The city derives its name from a mispronunciation of belle fleur, a variety of apple tree. Originally settled by dairy farmers of Dutch, Japanese, and Portuguese descent, Bellflower and neighboring Paramount served as the milk production centers for Southern California until soaring post-World War II property values motivated most of the farmers to move several miles east to the Dairy Valley/Dairyland area (now the cities of Cerritos and La Palma). Seemingly overnight, the city's pastures and farms were replaced by sprawling subdivisions of inexpensive, largely prefabricated single-story houses. In the 1950s and 1960s, Bellflower Boulevard, the city's main thoroughfare, was a thriving commercial strip. However, suburban growth in Orange County and the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys made Bellflower's relatively humble housing tracts decidedly unattractive, and by the 1990s much of its original population--and the businesses that served it--had left and the city is begining to show signs of urban problems. The departed were replaced by just about every ethnicity imaginable, to the extent that the "A-B-C" region, formed by Bellflower and neighboring Artesia and Cerritos, is considered one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse in the United States; therefore do not expect to converse in English and celebrate the diversity which is everything but American. Bellflower Boulevard has never recovered much of its previous business traffic, and is now lined with few shops advertising in two dozen language
Bellflower is located at GR1.(33.888165, -118.127604)
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 72,878 people, 23,367 households, and 17,128 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,635.6/km² (11,999.5/mi²). There were 24,247 housing units at an average density of 1,542.3/km² (3,992.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 46.09% White, 13.09% Black or African American, 0.92% Native American, 9.69% Asian, 0.70% Pacific Islander, 24.38% from other races, and 5.13% from two or more races. 43.23% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 23,367 households out of which 43.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.0% were married couples living together, 19.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.7% were non-families. 21.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.09 and the average family size was 3.59.
In the city the population was spread out with 31.9% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 32.0% from 25 to 44, 17.4% from 45 to 64, and 8.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 95.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $39,362, and the median income for a family was $42,822. Males had a median income of $32,658 versus $28,012 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,982. About 12.8% of families and 15.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.7% of those under age 18 and 10.0% of those age 65 or over.
Fire protection in Bellflower is provided by the Los Angeles County Fire Department from stations 23 and 98. Ambulance transport is provided by Care Ambulance Service. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department provides law enforcement from a substation in Bellflower and the regional station in Lakewood.