newsom by a margin of 4% in the 2018 California gubernatorial election.
The following table includes the number of incidents reported and the rate per 1,000 persons for each type of offense.
Cities by population and crime rates
According to America's Labor Market Information System 2014 report, the companies with the largest employment in Merced are, in alphabetical order:
Merced County grows 90% of California's sweet potato crop, due in part to the efforts of John Buttencourt Avila, called "the father of the sweet potato industry".
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.
The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Merced County.
† county seat
Places of interest
The former Castle Air Force Base and the United States Penitentiary, Atwater are located in an unincorporated area near Atwater.
This page uses material from the Wikipedia article MERCED CA, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0. Township-6t4ab-c4u-75d-ef78-iy9