Torrance, California facts for kids

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Torrance, California
Charter city
City of Torrance
Torrance Beach with the Palos Verdes Peninsula in the background.
Torrance Beach with the Palos Verdes Peninsula in the background.
Flag of Torrance, California
Flag
Official seal of Torrance, California
Seal
Coat of arms of Torrance, California
Coat of arms
Motto: "A Balanced City!"
Location of Torrance in the County of Los Angeles
Location of Torrance in the County of Los Angeles
Country  United States of America
State  California
County Flag of Los Angeles County, California.svg Los Angeles
Incorporated May 12, 1921
Named for Jared Sidney Torrance
Area
 • Total 20.553 sq mi (53.233 km2)
 • Land 20.478 sq mi (53.038 km2)
 • Water 0.075 sq mi (0.195 km2)  0.37%
Elevation 89 ft (27 m)
Population (April 1, 2010)
 • Total 145,438
 • Estimate (2013) 147,478
 • Rank 8th in Los Angeles County
39th in California
171st in the United States
 • Density 7,076.24/sq mi (2,732.10/km2)
Time zone Pacific (UTC−8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
ZIP codes 90501–90510
Area codes 310/424
FIPS code 06-80000
GNIS feature IDs 1652802, 2412087
Website www.torranceca.gov

Torrance is a city in the South Bay (southwestern) region of Los Angeles County, California, United States. Torrance has 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of beaches on the Pacific Ocean. Torrance has a moderate year-round climate with warm temperatures, sea breezes, low humidity and an average rainfall of 12.55 inches per year.

Since its incorporation in 1921, Torrance has grown rapidly. Its estimated 2013 population was 147,478. This residential and light high-tech industries city has 90,000 street trees and 30 city parks. Known for its low crime rates, the city consistently ranks among the safest cities in Los Angeles County. Torrance is the birthplace of the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO). In addition, the city of Torrance has the second-highest percentage of Japanese demographic in California (8.9%).

History

Torrance was originally part of the Tongva Native American homeland for thousands of years. In 1784 the Spanish land grant for Rancho San Pedro, in the upper Las Californias Province of New Spain and encompassing present day Torrance, was issued to Juan Jose Dominguez by King Carlos III—the Spanish Empire. It was later divided in 1846 with Governor Pío Pico granting Rancho de los Palos Verdes to José Loreto and Juan Capistrano Sepulveda, in the Alta California territory of independent Mexico.

In the early 1900s, real estate developer Jared Sidney Torrance and other investors saw the value of creating a mixed industrial-residential community south of Los Angeles. They purchased part of an old Spanish land grant and hired landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. to design a new planned community. The resulting town was founded in October 1912 and named after Mr. Torrance. The city of Torrance was formally incorporated in May 1921, the townsite initially being bounded by Western Avenue on the east, Del Amo Boulevard on the north, Crenshaw Boulevard on the west, and on the south by Plaza Del Amo east of where it meets Carson Street, and by Carson Street west of where it meets Plaza Del Amo. The first residential avenue created in Torrance was Gramercy and the second avenue was Andreo. Many of the houses on these avenues turned 100 years of age in 2012. Both avenues are located in the area referred to as Old Town Torrance. This section of Torrance is under review to be classified as a historical district. Some of the early civic and residential buildings were designed by the renowned and innovative Southern California architect Irving Gill, in his distinctive combining of Mission Revival and early Modernist architecture.

Historically the El Nido neighborhood was home to many European immigrants, such as originally Dutch, German, Greek, Italian and Portuguese people. These were soon joined by Mexican-American and Hispanic and Latino immigrants, employed in the growing early 20th century agriculture, petroleum, and manufacturing industries, such as the fish canneries.

Rapid new growth in Torrance began after World War II as wartime industries transformed into Post-war Aerospace manufacturers and related technology industries. Large housing developments were built in the 1950s and 1960s to accommodate the new population. Torrance moved on after the closure of some aerospace development and oil refinery plants in the 1990s statewide recession.

Torrance survived the deindustrialization, regional economic slowdowns and national recessions in the 1970s to 2000s. Large-scale Asian immigration in the past couple of decades has transformed Torrance into a diverse and multicultural city.

Geography

Torrance Beach
Torrance Beach lies between the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Redondo beach on the Santa Monica Bay.

Torrance is a coastal community in southwestern Los Angeles County sharing the climate and geographical features common to the Greater Los Angeles area. Its boundaries are: Redondo Beach Boulevard and the cities of Lawndale and Gardena to the north; Western Avenue and the Harbor Gateway neighborhood of Los Angeles to the east; the Palos Verdes Hills with the cities of Lomita, Rolling Hills Estates and Palos Verdes Estates on the south; and the Pacific Ocean and city of Redondo Beach to the west.

It is about 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Downtown Los Angeles.

Torrance Beach lies between Redondo Beach and Malaga Cove on Santa Monica Bay. The southernmost stretch of Torrance Beach, on a cove at the northern end of the Palos Verdes peninsula, is known to locals as "Rat Beach".

