Madera County (// (listen)), officially the County of Madera, is a county at the geographic center of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 150,865. The county seat is Madera.
Madera County comprises the Madera, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Fresno-Madera, CA Combined Statistical Area. It is located in the eastern San Joaquin Valley and the central Sierra Nevada.
The southeasternmost part of Yosemite National Park is located in the county's northeast.
History and etymology
Madera County was formed in 1893 from Fresno County during a special election held in Fresno on May 16, 1893. Citizens residing in the area that was to become Madera County voted 1,179 to 358 for separation from Fresno County and the establishment of Madera County.
Madera is the Spanish term for wood. The county derives its name from the town of Madera, named when the California Lumber Company built a log flume to carry lumber to the Central Pacific Railroad there in 1876.
The Madera County Sheriff's Department employed the first woman in California to die in the line of duty as a sworn law enforcement officer—Tulare native Lucille Helm (1914–1959). For 15 years, the Madera housewife and mother of four worked on call as a "matron" assisting with female transfers.
National protected areas
- Devils Postpile National Monument
- Inyo National Forest (part)
- Sierra National Forest (part)
- Yosemite National Park (part)
|Population, race, and income|
|Black or African American||4,962||3.3%|
|American Indian or Alaska Native||2,541||1.7%|
|Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander||755||0.5%|
|Some other race||12,152||8.1%|
|Two or more races||5,176||3.5%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||79,037||52.8%|
|Per capita income||$18,817|
|Median household income||$47,724|
|Median family income||$51,658|
Places by population, race, and income
|Places by population and race|
|Asian||Black or African
|Hispanic or Latino|
(of any race)
|Bonadelle Ranchos-Madera Ranchos||CDP||8,400||83.1%||8.0%||3.1%||5.3%||0.4%||26.0%|
|Places by population and income|
|Place||Type||Population||Per capita income||Median household income||Median family income|
|Bonadelle Ranchos-Madera Ranchos||CDP||8,400||$29,655||$74,917||$83,508|
The 2010 United States Census reported that Madera County had a population of 150,865. The racial makeup of Madera County was 94,456 (62.6%) White, 5,629 (3.7%) African American, 4,136 (2.7%) Native American, 2,802 (1.9%) Asian, 162 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 37,380 (24.8%) from other races, and 6,300 (4.2%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 80,992 persons (53.7%).
|Population reported at 2010 United States Census|
(of any race)
(of any race)
(of any race)
|Bonadelle Ranchos-Madera Ranchos||8,569||7,034||114||120||207||4||811||279||2,305|
(of any race)
|All others not CDPs (combined)||32,771||24,049||481||1,148||501||22||5,192||1,378||11,658|
As of the census of 2000, there were 123,109 people in the county, organized into 36,155 households, and 28,598 families. The population density was 58 people per square mile (22/km2). There were 40,387 housing units at an average density of 19 per square mile (7/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 62.2% White, 4.1% Black or African American, 2.6% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 24.4% from other races, and 5.2% from two or more races. 44.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 8.0% were of German, 5.9% English, 5.4% American and 5.3% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000. 63.6% spoke English and 33.7% Spanish as their first language.
There were 36,155 households, out of which 40.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.9% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.9% were non-families. 16.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.18 and the average family size was 3.52.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 29.6% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 91.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.0 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $36,286, and the median income for a family was $39,226. Males had a median income of $33,658 versus $24,415 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,682. 21.4% of the population and 15.9% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 28.6% of those under the age of 18 and 9.0% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
Madera County is mostly covered by the State Center Community College District centered on Fresno City College in Fresno. Other districts with territory within Madera County also include the West Hills Community College District and the Merced Community College District.
Government, policing, and politics
The Government of Madera County is mandated by the California Constitution to have a five-member Board of Supervisors elected to staggered four-year terms. The Board of Supervisors and County Administrator and staff provide for voter registration and elections, law enforcement, jails, vital records, property records, tax collection, public health, roads, and social services for the entire county. It is the local government for all unincorporated areas. Other elected offices include the Sheriff, District Attorney, Assessor-Recorder, Auditor-Controller/Treasurer-Tax Collector, and Clerk/Registrar of Voters.
Madera County Sheriff's Office
The sheriff's department and staff provide court protection, jail administration, and coroner service for all of Madera County with its total population of approximately 156,000 residents. The sheriff provides police patrol and detective services to the unincorporated areas of the county, which contain approximately 70,000 residents, or 45% of Madera County's total population. The Sheriff's main station and offices are at Madera. There are two sheriff's substations: Oakhurst, population 3,000, and Coarsegold, population 2,000, both on Highway 41 to Yosemite National Park in the Sierras.
Municipal police departments
The municipal police departments within Madera County are Madera, the county seat, population 62,000, and Chowchilla, population 19,600.
|Population and registered voters|
|Registered voters[note 3]||53,782||35.9%|
|Peace and Freedom||131||0.2%|
|No party preference||9,303||17.3%|
Cities by population and voter registration
|Cities by population and voter registration|
|Democratic||Republican||D–R spread||Other||No party preference|
On November 4, 2008, Madera County voted 73.4% for Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
The county is one of three counties in California to establish a separate department to deal with corrections, pursuant to California Government Code §23013, the Madera County Department of Corrections, along with Napa County and Santa Clara County. The officers receive their powers under 831 and 831.5 of the California Penal Code.
