Everywhere you look, you see the presence and influence of Latinxs in America. Especially in California, where Hispanics/Latinxs outnumber non-Latinx White residents. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, 39% of California residents are Latinx, while 36% are White.
Within state lines, there are cities, towns, and census-designated places that are over 95% Latinx, including Cantua Creek (98.9%), Mecca (98.7%), and Heber (98.2%), as well as those with Latinxs in large population numbers. To remind you of our collective power and presence within not only California but the entire U.S., we wanted to share 15 different cities and towns in the Golden State that have muchos Latinos.
It’s probably no surprise that Los Angeles is on this list. According to U.S. News, the City of Angels boasts a Hispanic population of 1.8 million (out of 3.8 million total) as of 2019. This means that almost half — 48.5% — of Hispanics call L.A. home.
A bit further south of L.A. is the sunny beach city of San Diego. According to the United States Census Bureau, 431,477 people of Hispanic descent live here. Some ways that you’ll experience Latinx culture in S.D. are in the celebration of Mexican food and drinks, the San Diego Latino Film Festival, and at the Centro Cultural de la Raza.
The next city on this list takes us up to the San Francisco Bay Area. San Jose, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, boasts 312,762 residents of Hispanic descent. Whether you’re shopping at the San Jose Flea Market, learning about how Cesar Chavez raised his family in the Mayfair neighborhood or checking out art at MACLA (Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana), you’ll see the influence and presence of Latinxs in so much of San Jose.
With its proximity to Mexico, Southern California has many cities and towns where many Latinxs live. One such city is Santa Ana. As of 2019, 258,913 people of Hispanic descent can be found there. Santa Ana is the birthplace of U.S. Representative Lou Correa and former Santa Ana mayor Miguel A. Pulido (among other notable people).
Oxnard is a city in Ventura County, located near agricultural fields where many migrant farmworkers are employed. The Hispanic population of Oxnard was 153,141 as of 2019. This Instagram post shows the workers as part of a call to support them during Farm Workers Week (March 25-31).
Salinas, California, is home to 127,756 Hispanics as of 2019. It is located in Monterey County and is known as “The Salad Bowl of the World” because of its agricultural industry. In fact, PBS News Hour reported that around 70% of America’s lettuce is grown in Salinas.
Latinx cities are cool; they’re even cooler when Latinxs also run them. In Downey, Mayor Claudia Brometa has been running the show since 2018. Other Latinx elected officials include Mayor Pro Tem Blanca Pacheco and Council Members Catherine Alvarez and Mario Trujillo. In 2019, Downey had 87,453 residents of Hispanic descent.
Pomona is the hometown of Jessica Alba, Melissa Barrera, and Norma Torres (among other notable people), who served as Pomona’s mayor, was a member of the California State Senate and is currently a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Los Angeles County city is the host of the Pomona Swap Meet & Classic Car Show and home of La Casa Primera de Rancho de San Jose and the Ygnacio Palomares Adobe. Pomona’s Hispanic population in 2019 was 109,319.
Imagine a city where the mayor and every member of the city council have Latinx surnames. That’s the awesome reality in Norwalk, a Los Angeles County city with 22,003 residents of Hispanic descent in 2009. There is Mayor Jessica Perez, Vice Mayor Tony Ayala, and Councilmembers Rick Ramirez, Margarita L. Rios, and Ana Valencia.
El Monte is another city in L.A. County with a large Latinx population (69,311 in 2009). In 2010, 69% of El Monte was Hispanic/Latino. Chicano rapper A.L.T., author Salvador Placencia, and actress Emily Rios have all called El Monte home. In these Instagram posts, El Monte residents are bonding together to protest and demand that detained immigrant children be released.
Another California city with many Latinx residents (132,110 in 2009) is Ontario, which is in San Bernardino County. Paul Leon, who is currently serving his second term, is the first Hispanic ever to be Ontario’s mayor. Another notable person in Ontario’s culture is Maria Alonso, Founder and Executive Director of the Huerta del Valle community garden.
Fontana, too, is in San Bernardino County. It boasts 151,452 residents of Hispanic descent as of 2019 and is a regional hub for the trucking industry. Baseball player Jesse Chavez, professional skateboarder Leo Romero, and Canadian football player Alexis Serna are some of the notable people that hail from Fontana.
San Bernardino is the county seat of San Bernardino County. In 2009, 139,940 Hispanics called this city home. So did these famous Latinxs: Chicana feminist Anna Nieto-Gomez; former WWE wrestler, bodybuilder, and fitness competitor Lisa Marie Varon; and speed skater (who won both gold and silver medals in the Olympics) Derek Parra.
Julieta Venegas. Gabriel Iglesias. Mario Lopez. Rey Misterio, Jr.; all of these big Mexican stars have ties to Chula Vista, California. The San Diego metropolitan area city was part of the Mexican Empire during the 1800s; as of 2009, it has a Hispanic population of 159,178. Two festivals you can attend in Chula Vista are the annual Lemon Festival (the city is known as the “Lemon Capital of the World”) and the Rose Festival, which honors St. Rose of Lima.
In 2009, 124,204 people of Hispanic descent called Moreno Valley, California, their home. Some ways these residents celebrate the culture(s) of the large number of Latinxs are the Cinco de Mayo festival, the Latino Film Festival, and El Grito de Independencia, which celebrates Mexican Independence Day.