Merced has a population of 86,750 people. The City is a Charter City that operates under the Council-Manager form of Government.
Incorporated in 1889, the City offers a rich and varied living environment with a unique blend of old and new. Merced's central core consists of a viable downtown shopping and financial-governmental center surrounded by several older well-maintained residential neighborhoods characterized by wide tree-lined streets, and exhibiting many structures of historical significance. Newer areas of the City offer many modern facilities and new housing developments. The City has homes in every economic range, dozens of churches, and excellent parks and schools including a modern community college. Fishing and water sports enthusiasts find many opportunities close at hand, with several streams and lakes located within easy driving distance.
Merced is less than two hours by car from Yosemite National Park to the east and to the west are picturesque Monterey Bay, the Pacific Ocean, and miles of fabulous beaches. Rail passenger service, a major airline, and two bus lines serve the community.