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Downey, California

Downey is a city located in Los Angeles County, California 13 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 107,323.


Downey was founded by and named for the former governor of California, John Gately Downey, when he subdivided the land he owned between Rio Hondo and the San Gabriel River. The Southern Pacific Railroad arrived in 1873, and farmers in the area grew grain, corn, castor beans and fruit until around 1940.

Downey was incorporated in 1956, and instituted a charter form of government in 1964. Suburban homes and factories replaced the farms after World War II. Two of the largest employers were the Boeing and Rockwell aerospace facilities which produced some of the systems for the space shuttle. The seventy year history of airplane and space vehicle manufacturing in Downey came to an end when the Rockwell plant closed in 1999.

Downey is also the site of the world's oldest remaining McDonald's drive-in restaurant.


Downey is located at 33°56'17" North, 118°7'51" West (33.938164, -118.130801)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 32.6 km² (12.6 mi²). 32.2 km² (12.4 mi²) of it is land and 0.4 km² (0.2 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.35% water.

The cities of South Gate and Bell Gardens are adjacent to the west and northwest, Pico Rivera lies to the northeast, Santa Fe Springs and Norwalk to the east, and Paramount and Bellflower are to the south.

The city can be conveniently reached by any of four freeways: Interstate 105 with its Metro rail line passes through the southern part of the city, Interstate 5 and Interstate 605 pass along the eastern side, and Interstate 710 passes just west of the city.


As of the census of 2000, there are 107,323 people, 33,989 households, and 26,001 families residing in the city. The population density is 3,336.4/km² (8,641.7/mi²). There are 34,759 housing units at an average density of 1,080.6/km² (2,798.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 53.48% White, 3.75% African American, 0.87% Native American, 7.74% Asian, 0.22% Pacific Islander, 29.05% from other races, and 4.89% from two or more races. 57.85% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 33,989 households out of which 41.8% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.1% are married couples living together, 15.8% have a female householder with no husband present, and 23.5% are non-families. 19.1% of all households are made up of individuals and 8.1% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 3.11 and the average family size is 3.55.

In the city the population is spread out with 29.2% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 31.2% from 25 to 44, 18.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 32 years. For every 100 females there are 94.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 89.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $45,667, and the median income for a family is $50,017. Males have a median income of $35,991 versus $28,768 for females. The per capita income for the city is $18,197. 11.1% of the population and 9.3% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 14.4% are under the age of 18 and 7.6% are 65 or older.

Notable natives