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Community and Regional Planning Center

San Joaquin Valley from space

At a glance

The San Joaquin Valley extends 250 miles from San Joaquin County in the North to Kern County in the South. There are 8 counties in the San Joaquin Valley: Fresno, Madera, Merced, Kern, Kings, Stanislaus, San Joaquin, and Tulare. Within the 8 counties there are 62 cities, 123 census designated places, and 443 unincorporated areas.

A closer look

The San Joaquin Valley is home to a culturally diverse population of more than 4 million people, with more than 70 different ethnicities and 105 spoken languages. The current population makes up 10 percent of the state, with an expected growth at twice the rate of state population growth through 2050. By this date, the region is expected to grow to 5.4 million people, an estimated 26 percent of California's population.

  • Chronic poverty and high unemployment rates.The share of families in poverty in the San Joaquin Valley grew from 15.1 percent in 2006 to 19.7 in 2012, compared to 9.7 percent and 12.9 percent for the state, respectively. Some farming communities in the San Joaquin Valley have unemployment rates reaching 40 percent, and family poverty rates reaching 35 percent.
  • Educational employment. The share of workforce with a bachelor's degree or higher in the San Joaquin Valley was 16.3 percent in 2012. The equivalent for California was 30.9 percent.
  • Disadvantaged communities. California Environmental Protection Agency has identified 30 "Disadvantaged Communities" (DACs) in California to receive targeted investment from cap-and-trade funds through Senate Bill 535. A DAC is a community with a median household income less than 80 percent of the statewide average. 23 out of 30 DACs are located within the 8 county region of the San Joaquin Valley.

Most commercial development has occurred within proximity to State Rout 99 (SR 99), one of California's primary arterial corridors, and Interstate 5 (I-5). However, San Joaquin Valley residents have found a niche in developing over 27,000 square miles into one of the most agriculturally fertile regions in the world. Farming communities are found 10 to 50 miles east and west of SR 99 and I-5.

The San Joaquin Valley major industries are agriculture, manufacturing, public infrastructure, water technology, healthcare, advanced communications, logistics and distribution, and clean energy.


 Photo • View of San  Joaquin Valley from space • Courtesy of NASA

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