kids encyclopedia robot

Compton, California facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Compton, California
Compton martin luther king monument.jpg
HSY- Los Angeles Metro, Compton, Platform View.jpg
Compton High School billboard.jpg
Entering compton.jpg
Clockwise from top: King Memorial, Compton train platform, Compton obelisk, Compton High School
Official seal of Compton, California
Seal
Nickname(s): 
Hub City
Motto(s): 
Birthing a New Compton
Location within Los Angeles County, California
Location within Los Angeles County, California
Compton, California is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Compton, California
Compton, California
Location in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Compton, California is located in California
Compton, California
Compton, California
Location in California
Compton, California is located in the United States
Compton, California
Compton, California
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  California
County Flag of Los Angeles County, California.svg Los Angeles
Incorporated May 11, 1888
Government
 • Type Council-Manager
Area
 • Total 10.12 sq mi (26.20 km2)
 • Land 10.03 sq mi (25.97 km2)
 • Water 0.09 sq mi (0.23 km2)  1.03%
Elevation
69 ft (21 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 95,740
 • Rank 78th in California
 • Density 9,548.22/sq mi (3,686.42/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
90220–90224
Area codes 310/424
FIPS code 06-15044
GNIS feature IDs 1652689, 2410213

Compton is a city in southern Los Angeles County, California, United States, situated south of downtown Los Angeles. Compton is one of the oldest cities in the county and, on May 11, 1888, was the eighth city in California to incorporate. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a total population of 96,456. It is known as the "Hub City" due to its geographic centrality in Los Angeles County. Neighborhoods in Compton include Sunny Cove, Leland, downtown Compton, and Richland Farms. The city has a high poverty rate and is generally a working-class community.

History

Compton-1914
Main Street of Compton, 1914

In 1784, the Spanish Crown deeded a tract of over 75,000 acres (300 km2) to Juan Jose Dominguez in this area. The tract was named Rancho San Pedro. Dominguez's name was later applied to the Dominguez Hills community south of Compton. The tree that marked the original northern boundary of the rancho still stands at the corner of Poppy and Short streets.

In 1867, Griffith Dickenson Compton led a group of 30 pioneers to the area. These families had traveled by wagon train south from Stockton, California in search of ways to earn a living other than in the rapid exhaustion of gold fields. Originally named Gibsonville, after one of the tract owners, it was later called Comptonville. However, to avoid confusion with the Comptonville located in Yuba County, the name was shortened to Compton. Compton's earliest settlers were faced with terrible hardships as they farmed the land in bleak weather to get by with just the barest subsistence. The weather continued to be harsh, rainy and cold, and fuel was difficult to find. To gather firewood it was necessary to travel to mountains close to Pasadena. The round trip took almost a week. Many in the Compton party wanted to relocate to a friendlier climate and settle down, but as there were two general stores within traveling distance—one in the pueblo of Los Angeles, the other in Wilmington—they eventually decided to stay put.

By 1887, the settlers realized it was time to make improvements to the local government. A series of town meetings were held to discuss incorporation of their little town. Griffith D. Compton donated his land to incorporate and create the city of Compton in 1889, but he did stipulate that a certain acreage be zoned solely for agriculture and named Richland Farms. In January 1888, a petition supporting the incorporation of Compton was forwarded to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, who in turn forwarded the petition to the State Legislature. On May 11, 1888 the city of Compton was incorporated with a population of 500 people. The first City Council meeting was held on May 14, 1888.

The ample residential lots of Richland Farms gave residents enough space to raise a family, and food to feed them, along with building a barn, and caring for livestock. The farms attracted the black families who had begun migrating from the rural South in the 1950s, and there they found their 'home away from home' in this small community. Compton couldn't support large-scale agricultural business, but it did give the residents the opportunity to work the land for their families and for the welfare of the new community.

