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 now the 46th biggest city in the state of California and the 204th largest within the US. It was ranked the 3rd fastest growing city in California and the 19th fastest growing city within the United States in the year 2007. The city is situated within 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.
The town of Visalia was founded in 1852, and is considered to be the first permanent inland settlement between Los Angeles and Stockton in the Sequoia Valley. Located a few miles away is the tallest mountain range in the United States, the Sierra Nevada. Visalia is likewise the nearest city to the Sequoia National park. Giant Sequoia trees, one of the biggest living things on earth, could be found here.
The economy in Visalia generally consists of agriculture, in particular: olives, grapes, cotton, citrus, and nursery products. What's more, driving the economy are the distribution, manufacturing and livestock facilities (mostly electronic and paper products). The fastest growing employer base is in the light manufacturing and commercial/industrial distribution sectors.
According to the 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top ten of the employers of the city consist of City of Visalia, County of Tulare, Cigna, Jo-Anns Stores, College of Sequoias, International Papers, Kaweah Delta Medical Centre, and Visalia Medical Clinic.
The one drawback of living in Visalia is its proximity to the Pacific Ring of Fire. Each year, about 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. Luckily, nearly all are too low of an intensity to be felt. Almost all areas in the San Joaquin Valley are at risk to blind thrust earthquakes. Several parts of the city are vulnerable to floods.