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Chowchilla is a city in Madera County, California, United States. It is part of the Madera, California Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 11,127 at the 2000 census.
The name "Chowchilla" is derived from the Native American tribe of Chauchila (the spelling is inconsistent in reference guides) Yokut Indians which once lived in the area. The Chauchila Indians were inadvertently responsible for the first white men "discovering" Yosemite Valley, which occurred when the Chauchila Indians were being pursued by a band of whites. References to the Indian tribe still abound in Chowchilla, and the town's sole high school still retains the moniker of "Redskins" as their local mascot.
As of the census of 2000, there were 11,127 people, 2,562 households, and 1,908 families residing in the city. The population density was 605.1/km˛ (1,567.4/mi˛). There were 2,711 housing units at an average density of 147.4/km˛ (381.9/mi˛). The racial makeup of the city was 63.46% White, 10.26% Black or African American, 2.60% Native American, 1.32% Asian, 0.26% Pacific Islander, 16.16% from other races, and 5.94% from two or more races. 28.20% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 2,562 households out of which 40.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.3% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.5% were non-families. 21.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.94 and the average family size was 3.42.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.2% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 42.8% from 25 to 44, 16.2% from 45 to 64, and 9.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 51.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 39.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,729, and the median income for a family was $35,741. Males had a median income of $32,306 versus $20,538 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,927. About 16.5% of families and 19.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.1% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.