Pacoima is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the northern San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles. It covers an area of 7.14 square miles and has a population of over 81,000 people, with a density of approximately 10,510 people per square mile.
Pacoima is bordered by the Los Angeles districts of Mission Hills on the west, Arleta on the south, Sun Valley on the southeast, Lake View Terrace on the northeast, and by the city of San Fernando on the north.
Pacoima’s written history dates to 1769 when the first party of white men crossed the valley on their way to Monterey Bay. After the founding of Mission San Fernando Rey in 1771, the Indians were forced to learn Catholicism or face severe punishment. They lived at the mission and were forced to farm the large gardens of the mission which, in a few years, had stretched out over most of the valley.
The Mexican government secularized the mission lands in 1834 by taking them away from the church. The first governor of California, Pio Pico, leased the lands to Andrés Pico, his brother. In 1845, Pio Pico sold the whole San Fernando Valley to Don Eulogio de Celis for $14,000 to raise money for the war between Mexico and the United States, settled by a treaty signed at Campo de Cahuenga in 1845, and by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. The Pacoima area became sheep ranches and wheat fields.
In the 1990 U.S. Census the unemployment rate in Pacoima was almost 14%, while the City of Los Angeles had an overall 8.4% overall unemployment rate. Many Pacoima residents who worked made less than $14,000 annually: the U.S. government’s poverty line for a family of four. Most residents owned their houses.
In 2008, the city estimated that the population was 81,318.
Just 4.2% of Pacoima residents aged 25 and older had earned a four-year degree by 2000, a low percentage for the city and the county. The 2010 U.S. census counted 103,689 residents in Pacoima’s 91331 zip code. The median age was 29.5, and the median yearly household income at that time was $49,842.
Red Cross is the “talk of the town” and Red Cross volunteers are now recognized across the community.