Visalia is an agriculturally based city spanning 28.6 square miles. San Francisco is 230 miles northwest from the city and Los Angeles is 190 square miles south. The city, with a population of 125,921, is currently the 46th largest city in California and the 204th largest in the United State. It was ranked the 3rd fastest growing city in California and the 19th fastest growing city in the United States in 2007. The city is located in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley in Central California. Residents proudly refer to themselves as “Visalians”. Visalia is nicknamed the “Jewel of the Valley” and is considered to be the Gateway to the Sequoias.
Established in 1852, Visalia is considered to be the first permanent inland settlement between Stockton and Los Angeles in the Sequoia Valley. The Sierra Nevada, the tallest mountain range in the United States, is only a couple miles away from the city. Visalia is also the closest city to the Sequoia National park. Giant Sequoia trees, one of the largest living things on earth, can be found here.
The economy in Visalia mainly consists of agriculture, in particular: grapes, olives, cotton, citrus, and nursery products. Livestock, distribution, and manufacturing facilities (mostly electronic and paper products) are also a driving force in the cities economy. The fastest growing employer base is in the light manufacturing and industrial/commercial distribution sectors.
The 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report states that the top ten employers (not in order) in the city were Cigna, City of Visalia, County of Tulare, College of the Sequoias, International Paper, Jo-Ann Stores, Kaweah Delta Medical Centre, and Visalia Medical Clinic.
The one drawback of living in Visalia is its proximity to the Pacific Ring of Fire. Every year, approximately 10,000 earthquakes hit the Pacific Ring of Fire. While no major earthquakes have ever hit the city, it still suffers from some of the aftershocks. Fortunately, most are too low of an intensity to be felt. Almost all areas in the San Joaquin Valley are susceptible to blind thrust earthquakes. Some parts of the city are vulnerable to floods.
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