California State Route 99 bisects the city. SR-99 can be used to reach Delano from Fresno to the north and Bakersfield to the south.
The population was 52,088 in 2016, up from 38,824 in 2000. It is Kern County's second-largest city after Bakersfield. Agriculture is Delano's major industry. The area is particularly well-known as a center for the growing of table grapes. Delano is also home to two California state prisons, North Kern State Prison and Kern Valley State Prison. The Voice of America once operated its largest, most powerful shortwave broadcast facility outside Delano at 35°45′15″N 119°17′7″W. However, the Voice of America ceased broadcasts in October 2007, citing a changing political mission, reduced budgets, and changes in technology. Delano's two school districts currently operate eight elementary schools, three middle schools, three comprehensive high schools and two alternative high schools. The city has its own police department and contracts with the Kern County Fire Department for fire services, EMS services are privately provided by local company, Delano Ambulance Service. Delano was founded on July 14, 1869, as a railroad town, not because the railroad passed through the town but because the railroad coming down from San Francisco and parts north terminated at Delano.