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Calexico, California
City of Calexico
FEMA - 44128 - FEMA worker in California.jpg
Calexico CA - De Anza Hotel.jpg
Top: City Hall; Bottom: Hotel de Anza
Official seal of Calexico, California
The International Gateway City
Where California and Mexico Meet
Location of Calexico in Imperial County, California
Location of Calexico in Imperial County, California
Calexico, California is located in the United States
Calexico, California
Calexico, California
Location in the United States
Country United States
State California
County Imperial
Incorporated April 16, 1908
 • Type Council–manager government
 • Total 8.62 sq mi (22.32 km2)
 • Land 8.62 sq mi (22.32 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)  0%
3 ft (0.9 m)
 • Total 38,633
 • Density 4,482.31/sq mi (1,730.53/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP Codes
Area code(s) 760/442
FIPS code 06-09710
GNIS feature IDs 1652680, 2409958
Calexico, seen from the International Space Station, is situated north of the Mexico–US border.

Calexico is a city in southern Imperial County, California. Situated on the Mexican border, it is linked economically with the much larger city of Mexicali, the capital of the Mexican state of Baja California. It is about 122 miles (196 km) east of San Diego and 62 miles (100 km) west of Yuma, Arizona. Calexico, along with six other incorporated Imperial County cities, forms part of the larger populated area known as the Imperial Valley.

First explored by Europeans in the 18th century, Calexico began as a small tent community which was ultimately incorporated in 1908.


According to the United States Census Bureau, at the 2010 census, the city had a total area of 6.2 square miles (16 km2), all land. Calexico is located 230 miles (370 km) southeast of Los Angeles, 125 miles (201 km) east of San Diego, 260 miles (420 km) west of Phoenix, and adjacent to Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico.

Calexico's location provides easy overnight trucking access to all those transportation hubs plus the ports of Long Beach, California, and Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.

Calexico is served by State Routes 98, 7 and 111, with direct connection to Interstate 8 (5 miles north) and State Route 86. There are eighteen regular and irregular common carriers for intrastate and interstate truck service to Calexico.

Rail service is provided by Union Pacific Railroad, and connects with the main line to Portland, Oregon; Rock Island, Illinois; Tucumcari, New Mexico; St. Louis, Missouri; and New Orleans, Louisiana.

Within city limits is Calexico International Airport, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection check-point for private passenger and air-cargo flights entering the U.S. from Mexico. Private charter services are also available there.

General aviation facilities and scheduled passenger and air-cargo service to San Diego International Airport, Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, and other points are available at Imperial County Airport (Boley Field), located 17 miles (27 km) north.


Calexico has a subtropical hot-desert climate (BWh), according to the Köppen climate classification system. In December 1932, the city experienced a rare snowfall. Rainfall usually occurs in the winter months of December, January and February. Although Summer is extremely dry in Calexico, there are occasional thunderstorms. In 2008, during the months of July and August there were several heavy thunderstorms that let down large amounts of rain and hail. Summer rainfall in the city is infrequent. During winter time, Calexico is sometimes affected by winter rain showers.

The summer temperatures in Calexico are very hot, with most of those days being in the triple digits. However, the hot desert climate seen in Calexico is actually not unusual for similar parallels, seen in Baghdad, Iraq for example.

The area has a large amount of sunshine year round due to its stable descending air and high pressure.

Climate data for Calexico, California
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 90
Average high °F (°C) 70
Average low °F (°C) 41
Record low °F (°C) 18
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.51


Calexico began as a tent city of the Imperial Land Company, was founded in 1899, and incorporated in 1908. The Imperial Land Company converted desert land into a fertile setting for year-round agriculture. The originally proposed names were Santo Tomas or Thomasville. The first post office in Calexico opened in 1902.

Hundreds of acres are now being devoted to industrial parks, and commercial and incentives are offered to encourage industrial development. The name Calexico was coined from a combination of the words California and Mexico. Mexicali is a similarly named city directly across the international border from Calexico.

2010 earthquake

On 4 April 2010, the El Mayor earthquake caused moderate to heavy damage throughout Calexico and across the border in Mexicali. Measuring 7.2 on the moment magnitude scale, the quake was centered about 40 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border near Mexicali. A state of emergency was declared and officials cordoned off First and Second streets between Paulin and Heber Avenues. Glass and debris littered the streets of downtown Calexico and two buildings partially collapsed. The Calexico water treatment plant sustained severe damage.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 797
1920 6,223 680.8%
1930 6,299 1.2%
1940 5,415 −14.0%
1950 6,433 18.8%
1960 7,992 24.2%
1970 10,625 32.9%
1980 14,412 35.6%
1990 18,633 29.3%
2000 27,109 45.5%
2010 38,572 42.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

The 2010 United States Census reported that Calexico had a population of 38,572. The population density was 4,596.7 people per square mile (1,774.8/km2). The racial makeup of Calexico was 23,150 (60.0%) White, 134 (0.3%) African American, 204 (0.5%) Native American, 504 (1.3%) Asian, 21 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 12,920 (33.5%) from other races, and 1,639 (4.2%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 37,354 persons (96.8%).

