Where expectations aren't met... They're exceeded!!
CALIFORNIA CITY IS THE 3RD LARGEST CITY IN CALIFORNIA, AND
THE FASTEST GROWING CITY IN THE ANTELOPE VALLEY
According to the Antelope Valley Press, May 2, 2007, California City outgrew all but 11 cities in California in 2006,
out pacing Lancaster and Palmdale, and grew 8.9% in 2006, from 12,056 to 13,123, making it California’s 12th
fastest-growing municipality, according to the California Department of Finance. California City now ranks as the
fastest growing city in the Antelope Valley.
California City lies north of Mojave and south of Ridgecrest, in the Kern County portion of the Antelope Valley just 90
minutes north of Los Angeles. The California City limits run east to Highway 395, south to Highway 58 and west to the
14 Freeway. California City is the third largest city in California, encompassing 204 square miles or 130,200 acres. It
has an elevation of approximately 2,400 feet above sea level. California City has been undergoing significant
change. More people are moving into California City, because they have discovered affordable housing prices,
excellent weather, and clean air, good schools, safe streets, shopping, a Central Park and a professionally designed
PGA 18-hole golf course.
California City also has an evolving and diverse business base. One of the more recent additions is the $60 million
dollar, 4300-acre Hyundai - KIA Proving Grounds, which recently opened in California City. The Proving Grounds
include a 6.4-mile oval track, a 2 million square-foot Vehicle Dynamics Area (VDA), a 2.75-mile winding track, a 3.3-
mile hill road, and various special surface roads constructed to duplicate U.S. highways. The facility also includes a
30,000 square-foot office complex for its staff members. “The Hyundai-Kia Motors California Proving Grounds will
ensure that Hyundai and Kia continue to develop the highest quality vehicles,” said Dong Jin Kim, Vice Chairman of
Hyundai Motor Company. “Hyundai and Kia are committed to the U.S., and this facility will help us design vehicles that
appeal to consumers in this market as well as worldwide.”
Other recent additions to California City include a McDonald’s restaurant, a Rite Aid store, and a planned 160-acre
industrial park near the California City Municipal Airport. The City owns and runs the California City Airport, which
contains a 6,030-foot lighted runway with terminal facilities and a restaurant. The Airport also has 20,000 sq. ft. of
privately owned industrial buildings.
According to the Antelope Valley Press, June 16, 2005, City leaders and developers say they were well received
recently at the International Council of Shopping Centers annual conference in Las Vegas. "We got some good
leads" on businesses that may be interested in locating in the city, he said. One of those making a push to bring
more businesses to California City is San Diego-based developer Michael Ellison, who is working on bringing his
Ellison Plaza shopping center to fruition in California City. Ground has been broken on one cornerstone of the plaza,
the Microtel Inns and Suites Hotel. Future plans for the center include a grocery store, retail stores, restaurants, a
bowling alley and gas station.
California City was incorporated in 1965, it is located in the northern Antelope Valley in Kern County in the U.S. State
of California. The population was 8,385 at the 2000 census. (13,123 estimated as of 1-1-07 by the State of
California, Department of Finance)
California City has one prison (the California City Correctional Center, operated by the Corrections Corporation of
America), one landowners' resort, one PGA golf course, one municipal airport (site of a skydiving club), and one stop
light. Much of the city's workforce is supported by Edwards Air Force Base, which is located just to the south of the
city. Other major sources of employment include California City Prison, Silver Saddle, and nearby cities such as
Tehachapi, Boron and Lancaster.
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 his exploration
of Arizona and southern California. In the late 19th century, the Twenty Mule Team Trail, which carried loads of borax
to the railhead in Mojave from mines in the east, ran through the California City area.
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 a model city, which he hoped would one day rival Los Angeles, around a Central Park with a 26 acre
artificial lake. California City was incorporated in 1965 and has its own Police, Fire, and Public Works departments.
Most recently, CHiPs star Erik Estrada has been promoting real estate property for California City in infomercials as
spokesperson for National Recreational Properties.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 527.4 km² (203.6 mi²). 527.2 km² (203.6
mi²) of it is land and 0.2 km² (0.1 mi²) of it (0.04%) 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).
As of the census GR2 of 2000, there were 8,385 people, 3,067 households, and 2,257 families residing in the city.
The population density was 15.9/km² (41.2/mi²). There were 3,560 housing units at an average density of 6.8/km²
(17.5/mi²). 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.
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 13,123 as of 1 January 2007. California City's population increased
an estimated 4.2% in 2005, and 8.9% in 2007, over six times the growth rate of the state as a whole.
1. W. Deaver, Mojave's History, Accessed 3 September 2006
2. State of California, Department of Finance, E-1 Population Estimates for Cities, Counties and the State with
Annual Percent Change — January 1, 2006 and 2007. Sacramento, California, May 2007. Accessed 11-13-07
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