The 1920s saw the opening of the Compton Airport. Compton Junior College was founded and city officials moved to a new City Hall on Alameda Street. On March 10, 1933, a destructive earthquake caused many casualties: schools were destroyed and there was major damage to the central business district. While it would eventually be home to a large black population, in 1930 there was only one black resident. In the late 1940s, middle class blacks began moving into the area, mostly on the west side. Compton grew quickly in the 1950s. One reason for this was Compton was close to Watts, where there was an established black community. The eastern side of the city was predominately white until the 1970s. Despite being located in the middle of a major metropolitan area, thanks to the legacy of Griffith D. Compton, there still remains one small pocket of agriculture from its earliest years.

During the 1950s and 1960s, after the Supreme Court declared all racially exclusive housing covenants (title deeds) unconstitutional in the case Shelley v. Kraemer, the first black families moved to the area. Compton's growing black population was still largely ignored and neglected by the city's elected officials. Centennial High School was finally built to accommodate a burgeoning student population. At one time, the City Council even discussed dismantling the Compton Police Department in favor of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in an attempt to exclude blacks from law enforcement jobs. A black man first ran for City Council in 1958, and the first black councilman was elected in 1961.

Compton-1920
Aerial view of Compton, 1920

In 1969, Douglas Dollarhide became the mayor, the first black man elected mayor of any metropolitan city in California. Two blacks and one Mexican-American were also elected to the local school board. Four years later, in 1973, Doris A. Davis defeated Dollarhide's bid for re-election to become the first female black mayor of a metropolitan American city. By the early 1970s, the city had one of the largest concentrations of blacks in the country with over ninety percent. In 2013, Aja Brown, age 31, became the city's youngest mayor to date.

For many years, Compton was a much sought-after suburb for the black middle class of Los Angeles. This past affluence is reflected in the area's appearance—Compton's streets are lined with relatively spacious and attractive single family houses. However, several factors have contributed to Compton's gradual decline. One of the most significant factors was a steady erosion of its tax base, something that was already sparse due to limited commercial properties. In later years, there were middle-class whites who fled to the newly incorporated cities of Artesia, Bellflower, Cerritos, Paramount and Norwalk in the late 1950s. These nearby communities remained largely white early on despite integration. This white middle class flight accelerated following the 1965 Watts Riots and the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

By the late 1960s, middle-class and upper-middle-class blacks found other areas more attractive to them. Some were unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County such as Ladera Heights, View Park and Windsor Hills, and others were cities such as Inglewood and, particularly, Carson. Carson was significant because it had successfully thwarted attempts at annexation by neighboring Compton. The city opted instead for incorporation in 1968, which is notable because its black population was actually more affluent than its white population. As a newer city, it also offered more favorable tax rates and lower crime.

Geography

Compton sign
Highway sign for Compton

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.1 square miles (26 km2). 10.0 square miles (26 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (1.03%) is water.

It is bordered by the unincorporated Willowbrook on the north and northwest, the unincorporated West Compton on the west, the city of Carson on the southwest, the unincorporated Rancho Dominguez on the south, the city of Long Beach on the southeast, the city of Paramount and the unincorporated East Compton on the east, and by the city of Lynwood on the northeast.

East Compton

East Compton, also known as East Rancho Dominguez, is a mostly industrial unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP). The population was 15,135 according to the 2010 Census. East Rancho Dominguez is an accepted city name according to the USPS, and shares the 90221 ZIP Code with Compton. Its sphere of influence is the city of Compton, which has tried to annex East Rancho Dominguez, but business and property owners in the area have opposed the annexation.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 160
1890 636
1910 922
1920 1,478 60.3%
1930 12,516 746.8%
1940 16,198 29.4%
1950 47,991 196.3%
1960 71,812 49.6%
1970 78,547 9.4%
1980 81,350 3.6%
1990 90,454 11.2%
2000 93,493 3.4%
2010 96,455 3.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Compton demographic profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White (NH) 782 856 0.81% 0.89%
Black or African American (NH) 30,992 24,342 32.13% 25.43%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 175 132 0.18% 0.14%
Asian (NH) 222 365 0.23% 0.38%
Pacific Islander (NH) 684 544 0.71% 0.57%
Some Other Race (NH) 140 440 0.15% 0.46%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 791 1,270 0.82% 1.33%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 62,669 67,791 64.97% 70.81%
Total 96,455 95,740 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race

