Exeter is located on State Highway 65, 2 miles (3.2 km) south of Highway 198 and 15 miles (24 km) east of Highway 99. Exeter is within a 3 to 4 hour drive of both Los Angeles and San Francisco, and 30 minutes from the entrance to Sequoia National Park.
Situated in the middle of California’s agricultural heartland the great San Joaquin Valley, one of the world’s most fertile valleys, Exeter is known for its oranges, citrus, deciduous fruits, nuts and table grapes.
National recognition was given to Exeter in 2000 as “One of America’s Prettiest Painted Places”. Professional artists depicting the history and culture of the area have painted huge murals on exterior walls throughout the downtown area. There are currently 21 murals in this outdoor art gallery and more are planned.
The public school system in Exeter consists of: Exeter Union High School (9-12), Wilson Middle School (6-8), Rocky Hill Elementary (3-5), Lincoln Elementary (K-2) and Kaweah High School (a continuation high school). The 1999-2000 enrollment was: grades K-8, 1,936 and grades 9-12, 1101 students.
Exeter’s population is over 10,347. Exeter has a variety of antique stores, specialty shops, services, restaurants and lodging. Exeter has a long tradition of annual events and festivals.
Elevation : 350–575 feet (110–180 m) above sea level
Average rainfall : 11.47 inches (291 mm)
Before the arrival of European settlers, Native Americans settled an area in an oak forest two miles north of Exeter. The town site was a plain that possessed elk, antelope and deer.
The town site traces its roots the construction of a railroad lines through the San Joaquin Valley, by 1888 a line passed through the area. A representative of the Southern Pacific Railroad, D.W. Parkhurst, purchased the land from an early settler, John Firebaugh, and formed the town which he named after his own hometown of Exeter, England.
After water supplies were established, agriculture grew in the surrounding areas and drove the growth of the community. Cattle ranching also grew, led by the Gill Cattle Company, which opened in the late 1800s and was once the largest such business in the United States.
Professional artists depicting the history of the area have painted huge murals on exterior walls throughout the downtown area. There are currently 28 murals in this outdoor art gallery and more are planned.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.2 square miles (5.8 km²), all of it land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 9,168 people, 3,001 households, and 2,325 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,110.9 people per square mile (1,587.3/km²). There were 3,168 housing units at an average density of 1,420.5/sq mi (548.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 69.73% White, 0.69% African American, 1.47% Native American, 1.30% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 23.20% from other races, and 3.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 38.25% of the population.
There were 3,001 households out of which 45.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.6% were married couples living together, 15.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.5% were non-families. 18.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.02 and the average family size was 3.43.
In the city the population was spread out with 33.7% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 26.8% from 25 to 44, 18.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 92.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $33,738, and the median income for a family was $37,033. Males had a median income of $32,308 versus $27,371 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,795. About 14.2% of families and 19.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.8% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.
In the state legislature Exeter is located in the 18th Senate District, represented by Republican Roy Ashburn, and in the 34th Assembly District, represented by Republican Bill Maze. Federally, Exeter is located in California's 21st congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +13 and is represented by Republican Devin Nunes. The current mayor is Leon Ooley.