What's it like to live in Fresno, CA?

Profile written by local expert:

Lloyd Gardner

Fresno started out as a small stop along the Central Pacific Railroad, but it blossomed into a magnetic metropolis that draws agriculture-minded people from around the world. The metro area is surrounded by Fresno County's farms, which produce a variety of organic foods, from almonds and pistachios to tomatoes and peaches.

But the area isn't just a haven for farmers. Fresno attracts residents with its diverse job market, inexpensive housing and array of cultural attractions.

A venture inside this central California region reveals a multitude of unique cultural surprises. The Tower District is famous for its artsy Rogue Festival, classic car show, film festival and lineup of restaurants that plate various cuisines. The minor league Fresno Grizzlies hit homers to the cheers of loyal fans downtown, while beloved events like the Kearney Renaissance Faire take place on Fresno’s west side. 

See all the best places to live in California.


U.S. News analyzed 150 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Fresno, California is ranked:

#142 in Best Places to Live

#145 in Best Places to Retire

#10 in Best Places to Live in California

#14 in Most Expensive Places to Live




Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
  • Value
  • Job Market
  • Quality of Life
  • Net Migration

Read how we rank places

Fresno, CA Quick Stats

  • 978,130

    Metro Population

  • $47,340

    Average Annual Salary

  • 76.7° / 51.9°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 32.0

    Median Age

  • $261,233

    Median Home Price

  • 11.5 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 7.2%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $967

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 22.6 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What is there to do in Fresno, CA?

Housing costs have triggered a population growth that has prompted the development of new recreational areas, nightlife venues and an eclectic dining scene.

Parks are peppered throughout Fresno, and the San Joaquin River, which runs along the metro region’s northern boundary, is another place to enjoy natural beauty. Just 20 miles north of the area is Millerton Lake, a popular recreational area with fishing, boating and picnic areas. 

What's the cost of living in Fresno, CA?

Affordability is one of Fresno’s most attractive assets. The cost of living and median home sale price are below the state average, though housing costs are slightly higher than the national average.

Looking for financial advice? Find a local financial advisor in Fresno, California.

Value Index

Index Score: 4.7 /10

How we calculate this.

Fresno offers a lower value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs 2019



Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Fresno, CA.

What's the weather like in Fresno, CA?

Fresno’s climate is typical of the San Joaquin Valley: hot summers and relatively mild (albeit rainy) winters. The Tule fog, common to the central valley, is especially thick on winter mornings. 

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)









Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

2.2 in


2.0 in


0.2 in


1.1 in


Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Fresno, CA?

Although there is public bus service throughout the area, Fresno is a car-oriented region. Parts of Fresno are walkable, however.

Fresno Yosemite International Airport is the nearest airport, and it services eight airlines that connect to larger airports. Amtrak trains and Greyhound buses service Fresno as well. 

Commuting in Fresno, CA

Means of Transportation
Above national average

Equal to national average

Equal to national average

Public Transit
Below national average
Average Commute Time

22.6 minutes

4.0 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Fresno, CA?

Rapid economic growth has created a vibrant community that’s attracting both young singles and family oriented, upwardly mobile professionals. As a result, Fresno’s population skews young.

Many people are attracted to the Fresno area for its low cost of living and diverse job opportunities. However, the metro area also exhibits a noticeable wage gap.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown

More single people in Fresno than
national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.