The Census reported that 38,472 people (99.7% of the population) lived in households, 100 (0.3%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 10,116 households, out of which 5,759 (56.9%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 5,767 (57.0%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 2,319 (22.9%) had a female householder with no husband present, 595 (5.9%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 316 (3.1%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 61 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships, while 1,200 households (11.9%) were made up of individuals, and 675 (6.7%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.80. There were 8,681 families (85.8% of all households); the average family size was 4.09.

The population was spread out, with 12,011 people (31.1%) under the age of 18, 4,262 people (11.0%) aged 18 to 24, 9,332 people (24.2%) aged 25 to 44, 8,559 people (22.2%) aged 45 to 64, and 4,408 people (11.4%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31.8 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.2 males.

There were 10,651 housing units at an average density of 1,269.3 per square mile (490.1/km2), of which 10,116 were occupied, of which 5,430 (53.7%) were owner-occupied, and 4,686 (46.3%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.6%; the rental vacancy rate was 3.1%. 22,155 people (57.4% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 16,317 people (42.3%) lived in rental housing units.



Calexico is served by the privately owned Calexico Transit, LA Shuttle and Numero Uno Shuttle and the publicly owned Imperial Valley Transit for local transit. Calexico is also served by Greyhound Lines.

Freight rail service is provided by Union Pacific Railroad's Calexico Subdivision.

In popular culture

  • Curtis Hanson's Losin' It was filmed in Calexico.
  • The band Calexico is named after the town.
  • A narcotics officer in Michael Connelly's The Black Ice is named after the town.
  • On ABC's hit show Modern Family, characters Cameron and Mitchell said to having adopted their second child, a Latino boy, from Calexico.
  • In the episode of Defiance, "The Serpent's Egg", the lawkeeper travels to Calexico.
  • 1997 film The Game starring Michael Douglas; some scenes in Mexicali were shot through the chain link fence (camera and crew in Calexico) between the US and Mexico.
  • Rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers sing about Calexico on their song "Encore" from their 2016 album, The Getaway
  • The town is featured in the Knightrider TV Series during the episode "The Mouth of The Snake". Michael Knight travels there to meet with the widow of a murdered federal lawyer.


Colleges and universities

San Diego State-Imperial Valley
San Diego State's Imperial Valley Campus, located in Calexico

Post-secondary education is available at the Imperial Valley Campus of San Diego State University, and at Imperial Valley College (11 miles (18 km) to the north). In addition, there are more than 20 local agencies and programs providing vocational training which can be tailored to the specific needs of potential employers.

Public schools

The Calexico Unified School District serves city residents. Calexico has 7 elementary schools, 2 junior high schools and 2 high schools:


  • Kennedy Gardens Elementary – Home of the Eagles
  • Allen and Helen Mains Elementary – Home of the Trojans
  • Rockwood Elementary – Home of the Rockets
  • Blanche Charles Elementary – Home of the Dolphins
  • Jefferson Elementary – Home of the Tigers
  • Dool Elementary – Home of the Cougars
  • Cesar Chavez Elementary – Home of the Lobos

Junior High Schools

Grades 7–8
  • Willam Moreno Jr. High – Home of the Aztecs
  • Enrique Camarena Junior High School – Home of the Firebirds

High Schools

Grades 9–12
  • Calexico High School 9th Campus - Home of the Bulldogs
  • Calexico High School – Home of the Bulldogs (10th-12th)
  • Aurora High School – Home of the Eagles

Public charter school (Independent Study)

RAI Online Charter School— (K–12, tuition-free)

Adult education schools

  • Robert F. Morales Adult Education Center
  • Independent Studies Office

Private schools

Calexico Mission School, a Seventh-day Adventist Academy operated by the Southeastern California Conference in Riverside, CA provides private religious education in Calexico from kindergarten through twelfth grade.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Academy (Home to the Bees), and Vincent Memorial Catholic High School (Home to the Scots), Roman Catholic schools operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, are also in Calexico.

Notable people

  • Enrique Camarena (DEA agent)
  • Enrique Castillo (Actor)
  • Emilio Delgado (Actor)
  • Dan Navarro (Singer-songwriter, voice actor)
  • Bob Huff (California senator)
  • Ruben Niebla (Major League Baseball player)
  • Danny Villanueva, (NFL placekicker and punter)
  • Eugenio Elorduy Walther (Politician)
  • Bob Wilson (U.S. Congressman)
  • Allen Strange (Composer)
  • Takashi Kijima (Photographer)
  • William Kesling (Architect)
  • Primo Villanueva (Football player)
  • Mariano-Florentino Cuellar (Justice)
  • Henry Lozano (Politician)
  • Ben Hulse (Politician)
  • Jeff Cravath (Football player and coach)
  • Bill Binder (restaurateur and owner of Philippe's in Downtown Los Angeles)

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