A rare urban wetlands, the Madrona Marsh, is a nature preserve, on land once set for oil production and saved from development, with restoration projects enhancing the vital habitat for birds, wildlife, and native plants. A Nature center provides activities, information, and classes for school children and visitors of all ages.

Climate

Weather chart for Torrance
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
3.6
 
66
46
 
 
3.2
 
67
48
 
 
2.8
 
68
49
 
 
0.7
 
71
51
 
 
0.3
 
72
55
 
 
0.1
 
75
58
 
 
0
 
78
61
 
 
0.1
 
79
62
 
 
0.2
 
78
61
 
 
0.5
 
75
57
 
 
1.2
 
71
50
 
 
2
 
67
46
temperatures in °F
precipitation totals in inches
source: Weather.com / NWS

Torrance has a Mediterranean climate or Dry-Summer Subtropical (Köppen climate classification Csb on the coast).

The rainy season is November through March, as shown in the adjacent table.

The Los Angeles area is also subject to the phenomenon typical of a microclimate. As such, the temperatures can vary as much as 18 °F (10 °C) between inland areas and the coast, with a temperature gradient of over one degree per mile (1.6 km) from the coast inland. California has also a weather phenomenon called "June Gloom or May Gray", which sometimes brings overcast or foggy skies in the morning on the coast, followed by sunny skies by noon during late spring and early summer.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1930 7,271
1940 9,950 36.8%
1950 22,241 123.5%
1960 100,991 354.1%
1970 134,968 33.6%
1980 129,881 −3.8%
1990 133,107 2.5%
2000 137,946 3.6%
2010 145,438 5.4%
Est. 2015 148,475 2.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010

The 2010 United States Census reported that Torrance had a population of 145,438. The population density was 7,076.1 people per square mile (2,732.1/km²). The racial makeup of Torrance was 74,333 (51.1%) White, 50,240 (34.5%) Asian, 3,955 (2.7%) African American, 554 (0.4%) Native American, 530 (0.4%) Pacific Islander, 7,808 (5.4%) from other races, and 8,018 (5.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 23,440 persons (16.1%), while non-Hispanic whites formed 42.3% of the population.

The Census reported that 144,292 people (99.2% of the population) lived in households, 506 (0.3%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 640 (0.4%) were institutionalized.

There were 56,001 households, out of which 18,558 (33.1%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 29,754 (53.1%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 6,148 (11.0%) had a female householder with no husband present, 2,510 (4.5%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 2,152 (3.8%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 309 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 14,472 households (25.8%) were made up of individuals and 5,611 (10.0%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58. There were 38,412 families (68.6% of all households); the average family size was 3.14.

The population was spread out with 31,831 people (21.9%) under the age of 18, 10,875 people (7.5%) aged 18 to 24, 38,296 people (26.3%) aged 25 to 44, 42,710 people (29.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 21,726 people (14.9%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.3 years. For every 100 females there were 94.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.8 males.

There were 58,377 housing units at an average density of 2,840.3 per square mile (1,096.6/km²), of which 31,621 (56.5%) were owner-occupied, and 24,380 (43.5%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0.8%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.3%. 85,308 people (58.7% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 58,984 people (40.6%) lived in rental housing units.

During 2009–2013, Torrance had a median household income of $77,061, with 7.4% of the population living below the federal poverty line.

2000

As of the census of 2000, there were 137,946 people, 54,542 households, and 36,270 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,715.7 inhabitants per square mile (2,593.1/km²). There were 55,967 housing units at an average density of 2,724.7 per square mile (1,052.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 59.2% White, 28.6% Asian, 2.2% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.4% Pacific Islander, 4.6% from other races, and 4.7% from two or more races. 12.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 54,542 households out of which 31.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.1% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.5% were non-families. 27.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the city, the population was spread out with 23.0% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 32.4% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 94.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city in 2008 was $79,312, and the median income for a family was $98,473. Males had a median income of $50,606 versus $36,334 for females. The per capita income for the city was $39,118. About 4.7% of families and 5.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.7% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over.

Japanese

See also: History of the Japanese in Los Angeles
Inside Mitsuwa Torrance
The inside of the Torrance Mitsuwa

As of 2014 the City of Torrance has the second largest concentration of ethnic Japanese people of any U.S. city, after Honolulu. The city has headquarters of Japanese automakers and offices of other Japanese companies. Because of this many Japanese restaurants and other Japanese cultural offerings are in the city, and Willy Blackmore of L.A. Weekly wrote that Torrance was "essentially Japan's 48th prefecture". A Mitsuwa supermarket, Japanese schools, and Japanese banks serve the community.

