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Placentia, California
Citrus groves in Placentia, 1961
Citrus groves in Placentia, 1961
Flag of Placentia, California
Official seal of Placentia, California
"A pleasant place to live."
Location of Placentia within Orange County, California
Location of Placentia within Orange County, California
Placentia, California is located in the United States
Placentia, California
Placentia, California
Location in the United States
Country United States
State California
County Orange
Incorporated December 2, 1926
 • Total 6.63 sq mi (17.16 km2)
 • Land 6.61 sq mi (17.12 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.04 km2)  0.22%
272 ft (83 m)
 • Total 50,533
 • Estimate 
 • Density 7,748.49/sq mi (2,991.71/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
Area code 714
FIPS code 06-57526
GNIS feature IDs 1661237, 2411432

Placentia is a city in northern Orange County, California. The population was 51,233 during the 2020 census, up from 46,488 in the 2000 census. This includes the community of Atwood, which is included in the city of Placentia, and is located in its southeastern quadrant. Primarily referred to as a bedroom community, Placentia is known for its quiet neighborhoods.

In 1971, Placentia was honored with the prestigious "All America City" Award, given out annually by the National Civic League to ten cities in the United States.


Placentia is located in Orange County at 33°52′57″N 117°51′18″W / 33.88250°N 117.85500°W / 33.88250; -117.85500 (33.882364, -117.855130). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.6 square miles (17 km2). 6.6 square miles (17 km2) of it is land and 0.22% is water. The 57 Freeway (Orange Freeway) runs through the southwest section of Placentia. The 91 Freeway (Riverside Freeway) passes directly south of the city. Districts in Placentia include the Neighborhood of La Jolla, and the formerly unincorporated community of Atwood.


According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Placentia has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csa" on climate maps.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1930 1,606
1940 1,472 −8.3%
1950 1,682 14.3%
1960 5,861 248.5%
1970 21,948 274.5%
1980 35,041 59.7%
1990 41,259 17.7%
2000 46,488 12.7%
2010 50,533 8.7%
2019 (est.) 51,233 1.4%
U.S. Decennial Census


The 2010 United States Census reported that Placentia had a population of 50,533. The population density was 7,677.0 per square mile (2,964.1/km2). The racial make-up of Placentia 31,373 (62.1%) White (44.7% Non-Hispanic White), 914 (1.8%) African American, 386 (0.8%) Native American, 7,531 (14.9%) Asian, 74 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 8,247 (16.3%) from other races and 2,008 (4.0%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 18,416 persons (36.4%).

The census reported that 50,196 people (99.3% of the population) lived in households, 253 (0.5%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 84 (0.2%) were institutionalized.

There were 16,365 households, of which 6,310 (38.6%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 9,399 (57.4%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 2,070 (12.6%) had a female householder with no husband present, 897 (5.5%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 747 (4.6%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 91 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 2,880 households (17.6%) were made up of individuals, and 1,274 (7.8%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.07. There were 12,366 families (75.6% of all households); the average family size was 3.44.

12,445 people (24.6%) were under the age of 18, 5,202 people (10.3%) aged 18 to 24, 13,945 people (27.6%) aged 25 to 44, 12,598 people (24.9%) aged 45 to 64, and 6,343 people (12.6%) were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.7 males.

There were 16,872 housing units at an average density of 2,563.2 per square mile (989.7/km2), of which 10,681 (65.3%) were owner-occupied and 5,684 (34.7%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0.8%; the rental vacancy rate was 4.7%. 31,761 people (62.9% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 18,435 people (36.5%) lived in rental housing units.

The median household income was $75,693, with 12.2% of the population living below the federal poverty line.


At the 2000 census, there were 46,488 people, 15,037 households and 11,683 families residing in the city. The population density was 7,051.3 per square mile (2,722.5/km2). There were 15,326 housing units at an average density of 2,324.6 per square mile (897.5/km2). The racial make-up was 67.76% White, 1.77% African American, 0.83% Native American, 11.16% Asian, 0.18% Pacific Islander and 13.58% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 31.10% of the population.