2010

The 2010 United States Census reported that Compton had a population of 96,455. The population density was 9,534.3 people per square mile (3,681.2/km2). The racial makeup of Compton was 31,688 (32.9%) Black; 24,942 (25.9%) White, (0.8% Non-Hispanic White); 655 (0.7%) Native American; 292 (0.3%) Asian; 718 (0.7%) Pacific Islander; 34,914 (36.2%) from other races; and 3,246 (3.4%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 62,669 persons (65.0%).

The Census reported that 95,700 people (99.2% of the population) lived in households, 643 (0.7%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 112 (0.1%) were institutionalized.

There were 23,062 households, out of which 13,376 (58.0%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 10,536 (45.7%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 6,373 (27.6%) had a female householder with no husband present, 2,354 (10.2%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,725 (7.5%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 158 (0.7%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 2,979 households (12.9%) were made up of individuals, and 1,224 (5.3%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 4.15. There were 19,263 families (83.5% of all households); the average family size was 4.41.

The age distribution of the population was as follows: 31,945 people (33.1%) under the age of 18, 11,901 people (12.3%) aged 18 to 24, 26,573 people (27.5%) aged 25 to 44, 18,838 people (19.5%) aged 45 to 64, and 7,198 people (7.5%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.7 males.

There were 24,523 housing units at an average density of 2,424.0 per square mile (935.9/km2), of which 12,726 (55.2%) were owner-occupied, and 10,336 (44.8%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.9%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.9%. 53,525 people (55.5% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 42,175 people (43.7%) lived in rental housing units.

During 2009–2013, Compton has a median household income of $42,953, with 26.3% of the population living below the federal poverty line.

Arts and culture

Some episodes of the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air took place in Compton because Will Smith's friend, DJ Jazzy Jeff lived there. Many rap artists' careers started in Compton, including N.W.A (Eazy-E, MC Ren, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, DJ Yella), Coolio, DJ Quik, Nishant, Jeeves, The Game, Kendrick Lamar, YG, and Compton's Most Wanted. In their lyrics, they rap about the streets and their lives in Compton and the areas nearby. Many well-known NBA players attended high school in the city as well. Arron Afflalo attended Centennial High School; DeMar DeRozan attended Compton High School; and Tayshaun Prince, Tyson Chandler, Brandon Jennings, Cedric Ceballos and the late Dennis Johnson attended Dominguez High. Actor/comedian Paul Rodriguez Sr. also attended Dominguez High.

Although Compton was formerly thought of as a primarily black community, this has greatly changed over the years and now Latinos are the largest ethnic group in the city. A possible reason for this misconception is, despite the shift in population, that many black professional athletes and rappers are originally from Compton. Blacks continue to dominate local politics, holding most elected positions in the city. Although an inner suburb of Los Angeles, Compton has seen an increase of middle-class residents in the last few years, due to its affordable housing despite the portrayals of Compton in the media, which are typically exaggerated. With the influx of immigrants and the demographic shift in ethnic population, it was after the 2000 U.S. Census that Latinos were recognized as the majority.

Compton has a growing Pacific Islander, Filipino, and Vietnamese community. West Compton and unincorporated Willowbrook have more middle class blacks than the central city (west of Alameda St.) and unincorporated East Compton, the latter of which has a higher number of Hispanics and working-class blacks. Lower-income subsections on Compton Boulevard have many businesses owned by Latinos.

