Sunday, May 10, 2009

Latinos now the majority in Anaheim

One of the unusual — and often frustrating — things about being from or discussing Orange County is that it has the unusual status of being a municipality where its identity is stronger as a county than as any one city, something that non-OCers, especially non-Californians, have a bit of trouble getting their head around. 

Orange County broke away from Los Angeles County in 1890, and from its humble roots of mostly citrus groves and vegetable patches (Richard Nixon was born on the family's lemon farm in the northern OC town of Yorba Linda), it grew and grew as suburbs radiated out from the central OC cities of Santa Ana and then Anaheim, until the westward-expanding tracts eventually collided with Los Angeles County cities' eastward expansion. Even now, OC's urbanized land is spreading south to meet — were it not for Camp Pendleton between them — northward-creeping San Diego County. 

[above: "I am not an Angeleno."]

So what you have is a municipality of over 3 million people divided into over thirty cities, but with none having much more than 10% of the population. And that makes it hard for one city to claim to represent the Big Orange.  

If, say, Santa Ana or Anaheim had over a million people, OCers might be content with saying they're from the Santa Ana area or the Anaheim area, but with 9 of 10 OCers not being from any one city, that really doesn't make sense. More and more, Orange County residents say we're "from Orange County" or "from OC" (we say "the O.C." only ironically), but the Census Bureau, sports networks, etc., try to stick a city-based label on us, usually calling us "Anaheim," "Santa Ana," or "Anaheim-Santa Ana-Garden Grove-Huntington Beach-Irvine Metropolitan Area." 

Geez, why make it so damn hard? 

[above: Even our homeless are stylish and sexy. And entirely White.]

Anyway, that longer-than-intended explanation is to dive into what is notable news: Anaheim, long the quintessential Orange County city and the home to some of its most famous things (e.g., Disneyland, the Angels, the Mighty Ducks), has now become a majority Hispanic city:
Anaheim's Latino population has more than tripled since 1980 and now stands at 186,000, making Orange County's second-largest city the latest to become majority Latino -- at 54.5% -- according to new census estimates.

But unlike Southern California's impoverished gateways for Latino immigration -- such as Los Angeles' Pico-Union neighborhood or Santa Ana, one of the nation's most heavily Latino large cities, whose proportion of foreign-born residents has been ranked second only to Miami's -- Anaheim is pointed toward a future as a middle-class Latino community like Whittier and Downey, demographers say.

Some, like Perez, point to the emergence of a new social order, one in which a full spectrum of Latinos can find a place, from the recent immigrant to the newly minted middle-class family.

"So maybe there's been an exodus of middle-class people from other backgrounds," said Perez, a political director for a union. "But now there's larger diversity for Latinos . . . there's more access socially."

The population shift puts Anaheim, a city of 342,000, ahead of Los Angeles and Riverside in percentage of Latino residents.

Anaheim today is a sprawling community that stretches from the upscale neighborhoods of Anaheim Hills on the east side to the cramped apartments and aging 1950s-era houses on the west. It's a place where the manicured resort district and bustling sports arenas are for tourists and the bustling flea markets and Sunday afternoon lucha libre wrestling matches are increasingly for the locals.
There's a lot more history in the rest of the article, so give it a read. 

[above: I swear this photo was on the first page of my Google image search for "Anaheim + Hispanics." Really, swear! I'm guessing she was temporarily employed at the Anaheim Convention Center, just in case you're wondering.]

For me, Irvine is still my preferred place to live, and I hope that someday I may be able to convert the value of my Seoul apartment into a home in that oh-so-boring planned community (though central California's Merced is a greater likelihood in my near future). 

San Juan Capistrano, Seal Beach, and San Clemente are also nice. Anaheim would be okay if I can't quite afford a home in one of those areas (I'd like to buy a house without getting a mortgage; I'm that lazy). I could move to La Palma and paint my house some color scheme straight out of a Buddhist temple in Korea. Cerritos, socioeconomically similar to OC but just outside its western border near La Palma, is also a nice option. I could hang out with Wangkon and date his sister. 


  1. 150+ years after the start of the War with Mexico, we are losing it. One thing that suprises me about US history is how the government does not understand what the consequences of their actions are. Immigration, and not only hispanic immigration, may rip apart the nation one day. I see so many comparisons with Rome. The founding fathers idealized Rome and many of its tenants are still with us. But I feel the downfall of the US may by the same as for Rome: inability to control their border. (there were, of course, a myriad of other factors in Rome's fall).

  2. nb, did you read the entire article? The Hispanics in Anaheim are middle class folks, not undocumented workers who have come up, unless they worked their asses off to get middle class and buy a house (houses are cheaper in western Anaheim than in much of the rest of OC, but if people are putting in a lot of hard work, that seems they've adopted the Protestant work ethic, no?

    Can you explain what mechanisms you think will cause things like what we see in Anaheim leading to the downfall of the US?

  3. Umm what is the point of her posing like that on the car?

    Where they selling free vajajas* with every purchase of a car?

    *A vajaja is a woman's private part located in the South region of the body, and also the word Oprah came up with to describe it.

  4. Typo.....I meant to type "Were" not "Where".

  5. Yeah, it's been a while, cjlatina, but I still do know what a vajaja is. I've forgotten what they look like or how they operate, but I do know what they are!

    I didn't know that Oprah invented the term, though. She probably also coined "the Big O," that narcissistic bitch. (Ha ha... If she'd waited on that one, it could have been used for Obama).

    Anyway, your comment about a free vajaja with every purchase of a car reminds me of Homer Simpson at the auto show in "Mr. Plow."

    He asks, " Do you come with the car?" To which the car model says, "Oh, you!" and then laughs in a Betty Boop-esque way. She responds this way to each and every customer, because all of them come up and — thinking they're clever — ask the same thing.

    It must really suck to be a car model.

  6. "and date his sister"

    If you wanna die, yeah... ;)

  7. Edward (wangkon) wrote:
    If you wanna die, yeah... ;)

    You either mean you'll kill me if I date your sister or your sister is some kind of homicidal maniac. Knowing your mild-mannered personality, I'm guessing the later.

    Oh, and on second read, I just noticed some writing on her shirt:

    Must be a salsa studio of some kind.

    Oh, and speaking of vajayjays.


Share your thoughts, but please be kind and respectful. My mom reads this blog.