Kings County, California

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Kings County, California
County of Kings
Kings County Courthouse
Kings County Courthouse
Flag of Kings County, California
Official seal of Kings County, California
Location in the state of California
Location in the state of California
California's location in the United States
California's location in the United States
Country  United States of America
State  California
Region San Joaquin Valley
Metropolitan area Hanford-Corcoran
Formed 1893
County seat Hanford
Largest city Hanford (population)
Avenal (area)
 • Total 1,391.49 sq mi (3,603.9 km2)
 • Land 1,390.99 sq mi (3,602.6 km2)
 • Water 0.50 sq mi (1.3 km2)
Population (2013)
 • Total 150,479
 • Density 110/sq mi (42/km2)
Time zone Pacific Standard Time (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)

Kings County is a county located in the Central Valley of the U.S. state of California. It is situated in a rich agricultural region. Kings County is also home to NAS Lemoore, which is the U.S. Navy's newest and largest master jet air station. The county seat is Hanford. The United States Census Bureau defines Kings County as encompassing the entire Hanford–Corcoran Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA Code 25260). The population was 152,982 at the time of the 2010 U.S. Census. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the county's population included 18,640 state prison inmates as of March 31, 2010.[1] The California Department of Finance estimated that Kings County's population was 150,479 as of July 1, 2013.[2] The inmate population had been reduced to 14,542 by July 1, 2013.[3]


The area was inhabited for thousands of years by American Indians including the Tachi Yokuts tribe.[4] It was colonized by Spain, Mexico and the United States.

An 1805 expedition probably led by Spanish Army Lieutenant Gabriel Moraga recorded discovering the river, which they named El Rio de los Santos Reyes (River of the Holy Kings) after the Three Wise Men of the Bible.[5] At the time of the United States conquest in 1848, the new government changed the name to Kings River after which the county was named.[5]

In 1880, a dispute over land titles between settlers and the Southern Pacific Railroad resulted in a bloody gun battle on a farm 5.6 mi (9.0 km) northwest of Hanford; seven men died. This event became known as the Mussel Slough Tragedy.

Kings County was formed in 1893 from the western part of Tulare County.[5] In 1909, by an act of the state legislature, 208 square miles (540 km2) of Fresno County territory was added to the northwest portion of Kings County.[6]

Settlers reclaimed Tulare Lake and its wetlands for agricultural development. In surface area, it was formerly the largest body of freshwater west of the Great Lakes, and supported a large population of migratory birds as well as local birds and wildlife. Monoculture has sharply reduced habitat for many species.

In 1928, oil was discovered in the Kettleman Hills located in the southwestern part of Kings County. The Kettleman North Dome Oil Field became one of the most productive oil fields in the United States.[7]

In 1933 during the Great Depression, cotton pickers in the southern San Joaquin Valley, mostly migrant Mexican workers, went on strike. During the strike, 3,500 striking farm workers lived in a four-acre camp on the land of a small farmer on the outskirts of Corcoran. Ultimately, the federal government intervened to force both sides to negotiate a settlement.[8]

Lemoore Army Airfield was established for training and defense during World War II. In 1961, the U.S. Navy opened NAS Lemoore 9 miles (14 km) west of Lemoore, not far from the earlier site.

The completion of the California Aqueduct in the early 1970s brought needed water for agriculture and domestic use to the westside of the county.

Historic sites[edit]


According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 1,391.49 square miles (3,603.9 km2), of which 1,390.99 square miles (3,602.6 km2) (or 99.96%) is land and 0.50 square miles (1.3 km2) (or 0.04%) is water.[9]

Kings County is bordered on the north and northwest by Fresno County, on the east by Tulare County, on the south by Kern County and a small part of San Luis Obispo County and on the west by Monterey County.

Most of the historic Tulare Lake was within Kings County. Although reclaimed for farming late in the 19th century, it was the largest freshwater lake west of the Great Lakes.