There were 15,037 households, of which 37.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.5% were married alternative couples living together, 50.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.3% were non-families. 16.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 4.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.07 and the average family size was 3.42.

27.0% of the population were under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 32.0% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64 and 9.1% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.0 males.

The median household income was $62,803 and the median family income was $68,976. These figures had risen to $77,496 and $83,674 respectively in a 2007 estimate. Males had a median income of $46,956 and females $34,184. The per capita income was $23,843. About 5.7% of families and 8.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.2% of those under age 18 and 5.7% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

The George Key Ranch Historic District is a historic citrus ranch and Victorian ranch house in Placentia. It is now within the 2-acre George Key Ranch Historic Park, with the historic house museum, outdoor displays, and a citrus grove. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Placentia-Santa Fe District is in the southwest or downtown area. The town is home to the A. S. Bradford House, a historic house museum. It is also home to the 100 year old Berkenstock Mansion.

In 1974, Chicano Park's "founding lead artist" Guillermo Aranda and "founding apprentice artist" Ernesto "Neto" Paul (San Diego, CA natives) collaborated with the art students of UC Irvine in painting a mural (approxitmately 8' x 36') on the walls of the Tlatepaque Restaurant. The following year the chairman of Toltecas en Aztlan, and the board director of The Centro Cultural De La Raza, Guillermo Aranda, also invited these same Orange County artists referred to as the "Santa Ana Muralists," to come to Chicano Park and paint on one of the first pillars (2nd painted pillar) of Chicano Park.


The Metrolink 91/Perris Valley Line passes through the southern portion of the city. The city has been preparing the area of a proposed new station located at Melrose Avenue and Crowther Avenue in Old Town Placentia. Placentia station is estimated to cost $35 million; the city will contribute $5.4 million. A tenative completion date was set for June 2022, but construction is now "on hold" pending further negotiations with BNSF.

In 2007, the city became the first city to implement a quiet zone for the cargo-carrying trains which pass through the city regularly every day, utilizing locomotive grade crossing predictors and inter-crossing ground-based radio communications to effect a corridor where crossing gate arms become actuated prior to the train's approach, enabling trains to not be required to announce their approach by sounding the Morse Code letter "Q" on its whistle which is otherwise mandated by the Federal Railroad Administration. The city's Quiet-Zone-Update web pages offer information on the Zone's scope and any temporary or long-term alterations to the Quiet Zone.

The city is served by the Orange County Transportation Authority with

  • Route 153 running along Placentia Avenue
  • Route 129 running also Kraemer Blvd
  • Route 71 running along Rose Drive
  • Route 26 running along Yorba Linda Blvd
  • Route 123 running along Chapman Avenue
  • Route 30 running along Orangethorpe Avenue.


Placentia has a $20 million Metrolink project that started in the downtown area in 2013. This project is in conjunction with the Orange County Transit Authority (OCTA), and will assist in the continued revitalization of the area, which is also scheduled for the building of more transit oriented housing to complement the train station, mixed use, retail and entertainment. All designed to enhance Placentia's unique presence in Orange County. Placentia is also working with the OCTA on the OC Bridges project. The project, combined with the city of Fullerton, provides approximately $580 million in funding to build underpasses and/or overpasses at the major north-south roadways in the two cities. The roadways are Lakeview Avenue, Rose Drive/Tustin Avenue, Orangethorpe Avenue, Kraemer Boulevard, Placentia Avenue, State College Boulevard and Raymond Avenue. The underpasses and overpasses at Placentia, Kraemer, Rose/Tustin and Lakeview are complete.

