Pico Rivera (founded in 1784) was incorporated in 1958 from the merger of the long-standing unincorporated communities of Pico (named for Pío Pico, the last Mexican governor of California) and Rivera. Situated on a rich alluvial plain between the Rio Hondo and the San Gabriel River, the area was once predominantly agricultural, but since the 1950s it has been primarily residential. Pico Rivera lies below the Whittier Narrows, making it one of the "Gateway Cities."
The north side of the city is home to the Pico Rivera Sports Arena, where concerts and sports are occasionally held.
A number of good parks dot the landscape, including Rivera Park on Shade Lane, Smith Park on Rosemead and Mines, Pico Park on Beverly Blvd, Rio Vista Park, and Stream Land park at the North end of Durfee Road.
Pico Rivera is located at It is bordered by Downey on the southwest, Santa Fe Springs on the southeast, Whittier on the east, City of Industry on the northeast, Montebello on the northwest, and Commerce on the west. As Rosemead and Lakewood Boulevards, State Route 19 runs through the center of the city, and the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) runs along its southeastern edge.(33.989013, -118.089121).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.9 square kilometres (8.8 sq mi). 21.5 square kilometres (8.3 sq mi) of it is land and 1.4 square kilometres (0.54 sq mi) of it (6.22%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 63,428 people, 16,468 households, and 13,866 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,950.6/km² (7,645.7/mi²). There were 16,807 housing units at an average density of 781.8/km² (2,026.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 49.44% White, 0.71% African American, 1.35% Native American, 2.65% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 40.28% from other races, and 5.44% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 88.29% of the population.
There were 16,468 households out of which 43.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.7% were married couples living together, 17.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 15.8% were non-families. 12.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.83 and the average family size was 4.12.
In the city the population was spread out with 31.0% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 17.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 96.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $41,564, and the median income for a family was $45,422. Males had a median income of $29,397 versus $24,491 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,011. About 11.6% of families and 12.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.0% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.
In the state legislature Pico Rivera is located in the 30th Senate District, represented by Democrat Ronald S. Calderon, and in the 58th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Charles M. Calderon. Federally, Pico Rivera is located in California's 38th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +20 and is represented by Democrat Grace Napolitano. The current city council consists of Mayor Ron Beilke, Mayor Pro Tem Gracie Gallegos-Smith, Bob Archuleta, David Armenta and Gregory Salcido. The city has a council/city manager form of government. The title of Mayor is a ceremonial position that is changed each year within the council.
There has been frequent redevelopment in the city of late, starting with the opening of a mega-shopping complex along Washington Blvd, bringing well-known businesses such as Starbucks, the Borders Group bookstore, Walmart, Walgreens, a newly added Del Taco and other businesses into the city.
New developments include the Krikorian Theatres at the corner of Paramount Boulevard and Whittier Boulevard as well as a new Rite-Aid at the former Lucky's supermarket site on Durfee Avenue and Whittier Boulevard. A state of the art LA Fitness, Fresh and Easy market, Rubios, Round Table Pizza, Juice It Up and other businesses have opened up at the former Kmart site at the corner of Washington and Rosemead Boulevards.
As of April 1, 2009, the City of Pico Rivera imposes a 10.25-percent sales tax (statewide plus local supplementary), which matches South Gate's sales tax rate as the highest in the State of California.
There was a 157-acre (0.64 km2) manufacturing facility located at the corner of Rosemead and Washington boulevards which was owned and operated by the Ford Motor Company. The plant closed in 1980 and was purchased by Northrop Grumman in 1982 for its Advanced Systems Division. Upon the unveiling of the B-2 Spirit bomber in 1988, it was revealed that much of the development for the former black project had in fact occurred at the site. In the early 1990s, the division was renamed the B-2 Division to reflect its most famous product. At its peak, the project employed approximately 13000 workers in Pico Rivera. The site closed and demolished in 2001 and is now a large retail center, anchored by WalMart and Lowes.
Fire protection in Pico Rivera is provided by the Los Angeles County Fire Department with ambulance transport by Care Ambulance Service. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department provides law enforcement.