Visalia (/vaɪˈseɪliə/ vy-SAYL-ee-ə) is a city situated in the agricultural San Joaquin Valley of California, about 230 mi (370 km) southeast of San Francisco, 190 mi (310 km) north of Los Angeles, 36 mi (58 km) west of Sequoia National Park, and 43 mi (69 km) south of Fresno. The population was 136,246 as of a 2018 U.S. Census Bureau estimate.
Visalia is irregularly shaped and covers a total area of 36.3 sq mi (94 km), of which 36.3 square miles (94 km) are land and 0.05% is covered by water. Visalia is located at 36°19’27” North, 119°18’26” West (36.324100, −119.307347).
The highest point in the Visalia–Porterville area is Mount Whitney. Located at the far reaches of the Sierra Nevada roughly 58 miles east of the city, it reaches a height of 14,505 ft (4,421 m). The hilliest parts of the Visalia area are the Venice Hills and the entire Sierra Nevada foothills east of the city. Four main streams run through the city. The major stream is the St. John’s River, which begins at the diversion dam in the Kaweah River and is largely seasonal. The others are Mill Creek, Cameron Creek, and Packwood Creek. Many smaller creeks also flow through the city. The Friant-Kern Canal runs just east of the city along the western edge of the Sierra Nevada foothills.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Visalia had a population of 124,442. The population density was 3,431.4 people per square mile (1,324.9/km²). The racial makeup of Visalia was 80,203 (64.5%) White, 2,627 (2.1%) African American, 1,730 (1.4%) Native American, 6,768 (5.4%) Asian, 164 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 27,249 (21.9%) from other races, and 5,701 (4.6%) from two or more races. There were 57,262 people (46.0%) people of Hispanic or Latino origin, of any race.
The Census reported that 123,116 people (98.9% of the population) lived in households, 606 (0.5%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 720 (0.6%) were institutionalized.
There were 41,349 households, out of which 18,102 (43.8%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 21,219 (51.3%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 6,508 (15.7%) had a female householder with no husband present, 2,909 (7.0%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 3,282 (7.9%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships. 8,383 households (20.3%) were made up of individuals and 3,330 (8.1%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.98. There were 30,636 families (74.1% of all households); the average family size was 3.42.
The population was spread out with 37,406 people (30.1%) under the age of 18, 12,461 people (10.0%) aged 18 to 24, 33,922 people (27.3%) aged 25 to 44, 27,779 people (22.3%) aged 45 to 64, and 12,874 people (10.3%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31.6 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.1 males.
There were 44,205 housing units at an average density of 1,218.9 per square mile (470.6/km²), of which 25,380 (61.4%) were owner-occupied, and 15,969 (38.6%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.6%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.7%. 73,980 people (59.4% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 49,136 people (39.5%) lived in rental housing units.
According to the 2006–2008 American Community Survey, the racial composition of Visalia was as follows:
African Americans make up 2.2% of Visalia’s population. According to the survey, there were 2,574 African Americans residing in Visalia.
Native Americans make up 0.7% of Visalia’s population. According to the survey, there were 827 Native Americans residing in Visalia.
Asian Americans make up 5.0% of Visalia’s population. According to the survey, there were 5,762 Asian Americans residing in Visalia. The seven largest Asian American groups were the following:
Pacific Islander Americans make up 0.1% of Visalia’s population. According to the survey, there were 138 Pacific Islander Americans residing in Visalia.
Multiracial Americans make up 2.9% of Visalia’s population. According to the survey, there were 3,350 multiracial Americans residing in Visalia. The four main multiracial groups were the following:
Hispanics and Latinos make up 40.6% of Visalia’s population. According to the survey, there were 47,251 Hispanics and Latinos residing in Visalia. The four main Hispanic/Latino groups were the following:
White Americans make up 84.0% of Visalia’s population. According to the survey, there were 97,735 White Americans residing in Visalia. Much of the European American population is of German, Irish, English, Italian, Russian, Polish, and French descent.
According to the 2006–2008 American Community Survey, the top ten European ancestries were the following:
The 2000 census recorded 91,565 people, 30,883 households, and 22,901 families residing in the city, with a population density of 3,203.8 people per square mile. There were 32,658 housing units. As of the 2000 US Census, the racial distribution in Visalia was 54.9% White American, 2.3% African American, 6.0% Asian American, 2.4% Native American, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 20.3% from other races, and 4.2% from two or more races. 35.6% of the population was Hispanic or Latino (of any race).
The census indicated that 70.9% spoke English, 12.1% Spanish, 1.0% Lahu, 0.8% Mien, 0.7% Hmong, 0.6% Laotian and 0.5% Tagalog as their first language.
According to the census, 41.1% of households had children under 18, 54.9% were married couples, 14.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.8% were non-families. 20.7% of households were made up of individuals and 8.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.91 and the average family size 3.37.
The age distribution was: 31.3% under 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 10.9% who were 65 or older. The median age was 32. For every 100 females, there were 99.4 males. For every 100 females aged 18 and over, there were 88.9 males.
The median income for a household was $53,975, and for a family was $61,823. Males had a median income of $46,423, females $34,265. The per capita income was $23,751. 14.8% of the population and 13.2% of families were below the poverty line. 21.4% of those under the age of 18 and 9.4% of those aged 65 or older were below the poverty line.