About the County
Fresno County covers an area of over 6000 square miles in central California. It is the state’s sixth largest county.
Fresno County is located near the center of California's San Joaquin Valley which, together with the Sacramento Valley to the north, form the Great Central Valley, one of the distinct physical regions of the state. The Coast Range foothills, which form the county's western boundary, reach a height of over 4,000 feet near Coalinga while some peaks along the crest of the Sierra Nevada, the county's eastern boundary, exceed 14,000 feet. The Valley floor in between is fifty to sixty miles wide and has an elevation near the city of Fresno of about 325 feet. (Environment of Fresno County, Fresno County Planning Dept., 1975).
Downtown Los Angeles is 220 miles to the south and east, Monterey, on the Pacific Coast is almost directly to the west, 160 miles by road, and San Francisco is 185 miles to the north and west. The southern entrance to Yosemite National Park is about 65 miles to the north, while the entrance to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is about 55 miles to the east.
Fresno County is one of the largest, fastest growing, and most diverse counties in the state of California. It is the 10th most populous county with an estimated 917,515 residents, according to the California Department of Finance.
Fresno County added more than 17,000 residents from 2006 to 2007, making it the 9th fastest growing County.
A culturally diverse County, nearly one-half of the residents are Hispanic or Latino. For more information on ethnic and racial composition, see the Census Bureau’s American Community survey.
Fresno County is home to 15 incorporated cities, all located on the Valley floor. Over 60 percent of the County’s total population resides in the neighboring cities of Fresno and Clovis. See the website of the Fresno Economic Development Corporation for a map of these cities and information about each. The Council of Fresno County Governments also links to these cities.
Rich soil, irrigation, and the hard work of farmers who came from all over the world combine to make Fresno County the richest and most productive agricultural county in America. In the year 2006, Fresno County growers grossed over $4.8 billion from the production of more than 200 commercial crops. For more detailed information, see the County Agricultural Commissioner’s 2007 report.
Many Fresno County businesses engage in food processing, manufacturing, distribution and warehousing, back office/call center operations, and retail. (Fresno County Economic Development Corporation, Fresno County Factbook, 2002.)
Fresno County is subject to a Mediterranean climate. Low elevations are hot and dry in the summer and in the winter moderate temperatures and relatively light precipitation are common.
Temperatures and rainfall for the City of Fresno are typical of that part of the county in which most people live.
|Avg. High Temp.
|Avg. Low Temp.
|Avg. Rainfall (Inches)
*** Most recent figures available at time of printing.
Much more weather data for Fresno County locations is available at the National Weather Service.
No date has been established for the coming of the area’s first human inhabitants, although it probably happened between 50,000 and 7,000 years ago. When the first Europeans arrived, the Yokuts tribe was settled on the valley floor and in the foothills along the San Joaquin and Kings Rivers. Along the upper reaches of these rivers lived the Monache. (Fresno County, The Pioneer Years, Clough & Secrest, 1984.)
The first European exploration was by the Spaniards in the early 1800's, in search of possible sites for an inland chain of missions. Other early expeditions were by fur trappers, and Kit Carson made several trips into the mountains during the 1840's.
Fresno County experienced four stages of development. First the mining period, which extended into the early 1860's and left such memorable names as Temperance Flat and Grub Gulch; then the stock raising period, to about 1874; general farming, which received its impetus from the advent of the railroad in 1870; and finally after many years of bitter controversy over the use of water, the transition to irrigated orchards, vineyards and row crops. (1950 California Blue Book)
Fresno County, which takes its name from the Spanish word for "ash", or "ash tree", was created April 19, 1856. The present boundaries were established in 1909.
Highlights for Fresno County's first 100 years.