California City, California

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City of California City
West side of California City Central Park
West side of California City Central Park
Official seal of City of California City
Location in Kern County and the state of California
Location in Kern County and the state of California
Coordinates: 35°07′33″N 117°59′09″W / 35.12583°N 117.98583°W / 35.12583; -117.98583Coordinates: 35°07′33″N 117°59′09″W / 35.12583°N 117.98583°W / 35.12583; -117.98583
Country  United States
State  California
County Kern
Incorporated December 10, 1965[1]
 • Mayor Patrick Bohannon[2]
 • State Senator Jean Fuller (R)[3]
 • State Assembly Steve Fox (D)[4]
 • U. S. Congress Kevin McCarthy (R)[5]
 • Total 203.631 sq mi (527.401 km2)
 • Land 203.523 sq mi (527.122 km2)
 • Water 0.108 sq mi (0.279 km2)  0.05%
Elevation[7] 2,405 ft (733 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 14,120
 • Density 69/sq mi (27/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 93504-93505
Area code(s) 760
FIPS code 06-09780
GNIS feature IDs 1660418, 2409960

California City is a city incorporated in 1965 in the northern Antelope Valley in Kern County, California. The population was 14,120 at the 2010 census, up from 8,385 at the 2000 census.

California City has one landowners' resort, one PGA golf course, one prison, and one municipal airport. Much of the workforce of Edwards Air Force Base, which is located just to the south of the city, is made up of city residents.

Other major sources of employment include California City Correctional Center, Silver Saddle, Mojave Air and Space Port and its flight test operations, the new Hyundai/Kia Proving Grounds located to its southwest, and nearby cities such as Tehachapi, Ridgecrest, Boron, Palmdale, and Lancaster.

California City is 65 miles (105 km) southwest of Death Valley National Park.

Typical temperatures range from about 33 °F (1 °C) (average low in December) to about 97 °F (36 °C) (average high in July).



The area where California City now exists was largely uninhabited prior to the last half century. Padre Francisco Garcés, a Franciscan missionary, camped at Castle Butte in what is now California City in 1776 during the Juan Bautista de Anza expedition of Arizona and California.

In the late 19th century, the Twenty Mule Team Trail, which carried loads of borax to the railhead in Mojave from Harmony Borax Works mines in the east, ran through the California City area.[8]


Closer to the denser core of California City, about two miles from Central Park.

California City had its origins in 1958 when real estate developer and sociology professor Nat Mendelsohn purchased 80,000 acres (320 km2) of Mojave Desert land with the aim of master-planning California's next great city. He designed his model city, which he hoped would one day rival Los Angeles in size, around a Central Park with a 26-acre (11 ha) artificial lake. Growth did not happen anywhere close to what he expected. To this day a vast grid of crumbling paved roads, intended to lay out residential blocks, extends well beyond the developed area of the city. Satellite photos show how it stakes its claim to being California's 3rd largest geographic city, 34th largest in the US. California City was incorporated in 1965.

In spite of the areas of California City that haven't developed, California City has grown from 3,200 people in 1985 to over 14,000 in 2009. Cerro Coso Community College closed escrow on 22 acres (89,000 m2) in the heart of California City for a Community College to serve Edwards AFB, California City, Mojave, Boron, North Edwards and the entire high desert in the Antelope Valley.

The first post office opened in 1960.[9]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 203.6 square miles (527 km2), of which 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) or 0.05% is water. Although one of California's smaller cities in terms of population, California City is the third largest city in California by land area (34th in the United States, and 21st when consolidated city-counties are excluded).


Climate data for California City, CA
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 58
Average low °F (°C) 34
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.34
Source: The Weather Channel[10]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1970 1,309
1980 2,743 109.5%
1990 5,955 117.1%
2000 8,385 40.8%
2010 14,120 68.4%
Est. 2012 13,260 [11] −6.1%
US Census[12]


According to the census[13] of 2000, there were 8,385 people, 3,067 households, and 2,257 families residing in the city. As of 2006 the city's population grew 8.9% from 12,106 to 13,219. California City outpaced rivals Palmdale and Lancaster, making the city the 12th fastest growing city in California. This also made California City the fastest growing city in the Antelope Valley. The population density was 41.2 inhabitants per square mile (15.9 /km2). There were 3,560 housing units at an average density of 17.5 /sq mi (6.8 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 68.19% White, 12.82% Black or African American, 1.56% Native American, 3.73% Asian, 0.32% Pacific Islander, 7.43% from other races, and 5.94% from two or more races. 16.96% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,067 households out of which 39.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.8% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.4% were non-families. 21.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.15.

