Introduction to Merced, California

The California city of Merced, county seat of Merced County, is situated in the San Joaquin Valley of Central California. The city is located 110 miles southeast of San Francisco, 40 miles southeast of Modesto and 58 miles northwest of Fresno. Seated at the intersection of California State Highways 59, 99 and 140, Merced is serviced by the Merced Municipal Airport, which provides daily passenger service to Las Vegas and also accommodates several freight carriers.

Incorporated in 1889, the city was named after the nearby Merced River. Traditionally reliant on agriculture, the city's economy also benefited from the presence of Castle Air Force Base until its closure in 1995. Re-use of the former base has proceeded since that time, concurrent with an increase in industrial development and a diversification of local industry. In May of 1995, the city was selected as the home of the University of California Merced, the University's tenth campus.

Merced Area Attractions

Less than two hours by car from Yosemite National Park, Merced is often referred to as the "Gateway to Yosemite." The city and its immediate surroundings are also rich in attractions of their own. Some of these include:

  • Applegate Park and Zoo: A stopping point along the city's extensive bike trail network, the park features picnicking and a kid's amusement area.
  • Merced Courthouse Museum: An 1875 Courthouse listed on the National Register of Historical places.
  • Castle Air Museum (Atwater): Impressive collection of planes includes more than 40 vintage military issue aircraft from World War II to present.
  • Agricultural Museum: Includes antique farm equipment, horse-drawn buggy displays, and a working blacksmith shop.
  • Castle Science and Technology Center (Atwater): Includes numerous hands-on exhibits.
  • Laura Fountain: Originally erected in 1888 and relocated to Applegate Park in 1935.
  • Farmer's Market Festival: A downtown event held every Thursday evening from the spring through the fall.
  • Merced Theatre.
  • Playhouse Merced.


Total Population 81,120
Male Share of the Population 48.8%
Female Share of the Population 51.2%
Senior Citizens 9.5%
Employed Population 16+ 27,788
Age of the Population 29


% of people married 40.6%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 16.9%
Median Earnings25+ $27,162
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $17,394
Median Earnings With High School Degree $26,177


Median Family Income $40,970
% Above Poverty Level 68.1%
% Below Poverty Level 31.9%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 22 minutes
% Working from Home 3.7%
% Walking and Biking to Work 2.6%
% Using Public Transportation 1.8%


People Living Alone 22.2%
Median Gross Rent $839
Median House Value $158,100


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 77.5%
US/American 0%
English 3.4%
Irish 3.2%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Merced Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 54 miles NW of Fresno, California
County Merced
Metro Area Merced
Standard Zip Codes 95340, 95348
P.O. Box Zip Codes 95341, 95342, 95344
Company Zip Codes 95343
Phone Area Codes 209
Time Zone Pacific (-8 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 37.302
Longitude -120.481

Merced Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Station MERCED
Distance 2.3 miles
Jan Temp 38 to 55 F
Apr Temp 45 to 75 F
Jul Temp 61 to 97 F
Oct Temp 48 to 81 F
Annual Precip 12.5 inches
Station TURLOCK #2
Distance 24.4 miles
Jan Temp 39 to 54 F
Apr Temp 49 to 73 F
Jul Temp 62 to 93 F
Oct Temp 52 to 78 F
Annual Precip 12.4 inches
Distance 33.3 miles
Jan Temp 39 to 54 F
Apr Temp 49 to 72 F
Jul Temp 64 to 94 F
Oct Temp 54 to 78 F
Annual Precip 8.3 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Atwater 28,858 $46,237
Chowchilla 18,384 $35,751
Dos Palos 5,068 $34,334
Livingston 13,611 $52,902
Turlock 70,596 $60,604

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Merced Public Libraries

Merced County Library
2100 O ST.
Merced, California
(209) 385-7484

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Merced Hospitals

(Government - Local)
301 E 13TH ST
(209) 724-1557
Emergency Service: Yes

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Merced High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

A Title I School.
Serves 2,531 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 23.9

A Title I School.
Serves 2,331 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 24.3

A Non-traditional School
Serves 694 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 20.7

632 W. 13TH ST.
A Special Education School
Serves 424 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 6.8

50 E. 20TH ST.
A Non-traditional School
A Title I School.
Serves 269 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 25.4

1900 G ST.
A Non-traditional School
Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 161 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 13.9

A Non-traditional School
Serves 80 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 16

632 W. 13TH ST.
A Non-traditional School
Serves 51 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 25.5

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