Cities and towns[edit]

Rural communities[edit]

Proposed new city[edit]

Indian reservation[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Transportation infrastructure[edit]

Major highways[edit]

Public transportation[edit]

Kings Area Rural Transit (KART) operates regularly scheduled fixed route bus service, vanpool service for commuters and Dial-A-Ride (demand response) services throughout Kings County as well as to Fresno.[10]

Amtrak trains stop in Corcoran and Hanford.

Orange Belt Stages provides inter-city bus service to and from Hanford. Connections with Greyhound can be made in Visalia or Paso Robles.


Hanford Municipal Airport is a general aviation airport located just southeast of Hanford. The privately owned airport in Avenal is the home of the Central California Soaring Club.[11]


In the state legislature, Kings County is located in the 16th Senate District, which is represented by Republican Andy Vidak, and in the 32nd Assembly District, represented by Democrat Rudy Salas. Federally, Hanford is located in California's 21st congressional district and is represented by Republican David Valadao.

Voter registration statistics[edit]

Cities by population and voter registration[edit]


Kings County vote
by party in presidential elections
Year GOP DEM Others
2012 56.4% 17,671 41.4% 12,979 2.2% 701
2008 56.2% 19,710 42.1% 14,747 1.8% 618
2004 65.4% 21,003 33.7% 10,833 0.9% 274
2000 57.8% 16,377 39.0% 11,041 3.2% 917
1996 47.9% 12,368 43.6% 11,254 8.5% 2,193
1992 41.6% 10,673 38.9% 9,982 19.5% 4,996
1988 56.4% 12,118 42.6% 9,142 1.0% 222
1984 64.1% 13,364 35.1% 7,324 0.8% 160
1980 55.4% 10,531 38.4% 7,299 6.3% 1,191
1976 49.7% 8,263 48.4% 8,061 1.9% 318
1972 56.5% 10,509 39.1% 7,274 4.4% 812
1968 43.1% 7,796 47.8% 8,643 9.2% 1,662
1964 30.5% 5,753 69.4% 13,073 0.1% 14
1960 42.3% 6,991 57.1% 9,439 0.6% 92
1956 42.3% 6,195 57.5% 8,417 0.3% 40
1952 49.2% 7,708 50.1% 7,850 0.7% 113
1948 37.2% 4,289 60.0% 6,909 2.8% 323
1944 34.2% 3,468 65.0% 6,591 0.7% 75
1940 31.8% 3,911 67.4% 8,307 0.8% 102
1936 23.7% 2,226 75.1% 7,062 1.2% 116
1932 26.7% 2,009 69.1% 5,191 4.2% 318
1928 51.5% 2,947 47.2% 2,701 1.3% 73
1924 50.0% 2,812 19.7% 1,109 30.3% 1,693
1920 59.6% 2,806 34.1% 1,604 6.3% 297

In January 2008, the Kings County Clerk reported that of 45,444 registered voters, 21,685 were Republicans and 16,664 were Democrats.[14]

Kings has long been a strongly Republican county in Presidential elections. The last Democratic candidate for President to win the county was Hubert Humphrey in 1968.

Kings County is part of California's 21st congressional district, which is held by Republican David Valadao. The county is represented in the California State Senate by Republican Andy Vidak and in the California State Assembly by Democrat Rudy Salas.

In November 2008, Kings County voted 73.7% for Proposition 8 which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.


The economy is based on agriculture. The gross value of all agricultural crops and products produced during 2012 in Kings County was $2,215,014,000.[15] Other important employers include NAS Lemoore, the U.S. Navy's largest master jet base, a Del Monte Foods tomato processing plant, Adventist Health, the J. G. Boswell Company, an Olam International tomato processing facility, Leprino Foods, the largest mozzarella cheese maker in the world, the Kings County Government and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation which operates three state prisons in Kings County.[16]

In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that the median household income in the county was $44,020 and that 29,606 residents, 22.5% of the population, were below the poverty line. Furthermore, an estimated 29.7% of children under age 18 lived in poverty.[17] In 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, average per capita income was $29,407 in Kings County compared with $43,647 in California as a whole.[18] According to the California Department of Finance, in 2012 the median household income was $45,935 and 17.3% of households were below the poverty line.[19]

