Merced County (/m?r's?d/ m?r-SED), is a county located in the northern San Joaquin Valley section of the Central Valley, in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 255,793. The county seat is Merced. The county is named after the Merced River. Merced County comprises the Merced, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Modesto-Merced, CA Combined Statistical Area. It is located north of Fresno County and Fresno, and southeast of Santa Clara County and San Jose.