- El Centro, California
official_name = El Centro, California
mapsize = 250x200px
map_caption = Location in Imperial County and the state of
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Imperial
area_total_km2 = 24.9
area_total_sq_mi = 9.6
area_land_km2 = 24.8
area_land_sq_mi = 9.6
area_water_km2 = 0.1
area_water_sq_mi = 0
elevation_ft = -39
elevation_m = -12
population_as_of = 2000
population_total = 37835
population_density_km2 = 1519.5
population_density_sq_mi = 3941.1
timezone = Pacific (PST)
utc_offset = -8
latd = 32 |latm = 47 |lats = 17 |latNS = N
longd = 115 |longm = 33 |longs = 29 |longEW = W
timezone_DST = PDT
utc_offset_DST = -7
postal_code = 92243-92244
area_code = 760
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 06-21782
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 1656501
El Centro is the
county seatof Imperial County, California, United Statesand the largest city in the Imperial Valley, the region east of San Diego. It is also the largest U.S. city to lie entirely below sea level (- 50 feet). It is the core urban area and principal city of the 'El Centro, California Metropolitan Statistical Area' which encompasses all of Imperial County. It is home to retail, transportation, wholesale, and agricultural industries. "El Centro" is Spanish, and means "the center". The city's population was 37,835 at the 2000 census. The 2006 population is 40,563.
El Centro is located at coor dms|32|47|17|N|115|33|29|W|city (32.788139, -115.557966)GR|1.
According to the
United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.6 square miles (24.9 km²), of which, 9.6 square miles (24.8 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it is water.
Originally part of San Diego County, the Imperial Valley was settled by farmers once water from the Colorado River was diverted via canals to irrigate the desert valley floor. By 1907 Imperial County was incorporated into California and by then much of the valley was successfully irrigated. Agriculture (fertile and high productive farms, food processing and shipping industries) remains a stable economic factor in El Centro and the Imperial Valley.
The first settlers to erect the current town were railroad employees in "tent cities" or temporary sheet tents, but in the 1910s they constructed permanent dwellings along the rail tracks and the settlement, originally named "Worthington" for a prominent local Barbara Worth Fact|date=June 2008 (the former US Highway/
County Route S80was named the "Barbara Worth Highway" for her) became "El Centro" in the 1920 US census, later made the county seat.
Population growth was slow, but accelerated in the 1930s, again in the
World War IIera (1940s) despite the city was hard hit by a 7.1 earthquakein July 1940, and the city's population doubled in size during the 1950s to over 10,000 residents in 1960.
After a period of economic decline in the 1990s, El Centro has managed to rebound as a place for affordable housing and economic opportunities brought by the
North American Free Trade Agreement(NAFTA) agreement beginning in 1994.
ites of interest
Algodones Dunes, the largest dune field in the US, draw thousands of visitors each year, mainly for off-road driving. The Salton Sealies 30 miles north of El Centro, but water sports enthuasiasts head to the Colorado River50 miles to the east near Yuma, Arizona. The El Centro Naval Air Station10 miles to the west is home to the annual Blue Angelsflight maneuvering event. Mexico (the border city of Mexicali, Baja California) is 10 miles away, which offers big city amentities like museums, a zoo and a sports convention center.
El Centro has an arid climate and is the southern-most desert city in the US with an elevation below sea-level. El Centro has over 350 days of sunshine and under convert|3|in|mm of rain annually. Winter temperatures are in the mid 70s to mid 80s with over-night lows in the low 50s to mid 40s. During summer days, the dry, desert heat can push temperatures well into the 100s, while the nights stay in the low 80s to mid 70s. Average annual humidity is 24%.
As of the
censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 37,835 people, 11,439 households, and 8,910 families residing in the city. The population densitywas 3,950.2 people per square mile (1,524.9/km²). There were 12,263 housing units at an average density of 1,280.3/sq mi (494.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 46.86% White, 3.16% Black or African American, 0.98% Native American, 3.50% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 41.68% from other races, and 3.73% from two or more races. 74.58% of the population were Hispanicor Latino of any race.
There were 11,439 households out of which 47.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.9% were married couples living together, 18.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.1% were non-families. 18.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.23 and the average family size was 3.71.
In the city the population was spread out with 33.6% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 18.5% from 45 to 64, and 9.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.5 males.
incomefor a household in the city was $33,161, and the median income for a family was $36,910. Males had a median income of $36,753 versus $24,514 for females. The per capita incomefor the city was $13,874. About 20.6% of families and 22.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.5% of those under age 18 and 14.8% of those age 65 or over.
El Centro has one of California's highest percentages of
Latinos, due to historic immigration from and cultural presence of Mexico. The surrounding Imperial Valley also has a Hispanic majority.
The city also has large numbers of
African-Americans than per capita of other California cities, and Asian-Americans (such as Chinese, Filipinos, Koreans, Indians, Pakistanis and Sri Lankans) whom are descendants of farm laborers and railroad employees.
However, the ratio of residents living in poverty is above state and national average, and the decline in significance of the Imperial Valley's agricultural economy has made the situation worse.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of September 30, 2008 El Centro had a 24.7% unemployment rate, the highest for a Metropolitan Area in the country.
In the state legislature El Centro is located in the 40th Senate District, represented by Democrat
Denise Moreno Ducheny, and in the 80th Assembly District, represented by Republican Bonnie Garcia. Federally, El Centro is located in California's 51st congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +7 [cite web | title = Will Gerrymandered Districts Stem the Wave of Voter Unrest? | publisher = Campaign Legal Center Blog | url=http://www.clcblog.org/blog_item-85.html | accessdate = 2007-10-20] and is represented by Democrat Bob Filner.
Famous people from El Centro
Jerry Belson(screen writer/producer)
Rudy Seanez(pitcher) currently for the Philadelphia Phillies
Dino Cazares(musician) guitarist for Fear Factory
Glenn Cadrez(NFL linebacker)
* [http://www.cityofelcentro.org/ City of El Centro website]
* [http://www.elcentrochamber.com/ El Centro Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau]
* [http://www.vibrationdata.com/elcentro.htm El Centro Earthquake 1940]
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