The Diocese of Fresno consists of 35,239 square miles of the San Joaquin Valley of California, a portion of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and some eastern valleys. The diocese is made up of eight counties including Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced and Tulare. The San Joaquin Valley is characterized by its agricultural base and is often referred to as the “bread basket” of the world due to the abundant agricultural products harvested in the region including milk, grapes, poultry, almonds, cotton, cattle and calves. However, the Valley’s population includes large populations of low-income laborers who are often following the crops and harvest from town to town. The region also has one of the largest concentrations of Laotian and Hmong refugees in the United States. In addition to being one of the largest rural and agricultural areas in the United States, the region is one of the most culturally diverse in California. The San Joaquin Valley residents represent over 70 ethnicities and speak approximately 105 languages.
Census data shows that the San Joaquin Valley holds some of the highest poverty rates in California. To help understand and describe the current circumstances facing San Joaquin Valley families, take a look at the data below.
People Living in Poverty table
Line graph from the 2019 Poverty Report for Fresno
Fresno data (table 1) from the 2019 Poverty Report
Fresno data (table 2) from the 2019 Poverty Report