In the city the population was spread out with 30.7% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 10.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 99.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $45,735, and the median income for a family was $51,402. Males had a median income of $44,657 versus $28,152 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,902. About 12.5% of families and 17.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.0% of those under age 18 and 12.4% of those age 65 or over.

Only 807 workers lived and worked in California City in 2006. This was 24.3% of the city's population. 31% of the male population were public administrators in 2006. Public administration is the most common job in California City. *

Although the growth of the city has not met its founders' expectations, California City has seen substantial population growth over the past several years. The Demographic Research Unit of the California Department of Finance estimates California City's population at 12,048 as of 1 January 2006. California City's population increased an estimated 4.2% in 2005, over three times the growth rate of the state as a whole. California City currently ranks 345th out of 478 incorporated cities in California, up from 348th in 2005.[14]

In the 2004 Presidential election, 67% voted for the Republican candidate, and 33% voted for the Democratic candidate.


The 2010 United States Census[15] reported that California City had a population of 14,120. The population density was 69.3 people per square mile (26.8/km²). The racial makeup of California City was 9,188 (65.1%) White, 2,150 (15.2%) African American, 132 (0.9%) Native American, 367 (2.6%) Asian, 59 (0.4%) Pacific Islander, 1,431 (10.1%) from other races, and 793 (5.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5,385 persons (38.1%).

The Corrections Corporation of America prison on the east side of town with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Marshals Service contracts, contains 2,304 prisoners, almost entirely of Hispanic ethnicity, which are included in the U.S. Census Bureau statistics.[16]

The Census reported that 11,506 people (81.5% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 2,614 (18.5%) were institutionalized.

There were 4,102 households, out of which 1,611 (39.3%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 1,980 (48.3%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 630 (15.4%) had a female householder with no husband present, 287 (7.0%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 335 (8.2%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 22 (0.5%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 949 households (23.1%) were made up of individuals and 312 (7.6%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.80. There were 2,897 families (70.6% of all households); the average family size was 3.30.

The population was spread out with 3,449 people (24.4%) under the age of 18, 1,294 people (9.2%) aged 18 to 24, 4,617 people (32.7%) aged 25 to 44, 3,570 people (25.3%) aged 45 to 64, and 1,190 people (8.4%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.8 years. For every 100 females there were 144.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 160.1 males.

There were 5,210 housing units at an average density of 25.6 per square mile (9.9/km²), of which 2,474 (60.3%) were owner-occupied, and 1,628 (39.7%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 8.3%; the rental vacancy rate was 22.5%. 6,584 people (46.6% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 4,922 people (34.9%) lived in rental housing units.

Law enforcement statistics[edit]

The crime index for 2006 was 267.1[17] (239.8 was the national average).[citation needed] There were 15 full-time law enforcement officers. There were two murders in 2006.

Public safety[edit]

California City has its own police and fire departments.


  1. ^ "California Cities by Incorporation Date" (Word). California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions. Retrieved April 12, 2013. 
  2. ^ "City Government". City of California City. Retrieved April 12, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Senators". State of California. Retrieved April 12, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Members Assembly". State of California. Retrieved April 12, 2013. 
  5. ^ "California's 23rd Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved April 12, 2013. 
  6. ^ U.S. Census
  7. ^ "California City". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. 
  8. ^ W. Deaver, Mojave's History, Accessed 3 September 2006
  9. ^ Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Quill Driver Books. p. 1010. ISBN 9781884995149. 
  10. ^ "Monthly Averages for California City, CA". The Weather Channel. 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-05. 
  11. ^ E-1 Population Estimates for Cities, Counties and the State. California Department of Finance. January 1, 2011 and 2012. Accessed: 05-03-2012.
  12. ^ Historical Census Populations of Counties and Incorporated Cities in California, 1850–2010. California Department of Finance. Accessed: 03-12-2012.
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  14. ^ California Department of Finance, Population Estimates for Cities, Counties and the State with Annual Percent Change, Accessed 3 September 2006
  15. ^ All data are derived from the United States Census Bureau reports from the 2010 United States Census, and are accessible on-line here. The data on unmarried partnerships and same-sex married couples are from the Census report DEC_10_SF1_PCT15. All other housing and population data are from Census report DEC_10_DP_DPDP1. Both reports are viewable online or downloadable in a zip file containing a comma-delimited data file. The area data, from which densities are calculated, are available on-line here. Percentage totals may not add to 100% due to rounding. The Census Bureau defines families as a household containing one or more people related to the householder by birth, opposite-sex marriage, or adoption. People living in group quarters are tabulated by the Census Bureau as neither owners nor renters. For further details, see the text files accompanying the data files containing the Census reports mentioned above.
  16. ^
  17. ^

External links[edit]