Merced County, located between Fresno and Modesto at the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, extends from the coastal ranges in the west to the foothills of Yosemite National Park in the east. The county's population of more than 210,000 people is ethnically diverse, including more than 30 percent of residents who are Spanish-speakers.
The county offers plentiful opportunities to enjoy the different cultures of its residents, and academic institutions such as Merced College and University of California, Merced also influence social and cultural issues throughout the county.
Agricultural industries are a major source of employment in Merced County, with dairy (milk production) and poultry being the two highest-producing agricultural commodities in the county (Merced County 2006 Crop Report). Merced County also is home to food processing, retailing and light manufacturing industries.
Twenty-one percent of Merced County residents live on incomes below the federal poverty line.
Merced County Profile