The following table includes the number of incidents reported and the rate per 1,000 persons for each type of offense.
|Population and crime rates|
|Motor vehicle theft||520||3.48|
Cities by population and crime rates
|Cities by population and crime rates|
|City||Population||Violent crimes||Violent crime rate
per 1,000 persons
|Property crimes||Property crime rate|
per 1,000 persons
The Chowchilla/Madera County Fairgrounds hosts the Chowchilla Junior Fair, founded in 1946, and the Chowchilla Western Stampede. It also houses the Chowchilla Speedway, a 1/3 mile dirt track, and the Associated Feed Pavilion, a covered arena. The venue hosts numerous horse events and auctions, a Spring Festival barbecue, and other public and private events.
The eastern side of Madera County, which includes Devil's Postpile National Monument and part of Minaret Summit, is unconnected to the rest of Madera County by road. This only road into this area is Minaret Summit Road which becomes State Route 203 at the Mono County border, connecting this area to Mammoth Lakes. Red's Meadow Road is a further extension of this route.
The gap between Minaret Road (not to be confused with Minaret Summit Road), which runs northeast into the Sierras from North Fork, and the end of the Red's Meadow Road is less than 10 miles, and plans for a highway (or tunnel) connecting the Eastern Sierra and the San Joaquin Valley via Minaret Summit had often been discussed. An area southwest of Minaret Summit was not included in the Wilderness Act of 1964 in order to leave a corridor for this possibility. During his time as Governor of California, Ronald Reagan made a horse packing trip into the area. Afterward he supported conservationists' efforts to prevent this highway. Reagan continued his efforts after being elected President in 1980, and the area was eventually designated wilderness by the California Wilderness Act of 1984.
- Madera County Connection provides service between the cities of Madera and Chowchilla. Routes also run to eastern Madera County. A connection to Fresno can be made at Valley Children's Hospital near the county line.
- The cities of Madera and Chowchilla also have their own local transit services.
- Greyhound buses and Amtrak trains stop in Madera.
† county seat
|Rank||City/Town/etc.||Municipal type||Population (2010 Census)|
|4||Bonadelle Ranchos-Madera Ranchos||CDP||8,569|
|16||Picayune Rancheria (Chukchansi Indians)||AIAN||69|
|17||Northfork Rancheria (Mono Indians)||AIAN||60|
- Sierra National Forest
- Nelder Grove
- Fresno Dome
- List of museums in the San Joaquin Valley
- List of school districts in Madera County, California
- Madera Community Hospital
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Madera County, California
- USS Madera County (LST-905)
- Other = Some other race + Two or more races
- Native American = Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander + American Indian or Alaska Native
- Percentage of registered voters with respect to total population. Percentages of party members with respect to registered voters follow.
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
- "American FactFinder". Archived from the original on February 14, 2020. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
- "California Geography". NETSTATE. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- Madera County GenWeb, Madera County History. Accessed 2017.09.01.
- Madera County, County History Archived January 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 2009.10.09.
- Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 798. ISBN 1-884995-14-4.
- "Memorial for law agents," The Madera Tribune, May 13, 2014, Pages A1 and A3
- "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
- U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B02001. U.S. Census website. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
- U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B03003. U.S. Census website. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
- U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19301. U.S. Census website. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
- U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19013. U.S. Census website. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
- U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19113. U.S. Census website. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
- U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. U.S. Census website. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
- U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B01003. U.S. Census website. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
- "2010 Census P.L. 94-171 Summary File Data". United States Census Bureau.
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
- California Secretary of State. February 10, 2013 - Report of Registration Archived July 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
- Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
- "Counties by County and by District". California Citizens Redistricting Commission. Archived from the original on September 30, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
- "California's 4th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
- "Communities of Interest — County". California Citizens Redistricting Commission. Archived from the original on October 23, 2015. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
- "California Penal Code - PEN". FindLaw. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
- Office of the Attorney General, Department of Justice, State of California. Table 11: Crimes – 2009 Archived December 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2013-11-14.
- Only larceny-theft cases involving property over $400 in value are reported as property crimes.
- United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Crime in the United States, 2012, Table 8 (California). Retrieved 2013-11-14.
- "About". Chowchilla/Madera County Fair and Event Center. Retrieved April 28, 2014.
- 2010 Census
- 2010 Census Interactive Population Search
- 2010 Census Interactive Population Search
- Official website
- Madera County GenWeb - Genealogy
- Madera County History—Transcription of 1933 document on the county's history
- Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce
- Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau
- Madera Tribune, newspaper for the western half of the county founded March 31, 1892
- Superior Court of Madera County
- Madera County Library
- Madera Community Hospital
- Madera Values Quarterly Magazine