The homeownership rate was 54.2% at the time of the 2010 census.[20] According to Zillow Real Estate Research, an estimated 24% of homeowners in the county owned their homes free and clear in the third quarter of 2012.[21]

Taxable sales in 2011 totaled $1.32 billion.[22]

Kings County did not escape the effects of the Great Recession. The unemployment rate in May 2012 was 14.9%, up from 10.1% in July 2008. The rate had dropped to 12.5% in November 2013. However, it was back up to 15.0% in February 2014. The ongoing California drought is a factor that is increasing unemployment in the agricultural sector.[23] According to the California Employment Development Department, as of December 2012, civilian employment totaled 53,100 and an additional 8,900 people were unemployed. Many residents of Kings County were employed in services (31,900 persons, including 14,800 government employees) and agriculture (5,500 employees) as well as in some manufacturing enterprises (4,300 employees) and construction (1,000 employees).[24] Median household income fell over 8% from an estimated $48,419 in 2007 to $44,506 in 2009 according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Jeffrey Michael, director of the Business Forecasting Center at the University of the Pacific, stated in an October 2010 newspaper interview that nearly half of Kings County's personal earnings come from government jobs, which pay more than agricultural employment. From 2007 to 2009, government jobs held steady while the county's agricultural sector took the biggest hit. Kings County's dairy industry dropped from $670 million in milk sold in 2008 to $411 million in 2009 - a 39% drop.[25] By mid-2009, the price paid to milk producers had dropped to a point that was far below the cost of production according to a July 2009 quote from Bill Van Dam, CEO of the Alliance of Western Milk Producers.[26] By December 2010, milk prices had increased to about $13 per hundredweight from a low of below $10 in 2009. However, the price of corn used for feed had increased because of its use by the ethanol industry. Van Dam was quoted that month as saying that at current prices, dairy operators are at or close to the break-even point.[27] By the summer of 2012, it was reported that despite a milk price of about $15 per hundredweight, the rising cost of cattle feed had caused many dairy farmers to sell all or part of their herds and even file for bankruptcy.[28]


The following table includes the number of incidents reported and the rate per 1,000 persons for each type of offense.

Cities by population and crime rates[edit]



Places by population, race, and income[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 9,871
1910 16,230 64.4%
1920 22,031 35.7%
1930 25,385 15.2%
1940 35,168 38.5%
1950 46,768 33.0%
1960 49,954 6.8%
1970 64,610 29.3%
1980 73,738 14.1%
1990 101,469 37.6%
2000 129,461 27.6%
2010 152,982 18.2%
Est. 2012 151,364 −1.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[37]
2012 Estimate[38]

The 2010 United States Census reported that Kings County had a population of 152,982. The census included inmates of the three men's state prisons. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, there were 18,640 inmates in Kings County prisons on March 31, 2010, which was 12.2% of the population.[1] The racial makeup of Kings County was 83,027 (54.3%) White, 11,014 (7.2%) African American, 2,562 (1.7%) Native American, 5,620 (3.7%) Asian, 271 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 42,996 (28.1%) from other races, and 7,492 (4.9%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 77,866 persons (50.9%).[39]

The U.S. Census does not identify how many residents are undocumented immigrants. However, the Public Policy Institute of California issued a report in July 2011, which estimated there were 9,000 illegal immigrants living in Kings County in 2008, which would be 5.8% of the county’s population.[40]


As of the 2000 census, there were 129,461 people, 34,418 households, and 26,983 families residing in the county. However, the California Department of Finance estimates that the population had grown 154,434 as of January 1, 2008.[41] The population density based on the 2000 census was 36/km² (93/sq mi). There were 36,563 housing units at an average density of 26 per square mile (10/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 53.7% White, 8.3% Black or African American, 1.7% Native American, 3.1% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 28.3% from other races, and 4.8% from two or more races. 43.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 7.1% were of Portuguese, 6.2% German, 5.3% Irish and 5.1% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 63.6% spoke English, 30.9% Spanish, 1.4% Tagalog, 1.4% Portuguese and 1.3% Samoan as their first language.

