Livingston is a city in Merced County, California. Livingston is located 7 miles (11 km) west-northwest of Atwater, at an elevation of 131 feet (40 m). According to the 2000 census, the city population was 10,473. As of 2008, the U. S. Census Bureau estimates the city population to be 13,400. Livingston's total area is 3.5 square miles (9.0 km²), including undeveloped farmland annexed in anticipation of future growth.
The Livingston post office opened in 1873, closed in 1882, and re-opened in 1883. The name honors Charles C. Livingston, who operated a station for the Southern Pacific Railroad.
Livingston lies in the fertile San Joaquin Valley. Like the rest of the valley, it has long, dry summers and depends on irrigation water. The winters are mild, alternating between fog, rain, and sun, with occasional frost. The growing season is long, and there is a low risk of mold, drought, or bad weather interfering with crops. Due to deposits from the Merced River, Livingston's soil is unusually sandy, distinguishing it from the clay-based soils predominant in most of the valley.
Livingston and Merced County are a center of the agriculture industry. Livingston's largest businesses are agriculture-related. Among these are the largest poultry producer in the western United States, Foster Farms, and a dairy, Joseph Gallo Farms, which owns the largest dairy herd in the United States. Ninety percent of the sweet potatoes grown west of the Rockies are grown and packed in and around Livingston. The sweet potatoes benefit from the sandy soil. Grapes are also widely farmed near Livingston for wine, raisins, and table grapes. E & J Gallo Winery operates a major grape-pressing facility just outside the city. Almond orchards are a common sight. Other crops are farmed in smaller quantities, including alfalfa, corn, soybeans, peaches, melons, and berries.
The League of Independent Workers of the San Joaquin Valley and United Farm Workers are active in the area.
Livingston Union School District serves 2,400 children in and around Livingston. The district operates three elementary schools, Campus Park Elementary School, Selma Herndon Elementary School, and Yamato Colony Elementary School. Most elementary-age children are within walking distance of a school. All three elementary schools offer some form of two-way immersion instruction designed to build proficiency in both English and Spanish. Livingston Middle School serves grades 6-8.
Livingston High School is part of Merced Union High School District and serves all of Livingston as well as students from the nearby communities of Delhi, Ballico, and Cressey. Livingston High School's foreign language department offers classes in Spanish, French, and Punjabi.
Longview Mennonite School serves many Mennonite students in the area.
In the 1990s, Livingston schools were at the center of a controversy involving Sikh students' right to wear ceremonial daggers known as kirpans under clothing while at school. In 1995, a Federal appellate court affirmed the right to wear the kirpan if certain safety precautions are followed.
The Livingston Chronicle is a weekly newspaper delivered on Wednesdays. The Chronicle publishes local happenings, especially Livingston High School academic and athletic events. The Merced Sun-Star and Modesto Bee are also widely read and cover Livingston news and events. All three newspapers are owned by The McClatchy Company. The San Francisco Chronicle is also available throughout the city.
Places of worship in Livingston and the immediately surrounding area include a Roman Catholic church, an Apostolic Assembly, an Assemblies of God church, a Southern Baptist church, a Church of Christ, Lutheran and United Methodist churches, a Mennonite church, a United Pentecostal Church, and two Sikh Gurdwaras.
The residents of Livingston are descended from people of many nations, including:
According to the census of 2000, there were 10,473 people, 2,390 households, and 2,143 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,019.8 people per square mile (1,165.3/km²). There were 2,449 housing units at an average density of 706.2/sq mi (272.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 36.52% White, 0.74% African American, 0.93% Native American, 14.45% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 41.54% from other races, and 5.76% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 71.81% of the population.
There were 2,390 households out of which 60.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 68.2% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 10.3% were non-families. 8.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 4.37 and the average family size was 4.57.
In the city the population was spread out with 37.7% under the age of 18, 12.5% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 15.2% from 45 to 64, and 6.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females there were 101.0 males. For every 100 women age 18 and over, there are 99.3 men.
The median income for a household in the city was $32,500, and the median income for a family was $33,939. Males had a median income of $22,249 versus $19,693 for females. The per capita income for the city was $9,231. About 20.8% of families and 25.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.7% of those under age 18 and 20.9% of those age 65 or over.
In the state legislature Livingston is located in the 12th Senate District, represented by Republican Jeff Denham, and in the 17th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Cathleen Galgiani. Federally, Livingston is located in California's 18th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +3 and is represented by Democrat Dennis Cardoza.