The city is known as the home of many famous rappers. Compton has evolved into a younger community; the median age of people living in Compton was 25 at the time of the last full census survey in 2010; the United States average at the time was 35.3.

Compton is home to the Compton Cricket Club, the only all American-born exhibition cricket team. Its founder, Ted Hayes, said, "The aim of playing cricket is to teach people how to respect themselves and respect authority so they stop killing each other."

Historical landmarks

Angeles Abbey Cemetery contains examples of Byzantine, Moorish and Spanish architectural styles. The cemetery was built in 1923 and survived the 1933 Long Beach earthquake.

Compton Airport opened on May 10, 1924. Located on Alondra Boulevard, the airport offers flight training, has accommodations for more than 200 planes, and is home to several aviation clubs.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial: This Civic Center monument is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is surrounded by the Civic Center, Compton Court House, Compton City Hall, and Compton Public Library.

The Eagle Tree is a natural boundary marker of Rancho San Pedro dating to 1858. It contains a historic marker and plaque placed by the Daughters of the Golden West in 1947.

The 'Heritage House' was built in 1869 and is a State Historic Landmark. The oldest house in Compton, it was restored as a tribute to early settlers. It is an important landmark of Compton's rich history. At the corner of Myrrh and Willowbrook near the Civic Center Plaza, the Heritage House is a rustic-looking home that will eventually have a museum detailing early life in Compton. For now it shows the stark difference between the simple life of the 19th century and the fast-paced urban environment of the 21st.

Woodlawn Cemetery is the final resting place of 18 Civil War veterans. It has been a Los Angeles County Historic Landmark since 1946.

City sites

  • The Major League Baseball Academy is a youth baseball academy providing free baseball and softball instruction to Southern California youth.
  • Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum is a non-traditional compilation of a living interactive museum, after-school programs, gang intervention programs and flight school.

Sister cities

On January 19, 2010, the Compton City Council passed a resolution creating a sister cities program to be managed as a chapter of the Compton Chamber of Commerce. The city has established partnerships with three cities:

The city is also looking to add sister partnerships with Yanga, Mexico and Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago.

Economy

Gateway Town Center
Gateway Towne Center

In 1994 Compton was designated as an "Entrepreneurial Hot Spot" by Cognetics, Inc., an independent economic research firm. Compton made the national list for best places to start and grow a business, and ranked #2 in Los Angeles County out of a field of 88 cities. The city's Planning and Economic Development department provides a business assistance program consisting of a comprehensive mix of resources to small business owners and entrepreneurs. The grocery chains Ralphs and Food 4 Less, subsidiaries of Kroger, are headquartered in Compton. Gelson's Market, a subsidiary of Arden Group, Inc., a holding company, is also based there.

Compton is 10.12 square miles and is fondly known as the “Hub City” because of its unique geographical proximity being in the center of the Los Angeles County boundaries. As the ‘Hub City’ it makes Compton strategically located along the Alameda Corridor, a rail passageway of 25% of all U.S. waterborne international trade, in addition to being a large industrial center for transit and distribution, business services, high technology, home and lifestyle products, metals, financial services, and textile manufacturing. The Hub City is part of the Gateway region and has a 77-acre Compton / Woodley Airport that is home to 275 based aircraft and experiences over 66,000 flight operations each year. This air transportation asset is complemented by the Hub City's four major freeways adjacent to the city's boundaries. Interstate 710 runs from the seaports through the eastern boundary; the State Route 91 freeway extends through the southern boundary; Interstate 105 runs slightly along the north of the city; and Interstate 110 along to the west. Additionally, the Interstates 405 and 605 freeways are within two miles of Compton's southern and eastern edges, respectively.

Compton is surrounded by multiple freeways which provide access to destinations throughout the region. The Long Beach and Los Angeles Ports are less than 20 minutes from downtown Compton, providing access to international destinations for customers and suppliers. The Alameda Corridor, a passageway for 25% of all U.S. waterborne international trade, runs directly through Compton from north to south.

