El Centro, California

El Centro, California

Infobox Settlement
official_name = El Centro, California
settlement_type = City

imagesize =
image_caption =

imagesize =
image_caption =

mapsize = 250x200px
map_caption = Location in Imperial County and the state of California

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_name1 = California
subdivision_name2 = Imperial
government_type =
leader_title =
leader_name =
established_date =
area_magnitude =
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_footnotes =
population_total = 37835
population_metro =
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_type = ZIP codes
postal_code = 92243-92244
area_code = 760
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 06-21782
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 1656501
footnotes =
website =

El Centro is the county seat of Imperial County, California, United States and 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 S80 was 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 II era (1940s) despite the city was hard hit by a 7.1 earthquake in 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

The nearby Algodones Dunes, the largest dune field in the US, draw thousands of visitors each year, mainly for off-road driving. The Salton Sea lies 30 miles north of El Centro, but water sports enthuasiasts head to the Colorado River 50 miles to the east near Yuma, Arizona. The El Centro Naval Air Station 10 miles to the west is home to the annual Blue Angels flight 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 density was 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 Hispanic or 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.

The median income for 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 income for 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

*Cher (entertainer/actress)
*Jerry Belson (screen writer/producer)
*Ken Howard (actor)
*Donal Logue (actor)
*Rudy Seanez (pitcher) currently for the Philadelphia Phillies
*Dino Cazares (musician) guitarist for Fear Factory
*Glenn Cadrez (NFL linebacker)



External links

* [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]
*wikitravel|El Centro

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