Compton is a city located in Los Angeles County, California, United States. It is also often considered to be the heart of the South Los Angeles (also known as South Central Los Angeles) area. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 93,493. The city has at times been notorious for gang violence, a reputation perhaps exaggerated by the rise to prominence of local gangsta rap group NWA during the 1980s (see Straight Outta Compton). Currently the most feared and biggest gangs from Compton are the Latino gangs, Compton Tortilla Flats and Compton 13.
Even though Compton is often labeled as an "inner-city" community and is considered unattractive by many outsiders, Compton is nevertheless a city that is rich in culture and local pride.
Table of contents
- For information about Compton's tranportation and freeways, see the "Transportation" section.
Compton is located at 33°53'48" North, 118°13'30" West (33.896715, -118.225078)1.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 93,493 people, 22,327 households, and 18,620 families residing in the city. The population density is 3,563.5/km² (9,225.6/mi²). There are 23,795 housing units at an average density of 906.9/km² (2,348.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 40.31% Black or African American, 16.71% White, 0.70% Native American, 0.25% Asian, 1.05% Pacific Islander, 37.34% from other races, and 3.62% from two or more races. 56.84% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 22,327 households out of which 50.7% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.3% are married couples living together, 27.7% have a female householder with no husband present, and 16.6% are non-families. 13.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 5.5% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 4.16 and the average family size is 4.45.
In the city the population is spread out with 38.5% under the age of 18, 11.5% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 14.4% from 45 to 64, and 6.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 25 years. For every 100 females there are 96.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 91.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $31,819, and the median income for a family is $33,021. Males have a median income of $22,698 versus $24,692 for females. The per capita income for the city is $10,389. 28.0% of the population and 25.5% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 35.6% of those under the age of 18 and 14.7% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
The city of Compton is known as the "Hub City" because of its unique position in the center of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Five freeways outline the general boundaries of the city and provide superior access to destinations throughout the region. These include Interstate Highways 105, 110, 710, and 405, along with State Highway 91. The Long Beach and Los Angeles Ports are less than a 20 minutes' drive from downtown Compton, providing easy access to international destinations for customers, suppliers and leisure travelers. The Alameda Corridor, a passageway for 25% of all U.S. waterborne international trade, runs directly through the Compton from north to south.
Collectively, these multifaceted transportation links lend justification to the Citys familiar name "the Hub City."
Compton is notorious for being the city with the highest crime rate in all of California and 4th in the US,  and has a homicide rate about ten times higher than the national average, most of which are gang killings. The Crips and the Bloods are the most well-known gangs, but many other gangs also exist, which sometimes include both blacks and Latinos as members. The Morgan Quitno Corporation recently designated Compton as the seventh most dangerous city with a population of 75,000 or above. To make things worse, the Compton Police Department (CPD) was overloaded by the gang crimes that occur, which helped to lead to the downfall and dismantling of the department itself. Compton's policing needs are currently served by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. (See here)
Compton's crime is due mainly to its economic condition and its location as the center of the South Los Angeles "ghettos."
- The Heritage House serves as an important landmark of the Comtpon's rich history. Located at the corner of Alondra and Willowbrook near the Civic Center Plaza, the Heritage House is a rustic-looking home that will eventually house a museum detailing early life in Compton. For now it demarks the stark difference between the simple life of the 1800s and the fast-paced urban environment of the 21st century.
In 1784, the Spanish Crown deeded a tract of over 75,000 acres to Juan Jose Dominguez in this area. The tract was named Rancho San Pedro. Dominguez's name was later applied to the Dominguez Hills community south of Compton.
In 1867, Griffith D. Compton (1820–1905) led a group of settlers to the area in search of the mild Californian climate. The city was incorporated on May 11, 1888 and was named for Griffith D. Compton in commemoration.
Compton grew quickly in the 1900s. After the 1992 riots in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, many blacks left the region. Meanwhile, many Latino families moved in to Compton. Today, Latinos are the largest ethnic group in the city, although many people still think of Compton as a primarily "black" community.
- Maps and aerial photos