The Greater Visalia Area is a metropolitan statistical area in Central California known officially by the United States Census Bureau as the Visalia-Porterville metropolitan statistical area. With a population estimated at 410,874, it is the sixth largest metropolitan statistical area in California's expansive Central Valley, following Sacramento, Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton, and Modesto. Statewide it is ranked 15th in population, while it is the 114th largest metro area (MSA) in the United States.
Visalia is the main regional center with a vibrant downtown and a strip known as Mooney Boulevard, which includes 2 indoor malls and numerous big-box shopping centers.
The large population of the area is somewhat deceiving, as it is spread out among miles of farmland. Most of the population is centered in the Visalia-Tulare area, accounting for almost half of the entirety of the residents of the area. Porterville and Dinuba, the two other population centers, are a nearly 30 minute drive each in either direction from Downtown Visalia.
"The list of superlatives in Tulare County is amazing," said Don McEachern, CEO of North Star Communication Strategies. "You've got the tallest mountain, the largest tree and the most milk production of any county in the nation. And no one knows about it."
It is important to note that this name does not designate "Sequoia Valley" as separate from the San Joaquin Valley. It simply designates the area around Visalia-Porterville as a distinct community.