Paramount is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. According to the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 55,266. Paramount is part of the Greater Los Angeles Area. The city is bordered by Compton and Lynwood to the west, South Gate and Downey to the north, Bellflower to the east and south, and Long Beach to the south.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.5 km² (4.8 mi²). 12.3 km² (4.7 mi²) of it is land and 0.3 km² (0.1 mi²) of it (2.07%) is water.
The city today known as Paramount was originally identified in 1781 by Spanish settlers of New Spain. It was organized under two old Spanish Ranchos; on the west, Rancho San Pedro, and on the east, Rancho Los Nietos (now portions of the cities of Santa Fe Springs and Whittier). These ranchos were established under the Spanish Empire and granted by King Carlos III in 1784. In 1834, Rancho Los Nietos was partitioned into five smaller ranchos including Rancho Los Cerritos and Rancho Los Alamitos, which both encompased parts of Paramount.
After the Mexican-American War California was ceded to the United States. The then-unincorporated community of Paramount was created in 1948 when the United States Postmaster General ordered the merger of the post offices of Hynes and Clearwater (Pitt 1997:381). The name was taken from Paramount Boulevard, the main north-to-south surface street extending through the city. The city officially incorporated January 30, 1957 following a successful "Save Paramount for Paramount" campaign to fight annexation by Long Beach, Bellflower, and South Gate.
While the Paramount economy was based largely on the hay and dairy industries, the high cost of land led to their local demise. The last Paramount dairy closed in 1977.
As of the census of 2000, there were 55,266 people, 13,972 households, and 11,331 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,511.3/km² (11,678.3/mi²). There were 14,591 housing units at an average density of 1,191.0/km² (3,083.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 34.70% White, 13.59% African American, 1.06% Native American, 3.35% Asian, 0.84% Pacific Islander, 41.69% from other races, and 4.78% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 72.28% of the population.
There were 13,972 households out of which 55.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.3% were married couples living together, 21.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.9% were non-families. 14.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.93 and the average family size was 4.31.
In the city the population was spread out with 36.9% under the age of 18, 12.0% from 18 to 24, 31.9% from 25 to 44, 14.0% from 45 to 64, and 5.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females there were 96.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $36,749, and the median income for a family was $37,276. Males had a median income of $27,730 versus $22,472 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,487. About 19.1% of families and 21.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.5% of those under age 18 and 10.5% of those age 65 or over.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department provided law enforcement from a substation in Paramount and a regional station in Lakewood. However, the city upgraded its substation to full station in 2006. Fire protection in Paramount is provided by the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
In the state legislature Paramount is located in the 27th Senate District, represented by Democrat Alan Lowenthal, and in the 52nd Assembly District, represented by Democrat Mervyn M. Dymally. Federally, Paramount is located in California's 39th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +13 and is represented by Democrat Linda Sánchez.
The United States Postal Service Paramount Beach Post Office is located at 7200 Somerset Boulevard.
The Century Freeway (Interstate 105) passes east-west through the northern portion of Paramount, the Long Beach Freeway (Interstate 710) follows north-south along the city's western border, and the Artesia Freeway (State Route 91) runs east-west less than a one-half-mile from the southern Paramount city limits.
Paramount is served by bus service from Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA) and Long Beach Transit. The city also operates Easy Rider Shuttle, a fixed-route local bus.
The Paramount Unified School District includes schools in Paramount, as well as a few in surrounding cities.
The schools located within Paramount are Paramount High School-senior and west campus, Alondra, Lincoln, Wirtz, Jefferson, Mokler, Zamboni, Los Cerritos, Gaines, Jackson, Hollydale, Tanner, Roosevelt, and Paramount Park. Schools that are run by the Paramount Unified school District, but are located in Lakewood include Buena Vista Continuation High School and Lakewood school. Collins school is also run by PUSD but is located in Long Beach.
Our Lady of the Rosary Private Catholic School is one of several private schools located in Paramount.
County of Los Angeles Public Library operates the Paramount Library.
The Paramount Hay Tree is a California State Historical Landmark. It is a still standing mature camphor tree remembered for its importance to the hay trading marketplace of the towns of Hynes and Clearwater, which later incorporated as Paramount. The hay traders met under the tree each working day to discuss the price of hay. Their numbers were quoted by the New York mercantile markets as the global hay standard.
Paramount is also home of the Zamboni. Frank Joseph Zamboni Jr. is the inventor of the ice resurfacing machine. Zamboni & Co. began and is still headquartered in Paramount. Zamboni manufactures and sells the machines world wide. Since 1939 the Zamboni family has also operated Iceland, an ice skating rink with improvements patented by Frank Zamboni.