Top employers

According to Placentia's 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District 2,500
2 Placentia-Linda Hospital 390
3 Hartwell 300
4 Premedia 305
5 City of Placentia 215


Placentia Library District

Placentia is home to one of the 13 special district libraries in California. The Placentia Library District is a single-purpose library district governed by an elected Board of Trustees. Its principal source of income is property tax proration. The library's early history is much like other communities. Beginning in 1914, the Women's Christian Temperance Union established a reading and recreation room for boys in a storefront on Bradford Avenue. After a successful petition and election by the residents, the Placentia Library District was officially formed on September 2, 1919. The new library district included seven square miles of the Placentia area: the north line was beyond Golden Avenue, the east line along Linda Vista through Hazard's subdivision,the south through Golden State Tract but not as far as Miraloma Avenue and the west line along the Fullerton boundary. The Library Board of Trustees hired Placentia's first Librarian, Sara Rideout, for $0.25 an hour, and the Women's Christian Temperance Union turned over their reading room and 193 books. The library officially opened to the public on January 15, 1920, from 2:00–5:00 p.m. and 7:00–9:00 p.m. By 1926, a new library building was needed to meet the needs of the growing community. The building, designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style by renowned architect Carleton Monroe Winslow, features beautiful Talavera tiles created by Mexican potter, Pedro Sanchez. In March 1927, the grand opening was held for the new library building located at 143 S.Bradford Avenue. In 1974, the library again become too small for its growing collection and was moved to its current location in the Civic Center Plaza. That same year the library boundaries expanded to reflect the same boundaries as the city.

Today the Placentia Library District has over 330,000 visitors annually, with over 42,000 library cards issued. The Library holds over 102,000 materials. In September 2018 the Placentia Library began a major $2.3 million renovation/modernization project as part of the library’s centennial anniversary. The project was completed on September 14, 2019.

Public schools

Placentia is a part of the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District (PYLUSD). There are three high schools in the city:

  • El Dorado High School.
  • Valencia High School. The oldest high school in Placentia, opened in 1933. VHS offers an International Baccalaureate program as well as a technology track known as ValTech.
  • El Camino Real High School. Named a "Model Continuation High School" by the California State Department of Education.

In addition, Placentia supports three public middle schools: Kraemer Middle School, Valadez Middle School Academy, and Tuffree Middle School. The city houses numerous public elementary schools: Brookhaven Elementary, George Key Elementary, Golden Elementary, Morse Elementary, Melrose Elementary, Ruby Drive Elementary, Sierra Vista Elementary, Tynes Elementary, Van Buren Elementary, and Wagner Elementary.

Independent schools

The Parkview School provides an independent study K-12 school for students who are "homeschoolers, student actors, junior athletes, chronically ill, or in various other situations for which an alternative to classroom-based instruction is desirable."

Notable people

  • Agent Orange, punk rock band formed in Orange County, California in 1979
  • Kevin Blankenship, professional baseball player from Placentia and an El Dorado High School class of 1981 graduate
  • Gavin Magnus, child actor and singer
  • Michael Chang, professional tennis player, French Open champion, member of Hall of Fame
  • Peter Daut, news presenter, KESQ-TV; grew up in Placentia and graduated from El Dorado High School
  • Chris Draft, NFL professional football player
  • Janet Evans, Olympic swimmer, four-time gold medalist
  • Jackie Francois, musician
  • Josh Freese, musician
  • Michele Granger, softball pitcher; born in Placentia
  • Courtney Hicks, figure skater; born in Placentia
  • Kottonmouth Kings, hip hop group
  • Kingspade, hip hop group
  • Phil Nevin, baseball player
  • Kherington Payne, So You Think You Can Dance contestant, Pussycat Doll
  • Shawn Ray, bodybuilder
  • Johnny Richter, rapper
  • Equanimeous St. Brown, NFL professional football player
  • Corrie ten Boom, Holocaust survivor and rescuer in the Dutch Underground during World War II, author; emigrated to Placentia in 1977 and died there in 1983
  • Brett Tomko, baseball player, attended El Dorado High School
  • Bret Boone, Major League Baseball player, attended El Dorado HS

See also

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