Pomona is a city in Los Angeles County, California, at the western edge of the Pomona Valley branch of the Inland Empire region since nearly the entire city is physically located east of the San Jose/Puente Hills. It may also be considered part of the San Gabriel Valley since it is at the eastern edge of Los Angeles County, whenever the Los Angeles/San Bernardino County border is used as the dividing line between the San Gabriel Valley and the Inland Empire. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 149,473. In 2005, its population was estimated as 160,815 . Pomona is the 5th largest city in Los Angeles County (after Los Angeles, Long Beach, Glendale, and Santa Clarita).
Pomona is well known as the location of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona). This university was established on the site of breakfast cereal magnate W.K. Kellogg's massive ranch located on the city's west side. It is also the home of the Los Angeles County fairgrounds. While a fair in the nation's most populous county might seem quaint, Cal Poly is one of several major agricultural research facilities in the state, and the fair's livestock exhibits are a noted attraction. (Other major California agriculture schools include California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, Fresno State, UC Davis, and Chico State.)
Since the 1980s, Pomona's newest neighborhood Phillips Ranch, experienced rapid growth with demands of new housing units increased. Homes are still being built in the hilly area between Downtown and Diamond Bar. Today, Phillips Ranch is nearly all residential. Northern Pomona has seen some gentrification with additional housing units added and revamped streetscapes.
Aside from Pomona's educational assets, Pomona is also known for its hosting of the NHRA Powerade Winternationals Drag Racing venue.
The city is named for Pomona, the ancient Roman goddess of fruit. In typical Southern California fashion of the 1870s, boosters gave the town this name before a single orange tree had been planted within its boundaries. By the 1880s, however, the arrival of railroads and Coachella Valley water had made it the western anchor of the citrus-growing region that encompassed most of what is now known unofficially as the Inland Empire. Pomona was officially incorporated on January 1, 1888. Because Pomona is part of the 909 telephone area code which includes many of the communities in the Inland Empire, and because of the San Jose Hills on Pomona's western city limit that creates a physical/psychological 'barrier' between Pomona and the rest of Los Angeles County, it would not be unusual to include Pomona within the definition of the Inland Empire. In 2005, Pomona citizens elected Norma Torres, the first woman of Guatemalan heritage to be elected to a mayoral post outside of Guatemala.
Pomona is a very diverse city, with pockets of high-end housing near the Fairplex in the Ganesha Park neighborhood, well kept historic homes in the Lincoln Park, Wilton Heights, and Hacienda Park neighborhoods in the center of the city, and master planned development in the Phillips Ranch section. However, much of the southeastern part of Pomona is densely populated tracts of apartments and single family homes. These neighborhoods are fairly poor and often have high levels of gang activity, graffiti, and crime. The Downtown was moribund for decades, but has since experienced a resurgence with concert halls, nightclubs, and art galleries improving the area's nightlife. High priced lofts have been developed in the Downtown and are selling well. Downtown Pomona and other areas have trouble enticing commercial development because of the city's reputation for crime.
The majority of Pomona's population consist of Latinos, a great number from Mexico and Central America, and the main industry that attracts immigrants is manufacturing and other low-paying service jobs. There is a historically significant concentration of blacks in the northern part of town, although many of them have continued to move east to places like Rialto and Riverside. Also there is a fairly large Vietnamese American community located in south Pomona (right by Phllips Ranch), including a Buddhist temple, and many young Chinese American and Vietnamese Americans students who attend local universities. As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 149,473 people, 37,855 households, and 29,791 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,526.8/km² (6,544.3/mi²). There were 39,598 housing units at an average density of 669.4/km² (1,733.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 41.76% White, 9.63% African American, 1.26% Native American, 7.20% Asian, 0.21% Pacific Islander, 34.93% from other races, and 5.01% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 64.47% of the population.
There were 37,855 households out of which 49.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.7% were married couples living together, 16.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.3% were non-families. 15.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.82 and the average family size was 4.22.
In the city the population was spread out with 34.6% under the age of 18, 13.0% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 15.5% from 45 to 64, and 6.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females there were 102.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.1 males.
The total employment for Pomona as of 2005 is 57,870. The top employers include Pomona Unified School District, California State Polytechnic University, Hamilton Sundstrund, Pomona Valley Medical Center, Lanterman Developmental Center, and Casa Colina, a large residential facility for mentally challenged persons.
The median income for a household in the city was $40,021, and the median income for a family was $40,852. Males had a median income of $30,195 versus $26,135 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,336. About 17.1% of families and 21.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.4% of those under age 18 and 11.7% of those age 65 or over.
Pomona and some of the surrounding area are served by the Pomona Unified School District. Pomona has been criticized for its construction of Diamond Ranch High School in the city's more affluent area of Phillips Ranch while ignoring its other underperfoming high schools such as Garey, Ganesha and Pomona High Schools. Pomona contains a mix of both public and private schools. There are two private schools that are located on Holt Blvd, being St. Joseph Elementary School and Pomona Catholic High School. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona is located southwest of the junction of the 10 and 57 freeways.