|City of Chowchilla|
|— City —|
|Madera County and the state of California|
|• Total||7.661 sq mi (19.842 km2)|
|• Land||7.661 sq mi (19.842 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2) 0%|
|Elevation||240 ft (73 m)|
|• Density||2,400/sq mi ( 940/km2)|
|Time zone||Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
|GNIS feature ID||0277601|
Chowchilla is a city in Madera County, California, United States. Chowchilla is located 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Madera, at an elevation of 240 feet (73 m). It is a principal city of the Madera–Chowchilla Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 18,720 at the 2010 census, up from 11,127 at the 2000 census. The city is the location of two California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation facilities, the Central California Women's Facility and Valley State Prison. The name "Chowchilla" is derived from the indigenous American tribe of Chauchila (the spelling is inconsistent in reference guides) Yokut Indians which once lived in the area. The name itself evidently translates as "Murderers" and is apparently a reference to the warlike nature of the Chauchila tribe. The Chauchila Indians were inadvertently responsible for the first white men "discovering" Yosemite Valley, which occurred when they were being pursued by a band of whites. References to the tribe still abound in Chowchilla, and the town's high school still retains the moniker of "Redskins" as their local mascot.
1976 bus kidnapping 
Chowchilla made national news on July 15, 1976, when 26 students and their bus driver were kidnapped from a bus and held in a buried moving van at a quarry in Livermore, California. The driver and some of the students were able to escape and notify the quarry guard. All the victims returned unharmed. The quarry owner’s son and two friends were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Chowchilla is located at .
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14,815 acres, all of it land.
The climate of Chowchilla is Mediterranean. Chowchilla receives an average of about 12 inches of precipitation per year. The wettest months are January, February, and March with March being the wettest. Chowchilla has dry, hot summers, and mild to cool, rainy winters. Chowchilla experiences frequent fog from November to March and overcast days are common, especially in January. In 2005, Chowchilla had 20 consecutive cloudy, rainy days. There are days with moderate to heavy rain during the winter months. In January, the high temperature may drop as low as 45°F (9°C). During the summer, when there is usually no rain, the temperature may reach as high as 110°F (43°C). Snow in Chowchilla is rare.
Government and infrastructure 
The city is the location of two California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation facilities, the Central California Women's Facility and Valley State Prison. Central California Women's houses the state's female death row.
High-Speed Rail 
Recently, Chowchilla has been home to a multitude of expert young soccer players, Chowchilla High has been champions 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 for either Junior Varsity or Varsity. Since 2006 Chowchilla has a soccer teamed named Chowchilla Gladiators and they currently play in "CYSA" California Youth Soccer Association, and have been champions 3 times. For the 2010-2011 season they were named CYSA Central California Champions for the under 16 age group and as a recognition CYSA gave them each a medal saying "CYSA 2010-2011 Central California Champions". They also play tournaments in Las Vegas. Chowchilla Gladiators are linked up with the Chowchilla Union High soccer program and have a good relationship with the coaches. In 2013 the Chowchilla High School Varsity team were runners up in the California Central Section for their divsion, proving they were one of the best teams in Central California that year.
There are two school districts in Chowchilla. The Chowchilla School District serves grades Kindergarten through 8, and the Chowchilla Union High School District serves grades 9 through 12 at Chowchilla High.
The Chowchilla School District operates five schools, with student population distributed by grade level. Stephens School [Kindergarten], Fuller School [Grades 1 and 2], Ronald Reagan School [Grades 3 and 4], and Fairmead School [Grades 5 and 6] are elementary schools, and Wilson School [Grades 7 and 8] is the middle school.
There is also a private school, Chowchilla Seventh Day Adventist, serving K-8.
Notable Natives 
Ronald D. Moore, American screenwriter and television producer best known for his work on Star Trek and the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica television series.
Official population figures include inmates of both prisons.