There were 34,418 households out of which 46.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.0% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.6% were non-families. 17.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.18 and the average family size was 3.56.

In the county the population was spread out with 29.0% under the age of 18, 11.8% from 18 to 24, 35.0% from 25 to 44, 16.8% from 45 to 64, and 7.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years in 2000, which had increased to 31.1 by the time of the 2010 census.[20] For every 100 females there were 134.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 148.8 males. The ratio may be attributed to the presence of three men's state prisons in the county.


Kings County has a large annual celebration held each May called Kings County Homecoming Week.[42]


Kings County is a general law county under the California Constitution. That is, it does not have a county charter. The county is governed by a five-member Board of Supervisors. Supervisors are elected by districts for four-year terms. There are no term limits in effect. The Chairman and Vice-Chairman are elected annually by the Board of Supervisors from among its members. On January 7, 2014, the Board elected Supervisor Joe Neves as Chairman and Supervisor Richard Fagundes as Vice-Chairman to serve during 2014. Other Supervisors include Tony Barba, Richard Valle and Doug Verboon.[43]

The Board of Supervisors appoints a County Administrative Officer. Currently, that office is held by Larry Spikes.[44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Percentage of registered voters with respect to total population. Percentages of party members with respect to registered voters follow.
  2. ^ Only larceny-theft cases involving property over $400 in value are reported as property crimes.
  3. ^ Other = Some other race + Two or more races
  4. ^ Native American = Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander + American Indian or Alaska Native


  1. ^ a b accessed November 20, 2011
  2. ^ accessed December 26, 2013
  3. ^ accessed December 26, 2013
  4. ^ accessed March 17, 2013
  5. ^ a b c Hoover, p. 132
  6. ^ Brown, Robert L. (1940). History of Kings County. A. H. Cawston. p. 53. 
  7. ^ Brown, Robert L. (1940). History of Kings County. A. H. Cawston. p. 123. 
  8. ^ Weber, Devra (1994). Dark Sweat. White Gold: California Farm Workers, Cotton and the New Deal. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California: University of California Press. pp. 79–111. ISBN 0-520-20710-6. 
  9. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  10. ^ accessed 5-9-10
  11. ^ accessed 1-13-08
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B02001. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q California Secretary of State. February 10, 2013 - Report of Registration. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  14. ^ Hanford Sentinel, January 13, 2008
  15. ^ 2012 Kings County Crop Report
  16. ^ accessed November 25, 2012
  17. ^ U.S. Census, Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates accessed December 5, 2011
  18. ^ Fresno Bee, November 27, 2012
  19. ^ Hanford Sentinel, November 8, 2013
  20. ^ a b Fresno Bee, May 15, 2011
  21. ^ accessed January 21, 2013
  22. ^ accessed December 26, 2013
  23. ^ accessed April 13, 2014
  24. ^$pds.pdf accessed January 20, 2013
  25. ^ Hanford Sentinel, October 2–3, 2010
  26. ^ Hanford Sentinel, July 11, 2009
  27. ^ Hanford Sentinel, December 18, 2010
  28. ^ Fresno Bee, August 19, 2012
  29. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Office of the Attorney General, Department of Justice, State of California. Table 11: Crimes – 2009. Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  30. ^ a b c United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Crime in the United States, 2012, Table 8 (California). Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  31. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B03003. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  32. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19301. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  33. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19013. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  34. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19113. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  35. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  36. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B01003. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  37. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  38. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  39. ^ "2010 Census P.L. 94-171 Summary File Data". United States Census Bureau. 
  40. ^ accessed July 30, 2011
  41. ^ California Department of Finance, Table E-2, California County Population Estimates and Percent Change, Revised July 1, 2000 through Provisional July 1, 2006
  42. ^ accessed 5-9-10
  43. ^ accessed January 11, 2014
  44. ^ accessed 1-13-08

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°04′N 119°49′W / 36.07°N 119.81°W / 36.07; -119.81