240,162 (provided by the State of California, Department of Finance, May 2005); The County's population is ethnically diverse and there are opportunities to enjoy the different cultures of the residents.
Established in 1855, the County of Merced celebrated its sesquicentennial anniversary in 2005.
Merced County is located in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, the world's most productive agricultural area, and spans from the coastal ranges to the foothills of Yosemite National Park.
With the central location in the state, coupled with good highways, train, bus, and air service, travel to the San Francisco Bay Area of the picturesque resorts of Monterey and Carmel takes about two hours. Lake Tahoe and Reno are within a four-hour drive.
Agricultural-related industries are a major source of employment, along with food processing, retailing, and light manufacturing.
The City of Merced is the County seat and offers a small community atmosphere, residential neighborhoods characterized by wide, tree-lined streets, and homes in a wide economic range with the average three bedroom home available for $340,000.
Residents enjoy summer temperatures averaging 95°F and winters averaging 55°F.
The higher education system also provides cultural and social influence throughout the County. Higher education institutions include Merced College and the University of California - Merced.
The County of Merced, with an operating budget exceeding $450 million, is one of the area's major employers with a workforce of over 2,210 serving a diverse ethnic population.