As of the census of 2000, there were 11,127 people, 2,562 households, and 1,908 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,567.4 people per square mile (605.1/km²). There were 2,711 housing units at an average density of 381.9 per square mile (147.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 63.46% White, 10.26% Black or African American, 2.60% Native American, 1.32% Asian, 0.26% Pacific Islander, 16.16% from other races, and 5.94% from two or more races. 28.20% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 2,562 households out of which 40.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.3% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.5% were non-families. 21.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.94 and the average family size was 3.42.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.2% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 42.8% from 25 to 44, 16.2% from 45 to 64, and 9.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 51.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 39.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,729, and the median income for a family was $35,741. Males had a median income of $32,306 versus $20,538 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,927. About 16.5% of families and 19.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.1% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Chowchilla had a population of 18,720, including the prisons' inmates. The population density was 2,443.5 people per square mile (943.4/km²). The racial makeup of Chowchilla was 11,533 (61.6%) White, 2,358 (12.6%) African American, 376 (2.0%) Native American, 395 (2.1%) Asian, 37 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 3,313 (17.7%) from other races, and 708 (3.8%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7,073 persons (37.8%).
The Census reported that 11,311 people (60.4% of the population) lived in households, 6 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 7,403 (39.5%) were institutionalized.
There were 3,673 households, out of which 1,693 (46.1%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 1,932 (52.6%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 586 (16.0%) had a female householder with no husband present, 260 (7.1%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 275 (7.5%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 24 (0.7%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 721 households (19.6%) were made up of individuals and 293 (8.0%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.08. There were 2,778 families (75.6% of all households); the average family size was 3.52.
The population was spread out with 3,583 people (19.1%) under the age of 18, 2,048 people (10.9%) aged 18 to 24, 7,343 people (39.2%) aged 25 to 44, 4,429 people (23.7%) aged 45 to 64, and 1,317 people (7.0%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.7 years. For every 100 females there were 42.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 33.3 males.
There were 4,154 housing units at an average density of 542.2 per square mile (209.3/km²), of which 1,966 (53.5%) were owner-occupied, and 1,707 (46.5%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 6.2%; the rental vacancy rate was 7.9%. 5,920 people (31.6% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 5,391 people (28.8%) lived in rental housing units.
In the state legislature Chowchilla is located in the 14th Senate District, represented by Republican Tom Berryhill, and in the 25th Assembly District, represented by Republican Kristin Olsen. Federally, Chowchilla is located in California's 19th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +10 and is represented by Republican Jeff Denham.
- U.S. Census
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Chowchilla, California
- Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Quill Driver Books. p. 758. ISBN 9781884995149.
- "Update of Statistical Area Definitions and Guidance on Their Uses (OMB Bulletin 09 - 01)" (CSV). Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President. 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2008-12-17.
- Chowchilla Calif school bus kidnapping - The Crime Library - The Crime library
- "Chowchilla city, California." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on May 10, 2010.
- "History of Capital Punishment in California." California Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 16, 2010. "All male prisoners on condemned status are housed at a maximum-security custody level in three units at San Quentin State Prison. Females are housed in a maximum-security unit at Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla."
- Chowchilla Elementary School District Website
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- All data are derived from the United States Census Bureau reports from the 2010 United States Census, and are accessible on-line here. The data on unmarried partnerships and same-sex married couples are from the Census report DEC_10_SF1_PCT15. All other housing and population data are from Census report DEC_10_DP_DPDP1. Both reports are viewable online or downloadable in a zip file containing a comma-delimited data file. The area data, from which densities are calculated, are available on-line here. Percentage totals may not add to 100% due to rounding. The Census Bureau defines families as a household containing one or more people related to the householder by birth, opposite-sex marriage, or adoption. People living in group quarters are tabulated by the Census Bureau as neither owners nor renters. For further details, see the text files accompanying the data files containing the Census reports mentioned above.
- "Will Gerrymandered Districts Stem the Wave of Voter Unrest?". Campaign Legal Center Blog. Retrieved 2007-10-20.
- From Sun to Darkness — The Chowchilla Kidnapping
- Madera Online - News for Madera & Chowchilla
- Chowchilla City Website