In the pre-World War II period the South Bay region was one of the few areas that allowed non-U.S. citizens to acquire property, so a Japanese presence came. According to John Kaji, a Torrance resident quoted in Public Radio International who was the son of Toyota's first American-based accountant, the Japanese corporate presence in Torrance, beginning with Toyota, attracted many ethnic Japanese. Toyota moved its operations to its Torrance campus in 1982 because of its proximity to the Port of Long Beach and Los Angeles International Airport, and it was followed by many other Japanese companies. In 2014 Toyota announced it was moving its U.S. headquarters to Plano, Texas.

Koreans

See also: History of the Korean Americans in Los Angeles

As of 1992 about 60% of the Korean population in the South Bay region lived in Torrance and Gardena. In 1990, 5,888 ethnic Koreans lived in Torrance, a 256% increase from the 1980 figure of 1,652 ethnic Koreans.

Arts and culture

USMC horses
The Torrance Armed Forces Day Parade, with a USMC unit.

The Armed Forces Day Parade in Torrance, which was first produced in 1960, is the longest running military parade sponsored by a city. It is held annually on Armed Forces Day, and runs down Torrance Boulevard. The parade features military vehicles, school bands, and prominent community members.

The Torrance Cultural Arts Center hosts cultural events year-round. Regular performances are provided by the groups belonging to the Torrance Performing Arts Consortium, including The Aerospace Players, Torrance Art Museum, Los Cancioneros Master Chorale, South Bay Ballet, South Bay Conservatory, and The Torrance Symphony.

In the 2010 Rose Parade, City of Torrance's entry won the top Lathrop K. Leishman trophy for its Garden of Dreams float, judged as the "Most Beautiful Non-Commercial" float. In 2011, Torrance won the Tournament Volunteers' Trophy for best floral design of parade theme under 35 feet in length. In 2012, the city's entry won the Governor's Trophy for best depiction of life in California. In 2015, an entry honoring Rose Parade Grand Marshal Louis Zamperini won the Theme trophy for excellence in presenting parade theme. In 2016, the City of Torrance float won the Princess trophy for most beautiful float 35' and under

Historic landmarks

These Torrance landmarks are on the National Register of Historic Places:

  • Main Building (Torrance High School) – Mediterranean Revival architecture, 1917 and 1921
  • original Science Building—current Home Economics Building (Torrance High School)
  • Auditorium (Torrance High School) – Streamline Moderne, 1938
  • Torrance Elementary School—current High School Annex – Mediterranean Revival
  • Pacific Electric Railroad Bridgedesigned by Irving Gill, 1913

Parks and recreation

City parks

Wilson Park, Torrance
Wilson Park, in Torrance at sunset.

The Torrance City Parks Department directs and maintains the thirty varied Torrance City Parks. They include:

  • Wilson Park — the focal point 44 acres (0.18 km2) park, which has extensive picnic and sports facilities, including a modern gymnasium, skatepark, and roller-hockey rink. Wilson Park also hosts the Torrance Farmers Market.
    • The Southern California Live Steamers Miniature Railroad is located at the Southeast corner of Charles H. Wilson Park. Free train rides on actual miniature live steam trains are given on the first Sunday and third Saturday of each month and the 4th of July. SCLS was one of the first live steam clubs in California started in 1946 with original members like Walt Disney, Olie Johnston and Ward Kimball all of Disney fame. The club moved to Torrance in 1986 after leaving the Lomita Railway Museum property.
Madrona Marsh1
Madrona Marsh Park, springtime in Torrance.
  • Madrona Marsh Wildlife Preserve & Nature Center — a rare Southern California wetlands habitat with higher Coastal sage community native plants areas, wildlife and birdwatching, and a Nature center with natural gardens classes – located centrally in the city.
  • Columbia Park — the large recreational urban regional park, with numerous picnic areas, field sports facilities, walking paths, jogging trails, and a competitive cross country running racecourse. The city's Cherry blossom tree grove, part of Living Tree Dedication program, is in Columbia Park.
  • Torrance Smart Gardening Center — Columbia Park features a Community Garden providing planting beds and "community" for residents. It is one of twelve county-operated Smart Gardening Centers around the region. Columbia Park additionally serves as home to the Home Garden Learning Center, and is a backyard composting demonstration center provided by Los Angeles County.
  • Living Tribute Trees park program — The Torrance Parks Living Dedication Tree Program is coordinated and by the city, so that families, individuals, and groups can sponsor the planting of a new tree in the park to honor a person or commemorate an event with a living tribute Tree Dedication.
  • Torrance Beach Park, and the beach along the Pacific Coast of Torrance, known as "RAT Beach".
  • Marvin Braude Bike Trail, a paved bicycle path that runs mostly along the Pacific Ocean shoreline in Los Angeles County, ends here.

Sister cities

In 1973, Torrance established a sister-city relationship with Kashiwa, Chiba, Japan, as part of the Sister Cities International program. Since then, citizens of Torrance have regularly engaged in cultural exchange with Kashiwa through the guidance of the Torrance Sister City Association, which facilitates a Japanese cultural festival, a yearly student exchange program, and contact between officials of the two cities. North High is the official sister high school of Kashiwa Municipal High.

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