Delano (pronounced deh-LAY-noh) is a small city in Kern County, California, United States. Delano is located 31 miles (50 km) north-northwest of Bakersfield at an elevation of 315 feet (96 m). The population was 38,824 at the 2000 census. As of 2009, Delano's population is estimated to be 53,972. It is Kern County's second largest city after Bakersfield.
Agriculture is Delano's major industry. The area is particularly well known as a center for the growing of table grapes. Delano is also home to two California state prisons, North Kern State Prison and Kern Valley State Prison. The Voice of America once operated its largest, most powerful shortwave broadcast facility outside Delano at . However, the Voice of America ceased broadcasts in October 2007, citing a changing political mission, reduced budgets, and changes in technology.
Delano's two school districts currently operate eight elementary schools, three middle schools, three comprehensive high schools and two alternative high schools. The city has its own police department and contracts with the Kern County Fire Department for fire and paramedic services. Delano maintains a "sister city" relationship with the town of Arida, Wakayama, Japan.
Delano was founded on July 14, 1873 as a railroad town. The name was officially given by the Southern Pacific Railroad in honor of Columbus Delano, at the time the Secretary of the Interior for the United States. The first post office opened in 1874. Delano incorporated in 1915.
Delano was a major hub of farmworker organization efforts and Chicano movement politics. On September 8, 1965, Larry Itliong and other Filipino leaders led the predominantly Filipino Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) in a "walk off" from table grape farms, now known as the Delano grape strike. The strikers' goal was to improve farmworkers' wages and working conditions. The National Farm Workers' Association (NFWA), a largely Hispanic union led by Cesar Chavez, joined with strike within a week. During the strike, the two groups joined forces and formed the United Farm Workers of America (UFW). By 1970, the UFW won a contract with major grape growers across California. Delano is also known as "Crow Town" because of the many crows that roam there.
Delano is located at.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.2 square miles (26.3 km²); 10.1 square miles (26.2 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.49%) is water.
Delano's climate is characteristic of the San Joaquin Valley. The weather is hot and dry during the summer and cool and damp in winter, when frequent ground fog known regionally as "tule fog" can obscure vision. Record temperatures range between 115°F (2006) and 14°F (1990). Delano is located within a semidesert climatic zone, receiving 5.72 inches of rainfall annually.
As of the census of 2000, there were 38,824 people, 8,409 households, and 7,248 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,484.2/km² (3,842.1/mi²). There were 8,830 housing units at an average density of 337.6/km² (873.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 26.16% White, 5.45% Black or African American, 0.91% Native American, 15.88% Asian (primarily Filipino), 0.06% Pacific Islander, 47.07% from other races, and 4.47% from two or more races. 68.47% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 8,409 households out of which 56.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.3% were married couples living together, 18.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 13.8% were non-families. 10.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 4.02 and the average family size was 4.27.
In the city the population was spread out with 32.5% under the age of 18, 12.4% from 18 to 24, 32.7% from 25 to 44, 14.9% from 45 to 64, and 7.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females there were 129.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 143.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $28,143, and the median income for a family was $29,026. Males had a median income of $38,511 versus $21,509 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,068. About 25.7% of families and 28.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 35.3% of those under age 18 and 20.7% of those age 65 or over.