The City of Compton's Parks and Recreation Department operates and maintains a total of 16 playgrounds for a combined 118 acres (48 ha) of active park space. Facilities include six community centers, seven neighborhood parks, two walking parks, two competition size swimming pools, three regulation size gymnasiums, a skate park, Jackie Robinson Baseball Stadium, Nine-Hole Par 3 Golf Course, and the two-story 29,641 square feet (2,800 m2) Douglas F. Dollarhide Community Center.

Education

Centennial High School
Centennial High School

The city is served by Compton Unified School District. The district is a participant of the FOCUS program conducted by the University of California, Irvine. The goals of the program are to improve mathematics and science achievement by uniting the efforts of mathematics, science, education and research library faculty and staff with educators of the school district.

The CUSD provides public education for grades K–12. The district operates 24 elementary schools, eight middle schools, three high schools, and one adult school, which also serves as an alternative school. The district maintains five alternative learning schools.

The four high schools of the CUSD are Centennial High School, Compton Early College High School, Dominguez High School, and Compton High School.

The city is also served by El Camino College Compton Education Center, which offers community college courses for those planning to enter a four-year degree program, as well as those seeking further education in specific trade fields.

Reed Christian College is a non-profit private institution, located in Compton. The program lasts for less than one year, and total enrollment is approximately 120 students.

The Compton Library offers adult, children's and Spanish language materials; reference services; a Literacy Center and a Homework Center; public computers with Internet access and word processing capabilities; public typewriters; and a bilingual story time every Saturday at 12:00 noon.

Occidental's Center for Food and Justice and its Compton Farm-to-School project were featured in a segment of Life and Times, a half-hour news program on public television's KCET in Los Angeles.

Barack Obama Charter School is a kindergarten through sixth grade public charter school.

Infrastructure

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services operates the South Health Center in Watts, Los Angeles, serving Compton.

The United States Postal Service operates the Compton Post Office at 701 South Santa Fe Avenue the Hub City Post Office at 101 South Willowbrook Avenue, and the Fashion Square Post Office at 2100 North Long Beach Boulevard.

Law enforcement

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department operates the Compton Station in Compton. When the LASD replaced the Compton Police Department in 2000, they increased patrol service hours from 127,410 to 141,692. Compton Station is centrally located in the Los Angeles area. The station is easily accessible from the Century Freeway (I-105) to the north, the Gardena Freeway (SR-91) to the south, the Harbor Freeway (I-110) to the west, and the Long Beach Freeway (I-710) to the east. Diane Walker, a 30-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, was promoted to the rank of Captain by Sheriff Lee Baca, and is now Commander of Compton Station. There is also a LASD substation located in the Gateway Towne Center.

Transportation

HSY- Los Angeles Metro, Compton, Platform View
Compton station of the LA Metro
COMPTON AIRPORT 2
Compton/Woodley Airport

Four freeways are within or near the city's boundaries and provide access to destinations throughout the region. Interstate 710 runs through the eastern boundary, State Route 91 runs through the southern boundary. Interstate 105 runs slightly along the north of the city, and Interstate 110 along to the west.

The Metro A Line (formerly the Blue Line) light rail runs north–south through Compton. Compton station is in the heart of the city, adjacent to the Renaissance Shopping Center. Artesia station serves the southern part of the city. The A Line connects Compton to downtown Los Angeles and downtown Long Beach.

There is also a Compton Renaissance Transit System that serves the area.

Compton/Woodley Airport is a small general aviation airport located in the city. The airport lies within busy airspace, as it is situated within a few miles of both Los Angeles International Airport and Long Beach Airport.

Greyhound Lines operates the Compton station.

Collectively, these multifaceted transportation links lend justification to the city's familiar nickname of "the Hub City."

From 1902 to 1961, Compton was served by the Pacific Electric Long Beach Line.

Notable people

Images for kids

kids search engine
Compton, California Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.