Imperial, California

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Imperial, California
City of Imperial
City Hall for Imperial.jpg
Worthington Square Apartments.jpg
Top:Imperial City Hall ;
Bottom: Worthington Square Imperial
Official seal of Imperial, California
Location of Imperial in Imperial County, California.
Location of Imperial in Imperial County, California.
Imperial, California is located in the United States
Imperial, California
Imperial, California
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 32°50′51″N 115°34′10″W / 32.84750°N 115.56944°W / 32.84750; -115.56944Coordinates: 32°50′51″N 115°34′10″W / 32.84750°N 115.56944°W / 32.84750; -115.56944[1]
CountryUnited States
IncorporatedJuly 12, 1904[2]
 • MayorKarin Eugenio[3]
 • City6.29 sq mi (16.29 km2)
 • Land6.29 sq mi (16.29 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)  0%
Elevation−59 ft (−18 m)
 • City14,758
 • Estimate 
 • Density2,880.76/sq mi (1,112.18/km2)
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code442/760
FIPS code06-36280
GNIS feature IDs1652726, 2410097

Imperial is a city in Imperial County, California, 4 miles (6.4 km) north of El Centro.[7]

As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 14,758. It is part of the El Centro metropolitan area. In 2016 Imperial was the fourth fastest-growing city in the state, gaining 4.1 percent more residents from January 1, 2015, to January 1, 2016. It compares to Imperial County's growth of 1.3 percent and Brawley's growth of 1.2 percent.


Downtown Imperial Business Center (at the intersection of what is now Imperial Avenue and Barioni Blvd.) circa 1913

Imperial was created by the Imperial Land Company[8] and was named by George Chaffey.[7] Imperial's first post office opened in 1901.[7] Imperial incorporated in 1904. The first mayor of Imperial was Allison Peck.[7]

The town-site of Imperial was plotted in 1902 for home and commercial businesses. Its first buildings included a printing press, drug store, grocery store, brick building, and church. The city can also boast of having the first school in the valley and the first Chamber of Commerce.

The City of Imperial was incorporated July 12, 1904 thus being the first city in the valley to incorporate. The city was originally thought to become the county seat, but lost out to the City of El Centro in 1907.

Imperial through the years became the location for the home of the Imperial Irrigation District, the California Mid-Winter Fair and the Imperial County airport. Also several businesses were established in the city. Imperial was devastated by earthquakes in 1916 and 1940. An earthquake in 1979 destroyed many of the old buildings in the downtown business area, including City Hall. Re-building of the business district was slow for many years.

June 2014 a McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma crashed in a residential area.[9] The pilot ejected safely.[9]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.9 square miles (15 km2), all land. Imperial is located in the Imperial Valley (considered locally as synonymous with Imperial County). The city is 59.5 feet (18.14 m) below sea level. The Imperial Valley is in the Colorado Desert, an extension of the larger Sonoran Desert.

The agriculture industry's demand for water is supplied by canals diverting water from the nearby Colorado River. The Salton Sea was created after a 1905 flood from the Colorado River.[10]

In this region, the geology is dominated by the transition of the tectonic plate boundary from rift to transverse fault. The southernmost strands of the San Andreas Fault connect the northernmost extensions of the East Pacific Rise. Consequently, the region is subject to earthquakes, and the crust is being stretched, resulting in a sinking of the terrain over time.


Imperial has a hot desert climate, featuring long, extremely hot summers and mild winters. Imperial averages just about 3 inches of rain annually, most of it falling in December. The North American Monsoon typically increases the humidity from July through September. At times, the climate can resemble that of tropical areas in the Caribbean. This leads to daily thunderstorms that can bring hail, downpours, lightning, and dust storms more commonly known as Haboob. During the eastern Pacific hurricane season, hurricanes occasionally track up the Baja California Peninsula and bring remnants of Tropical Storms through the desert that can result in flash flooding and heavy widespread thunderstorms. This can lead to significantly higher than normal precipitation, at times bringing heavy rain in short periods of time. The precipitation in the winter months is predominantly rain showers from the occasional winter storms. At times these storms bring cold temperatures to Imperial and surrounding cities, and mountain snowfall to the nearby mountains. Snow is almost totally unknown in the city, except for trace amount on December 12, 1932, and a very brief fall of sleet mixed with hail during a shower in December 1967. On average there are about 11 days that dip into the mid to lower 30s. In January, the normal high temperature is 67 degrees with a low of 39. In July, the normal high temperature is 105 degrees with a low of 77.[11][citation needed]

Climate data for Imperial, CA
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 96
Average high °F (°C) 67.8
Average low °F (°C) 39.4
Record low °F (°C) 14
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.45


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)18,120[6]22.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]


The 2010 United States Census[13] reported that Imperial had a population of 14,758. The population density was 2,519.9 people per square mile (973.0/km2). The racial makeup of Imperial was 9,298 (63.0%) White, 331 (2.2%) African American, 154 (1.0%) Native American, 370 (2.5%) Asian, 13 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 3,783 (25.6%) from other races, and 809 (5.5%) from two or more races. The ethnic makeup of Imperial was 11,046 (74.8%) Hispanic or Latino of any race.

