Named for prominent industrialist Henry Huntington, Huntington Park was incorporated in 1906 as a streetcar suburb for workers in the rapidly expanding industries to the southeast of downtown Los Angeles. (To this day, about 30% of its residents work at factories in nearby Vernon and Commerce.) The stretch of Pacific Boulevard in downtown Huntington Park was a major commercial district serving the city's largely working-class residents, as well as those of neighboring cities such as Bell, Cudahy, South Gate, and Downey. As with most of the other cities along the corridor stretching along the Los Angeles River to the south and southeast of downtown Los Angeles, Huntington Park was an almost exclusively white community during most of its history; Alameda Street and Slauson Avenue, which were fiercely defended segregation lines in the 1950s, separated it from black areas.
The changes that shaped Los Angeles from the late 1970s onward—the decline of American manufacturing that began in the 1970s; the rapid growth of newer suburbs in Orange County, the eastern San Gabriel, western San Fernando and Conejo valleys; the collapse of the aerospace and defense industry at the end of the Cold War; and the implosion of the Southern California real estate boom in the early 1990s—resulted in the wholesale departure of virtually all of the white population of Huntington Park by the mid-1990s. The vacuum was filled almost entirely by two groups of Latinos: upwardly mobile families eager to leave the barrios of East Los Angeles, and recent Mexican immigrants. Today, Pacific Boulevard is once again a thriving commercial strip, serving once again as a major retail center for working-class residents of southeastern Los Angeles County—but unlike its previous heyday of the 1930s, the signs along the avenue's storefronts are now primarily in Spanish.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.8 km² (3.0 mi²), all land.
According to the census of 2000, there were 61,348 people, 14,860 households, and 12,660 families residing in the city. The population density was 7,817.4/km² (20,252.4/mi²). There were 15,335 housing units at an average density of 1,954.1/km² (5,062.4/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 41.4% White, 0.8% Black or African American, 1.0% Native American, 0.80% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 51.1% from other races, and 4.9% from two or more races. 95.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 14,860 households out of which 58.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.4% were married couples living together, 20.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 14.8% were non-families. 10.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 4.12 and the average family size was 4.34.
In the city the population was spread out with 35.8% under the age of 18, 13.0% from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 13.8% from 45 to 64, and 5.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females there were 100.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $28,941, and the median income for a family was $29,844. Males had a median income of $21,039 versus $16,733 for females. The per capita income for the city was $9,340. About 23.3% of families and 25.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.5% of those under age 18 and 18.7% of those age 65 or over.