Placentia is a city in northern Orange County, California. The population was 46,488 at the 2000 census. The 2004 population estimate for Placentia is 49,949. GR2 This includes the community of Atwood, which is included in the city of Placentia, and is located in its southernmost quadrants.
In 1837, the Mexican Governor in charge of what is now Southern California granted a grand swath of land to Juan Ontiveros called El Rancho San Juan Cajon de Santa Ana, comprising the modern cities of Anaheim, Fullerton, La Habra, Placentia and Yorba Linda.
In 1865, Daniel Kraemer was the first Anglo pioneer to come to the area. He acquired 3,900 acres (16 km²). In 1868, William McFadden and Sarah Ann McFadden purchased 100 acres (400,000 m²). The town was named "Placentia" by Sarah Ann McFadden in 1876. The word comes from a Latin word meaning "a pleasant place to live."
In 1910, A. S. Bradford convinced the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway to re-route a track through Placentia on its way to Los Angeles. The railroad station, combined with the city’s growing agricultural industry (citrus, walnuts, avocados and grapes), put Placentia on the map. Bradford was also the person who laid out the city streets.
By 1926, there were 500 residents and they voted for incorporation. By 1960, Placentia's population had increased to only 5,000, but as Orange County suburbanized in the following decade, it swelled to 25,000. Currently, Placentia boasts 45,000 residents.
By the 1990s, Placentia's downtown had become somewhat run-down in comparison to those of its neighbors; city officials pinned much of the blame on the railroad tracks that had once brought the town so much prosperity, but were now largely occupied by trains barrelling through town on their way to the Midwest from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Inspired by the Alameda Corridor project in southern Los Angeles, Placentia created a project, OnTrac, that called for the tracks to be rerouted through a concrete-lined ditch approximately ten feet below grade level, reducing noise and increasing safety via the elimination of grade crossings. However, fiscal mismanagement and the withdrawal of promised federal funds resulted instead in the project nearly bankrupting the city, which was forced to drastically curtail services. As of Fall of 2005 the city has abandoned plans to sink railroad tracks into trenches due to a lack of federal funding. The city has instead decided to build over/underpasses along 4 major intersections in an effort to ease traffic. The new plans will cost an estimated $170 million as compared to the $543 million originally needed to sink the railroad tracks.
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 46,488 people, 15,037 households, and 11,683 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,723.7/km² (7,051.3/mi²). There were 15,326 housing units at an average density of 897.9/km² (2,324.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 67.76% White, 1.77% African American, 0.83% Native American, 11.16% Asian, 0.18% Pacific Islander, 14.72% from other races, and 3.58% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 31.10% of the population.
There were 15,037 households out of which 37.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.5% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.3% were non-families. 16.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.07 and the average family size was 3.42.
In the city the population was spread out with 27.0% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 32.0% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 9.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 98.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $62,803, and the median income for a family was $68,976. Males had a median income of $46,956 versus $34,184 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,843. About 5.7% of families and 8.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.2% of those under age 18 and 5.7% of those age 65 or over.