The Census reported that 14,727 people (99.8% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 31 (0.2%) were institutionalized.

There were 4,405 households, out of which 2,464 (55.9%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 2,669 (60.6%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 697 (15.8%) had a female householder with no husband present, 255 (5.8%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 268 (6.1%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 27 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 621 households (14.1%) were made up of individuals, and 181 (4.1%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.34. There were 3,621 families (82.2% of all households); the average family size was 3.69.

The population was spread out, with 4,927 people (33.4%) under the age of 18, 1,376 people (9.3%) aged 18 to 24, 4,618 people (31.3%) aged 25 to 44, 2,881 people (19.5%) aged 45 to 64, and 956 people (6.5%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29.9 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.3 males.

There were 4,751 housing units at an average density of 811.2 per square mile (313.2/km2), of which 4,405 were occupied, of which 3,130 (71.1%) were owner-occupied, and 1,275 (28.9%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 4.5%; the rental vacancy rate was 4.5%. 10,692 people (72.4% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 4,035 people (27.3%) lived in rental housing units.


As of the census of 2000, there were 8,100 people, 2,308 households, and 1,911 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,932.2 people per square mile (746.5/km2). There were 2,385 housing units at an average density of 609.6 per square mile (235.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 58.5% White, 2.7% Black or African American, 0.8% Native American, 2.7% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 30.9% from other races, and 4.3% from two or more races. 61.1% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,308 households, out of which 53.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.9% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.2% were non-families. 14.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.3 and the average family size was 3.6.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 35.3% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 33.8% from 25 to 44, 16.8% from 45 to 64, and 6.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $49,451, and the median income for a family was $53,053. Males had a median income of $37,373 versus $27,778 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,538. About 8.9% of families and 11.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.2% of those under age 18 and 5.2% of those age 65 or over.

Aerial over Imperial/HWY 86

Arts and culture[edit]

Mid-Winter Fair in Imperial

The annual California Mid-Winter Fair takes place in Imperial, often in February, and receives over 100,000 visitors.[citation needed]

The California Mid-Winter Fairgrounds is located in the heart of Imperial. The Mid-Winter Fair is the county's largest attended event. The fair lasts for a total of 10 days and is held at the end of February or beginning of March each year. The fairgrounds will host other events during the year such as; festivals, barbecues, car races, concerts, trade shows, and private parties. Visitors are from nearby Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico and numerous "snowbirds" across Southern California and the country (U.S.) temporarily reside in Imperial.

Imperial is also home to the Imperial Market Days.

Imperial Market Days is a signature, sponsorship funded event series put on by the City of Imperial to promote quality of life opportunities locally and throughout the Imperial Valley. Starting in October, the events take place in Downtown Imperial. These events are free for the public to attend. The synergy between local businesses and the community has attracted record crowds of up to 13,000 people throughout the region. Over 100 vendors participate in each event. [1]


In the California State Legislature, Imperial is in the 40th Senate District, represented by Democrat Ben Hueso,[14] and the 56th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Eduardo Garcia.[15]

In the United States House of Representatives, Imperial is in California's 51st congressional district, represented by Democrat Juan Vargas.[16]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Imperial". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  2. ^ "California Cities by Incorporation Date". California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions. Archived from the original (Word) on November 3, 2014. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  3. ^ "City Council". City of Imperial, CA. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  4. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  5. ^ "Imperial (city) QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 26, 2015. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 1430. ISBN 1-884995-14-4.
  8. ^ Harry Thomas Cory; William Phipps Blake (1915). The Imperial Valley and the Salton Sink. San Francisco: John J. Newbegin. p. 1258. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  9. ^ a b "US military Harrier jet crashes into California homes". BBC News. June 5, 2014. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  10. ^ "An Unbelievable Man-Made Disaster That Almost Could Not Be Undone". Retrieved August 3, 2009.
  11. ^ "Imperial, CA Monthly Weather Forecast". The Weather Channel. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  12. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  13. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Imperial city". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  14. ^ "Senators". State of California. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  15. ^ "Members Assembly". State of California. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  16. ^ "California's 51st Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  17. ^ Garrigues, George (January 1, 2006). He Usually Lived With a Female: The Life of California Newspaperman Charles Harris (Brick) Garrigues. Los Angeles: Quail Creek Press. ISBN 978-0963483010.
  18. ^ McGroarty, John Steven (1933). "Hon. Ben Hulse". California of the South. Volume V. Clarke Publ. pp. 243–244. |volume= has extra text (help)

External links[edit]