Hanford is an important commercial and cultural center in the south central San Joaquin Valley and is the county seat of Kings County, California. It is the principal city of the Hanford-Corcoran, California Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA Code 25260), which encompasses all of Kings County, including the cities of Hanford and Corcoran. The ZIP Code is 93230 (93232 for post office boxes). The city of Hanford is surrounded by communities that do not fall within the city limits but use the same zip code. These communities include Grangeville, Hardwick and Home Garden.
The population was 41,686 at the 2000 census. However, the California Department of Finance estimates that the population had grown to 52,687 as of January 1, 2009.. By 2010 Hanford will have estimate population of 54,286 and by 2020 it will have 70,177 with Kings county having 198,700 residents.
Hanford is located at It is situated in the south central portion of California's San Joaquin Valley, 28 miles (45 km) SSE of the city of Fresno, at an elevation of 249 feet (76 m) above sea level. The terrain is level. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.1 square miles (33.9 km²), all of which is land not covered by water. The only natural watercourse is Mussel Slough, remnants of which still exist on the city's western edge. The Kings River is about 6.5 miles (10.5 km) north of Hanford. The People's Ditch, an irrigation canal dug in the 1870s, traverses Hanford from north to south.(36.3275, -119.6457).
Hanford has a climate typical of that of the San Joaquin Valley floor with hot, dry summers and cool winters characterized by dense Tule fog. The rainy season occurs from November through April. The average annual rainfall over the ten years from 1997/98 through 2006/07 was 8.97 inches (228 mm). -On average, the warmest month is July.
-The highest recorded temperature was 116°F in 1933.
-On average, the coolest month is December.
-The lowest recorded temperature was 15°F in 1990.
-The maximum average precipitation occurs in March.
The National Weather Service Forecast Office for the San Joaquin Valley is located in Hanford and includes a Doppler weather radar. Weather forecasts and climatological information for Hanford and the surrounding area are available from its official website.
The Hanford area was inhabited by the Tachi Yokut Indians for several thousand years prior to Euro-American contact. They occupied areas along watercourses such as creeks, springs and seep areas (such as sloughs), along perennial and seasonal drainages, as well as flat ridges and terraces. Therefore, the areas along streams are considered likely locations for prehistoric cultural resources. Permanent villages were usually placed on an elevation above the seasonal flood levels. Surrounding areas were used for hunting and seed, acorn, and grass gathering.
Hanford is named for James Madison Hanford, a railroad executive, after the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks were laid through a sheep camp in the year 1877. According to History of Kings County : "It was but a short step from sheep-camp to village and with the railroad as an attraction the village flourished and became a town within a few historic months."
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 km) northwest of Hanford that left seven men dead. This event became famous as the Mussel Slough Tragedy.
Several times, major fires destroyed much of the young community's business district. The need for fire protection led to the town becoming an incorporated city in 1891.
An electrical generating plant was built in 1891 by pioneering flour miller H.G. Lacey, bringing the first electric lights to the city. The Lacey Milling Company was still operating in Hanford in 2009.
When Kings County was created in 1893 from the western part of Tulare County, Hanford became its county seat.
A second railroad was laid through Hanford in 1897, which today is the main north-south line of the BNSF Railway through the San Joaquin Valley. The original east-west Southern Pacific Railroad branch line is now operated by the San Joaquin Valley Railroad.
In 1901, a restaurant called the Star opened on Sixth Street across from the Southern Pacific tracks. The Star Restaurant was still doing business at the same location in 2009.
Saloons flourished in Hanford's early days despite an anti-saloon movement until the town voted to become "dry" in 1912, eight years before nationwide Prohibition in the United States took effect.
As of the 2000 census, there were 41,686 people, 13,931 households, and 10,378 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,184.4 people per square mile (1,229.6/km²). There were 14,721 housing units at an average density of 1,124.5/sq mi (434.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 64.06% White, 5.01% Black or African American, 1.36% Native American, 2.85% Asian, 0.18% Pacific Islander, 20.80% from other races, and 5.73% from two or more races. 38.66% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Foreign-born residents accounted for 13.2% of Hanford's population and 28.3% spoke a language other than English at home.
There were 13,931 households out of which 42.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.9% were married couples living together, 15.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.5% were non-families. 20.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.93 and the average family size was 3.39.
In the city the population was spread out with 31.6% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 29.6% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 95.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.3 males.
Hanford is a major trading center serving the surrounding agricultural area. According to the California Employment Development Department, as of January 2007, most residents of the Hanford area were employed in services (29,200 employees), government (14,300 employees) and farming (7,600 employees) as well as in some manufacturing enterprises (3,400 employees).
The heavy industry sector has declined significantly over the past 20 years. An oil refinery formerly operated in the city under several different owners (Caminol Oil Co. from 1932-1967, Beacon Oil Co. from 1967-1982 and Ultramar Oil Co. from 1982-1987) until it permanently closed in 1987 . A tire manufacturing plant was built in 1962 by the Armstrong Rubber Co., which operated it until that company was purchased by the Italian manufacturer Pirelli, which eventually closed the factory in 2001. On December 11, 2007, the Hanford City Planning Commission approved construction of a plant that is expected to produce 60 million gallons (227 million liters) of ethanol per year for use as a gasoline additive and alternative fuel for vehicles. Most of the feedstock will be corn shipped from the Midwest. The proposed plant would be operated by Great Valley Ethanol LLC and was expected to open in 2010. However, in March 2009, the president of Great Valley Ethanol stated that difficulty in obtaining financing and the low price of gasoline had delayed the opening.
Major employers within the city of Hanford in 2006 included the Kings County government with 1,041 employees, the Adventist Health System with 857, the Hanford Elementary School District with 520, the Del Monte tomato cannery with 435 year-round and 1,500 seasonal employees and Marquez Brothers International, Inc., makers of Hispanic cheese and other dairy products. Many Hanford residents work for other nearby employers such as NAS Lemoore, the U.S. Navy's largest master jet base located 15.5 mi (25 km) WSW of Hanford and for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation which operates three state prisons in Kings County.
Hanford has not escaped the effects of the late 2000s recession. The unemployment rate in August 2009 in Kings County as a whole was 14.2%, up from 10.1% in July 2008.
According to the United States Census Bureau, median household income in Hanford was USD 37,582 and 17.3% of the population was living below the poverty line in 1999, including 23.6% of those under age 18 and 6.0% of those age 65 or over. The median income for a household in the city was USD 37,582, and the median income for a family was USD 41,395. Males had a median income of USD 37,120 versus USD 25,971 for females. The per capita income for the city was USD 17,504.
The homeownership rate was 59% in 2000.