Westminster, California

Westminster is a city in northern Orange County, California known for its many Vietnamese refugees who immigrated to the city during the 1980s.[9] They settled largely in Little Saigon, and the city is known as the "capital" of overseas Vietnamese with 36,058 Vietnamese Americans and at 40.2% (2010), the highest municipal prevalence of Vietnamese Americans. Westminster was founded in 1870 by Rev. Lemuel Webber as a Presbyterian temperance colony and was incorporated in 1957.

Westminster, California
Asian Garden Mall (Phuoc Loc Tho), Tet 2008

"The City of Progress Built on Pride."[1]
Location of Westminster within Orange County, California.
Westminster, California
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 33°45′5″N 117°59′38″W
Country United States
State California
Incorporated (city)March 27, 1957[2]
  City council[3]Mayor Tri Ta
Kimberly Ho
Sergio Contreras
Tai Do
Chi Charlie Nguyen
  City managerEddie Manfro[4]
  Total10.04 sq mi (26.01 km2)
  Land10.04 sq mi (26.01 km2)
  Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)  0%
Elevation39 ft (12 m)
  Density9,118.20/sq mi (3,520.56/km2)
Time zoneUTC−8 (PST)
  Summer (DST)UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
Area codes657/714
FIPS code06-84550
GNIS feature IDs1652811, 2412236

Westminster is bordered by the city of Seal Beach on the west, by Garden Grove on the north and east, and by Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley on the south. Santa Ana, the county seat of Orange County, is right next to Westminster on the east but is divided by a small part of Garden Grove. Westminster borders the unincorporated area of Midway City, except for a small portion where Midway City borders Huntington Beach on the south.

Westminster won the All-America City Award in 1996.[10]

In the court case, Mendez v. Westminster, a Hispanic man sued the Westminster School District for forcing his daughter, Sylvia Mendez, to attend a run-down school because of her race. They eventually won and thus began the process of desegregation. Sylvia Mendez was later awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in February 15, 2011.


Westminster was founded in 1870 by Rev. Lemuel Webber as a Presbyterian temperance colony. The name is derived from the Westminster Assembly of 1643, which established the basic tenets of the Presbyterian faith. During the early years of its history, farmers refused to harvest grapes since they associated grapes with alcohol.

Westminster was incorporated in 1957, at which time it had 10,755 residents. Originally, the city was named Tri-City because it was to be the amalgamation of three cities: Westminster, Barber City, and Midway City. Midway City ultimately refused incorporation, leaving only Barber City to be absorbed into the newly incorporated Westminster. The former Barber City was located in the western portion of the current city of Westminster.


Westminster is located at 33°45′5″N 117°59′38″W (33.752418, -117.993938).[11] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.0 square miles (26 km2), all land. The San Diego Freeway and a short segment of the Garden Grove Freeway pass through Westminster.


Climate data for Westminster
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 69.1
Average low °F (°C) 46.9
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.18
Source: www.intellicast.com, September 2017[12]


Historical population
Est. 201890,938[8]1.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]


The 2010 United States Census[14] reported that Westminster had a population of 89,701. The population density was 8,926.5 people per square mile (3,446.5/km²). The racial makeup of Westminster was 32,037 (35.7%) White (25.6% Non-Hispanic White),[15] 849 (0.9%) African American, 397 (0.4%) Native American, 42,597 (47.5%) Asian, 361 (0.4%) Pacific Islander, 10,229 (11.4%) from other races, and 3,231 (3.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 21,176 persons (23.6%). A total of 36,058 residents were of Vietnamese ancestry (40.2% of city residents), the highest concentration of Vietnamese Americans of any community in the United States.

The Census reported that 89,031 people (99.3% of the population) lived in households, 381 (0.4%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 289 (0.3%) were institutionalized.

There were 26,164 households, out of which 10,759 (41.1%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 14,986 (57.3%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 3,681 (14.1%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,810 (6.9%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,114 (4.3%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 151 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 4,247 households (16.2%) were made up of individuals and 2,170 (8.3%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.40. There were 20,477 families (78.3% of all households); the average family size was 3.74.

The population was spread out with 20,920 people (23.3%) under the age of 18, 8,568 people (9.6%) aged 18 to 24, 24,065 people (26.8%) aged 25 to 44, 23,356 people (26.0%) aged 45 to 64, and 12,792 people (14.3%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.7 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.4 males.

There were 27,650 housing units at an average density of 2,751.5 per square mile (1,062.4/km²), of which 15,135 (57.8%) were owner-occupied, and 11,029 (42.2%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.5%; the rental vacancy rate was 7.3%. 51,408 people (57.3% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 37,623 people (41.9%) lived in rental housing units.

During 20092013, Westminster had a median household income of $52,633, with 16.7% of the population living below the federal poverty line.[15]


As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 88,207 people, 26,406 households, and 20,411 families residing in the city. The population density was 8,724.2 inhabitants per square mile (3,368.6/km²). There were 26,940 housing units at an average density of 2,664.5 per square mile (1,028.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 45.79% White, 0.99% African American, 0.61% Native American, 38.13% Asian, 0.46% Pacific Islander, 10.19% from other races, and 3.84% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 21.70% of the population.

There were 26,406 households out of which 37.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.4% were married couples living together, 12.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.7% were non-families. 16.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.32 and the average family size was 3.71.

In the city, the population was spread out with 25.9% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 32.6% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $49,450, and the median income for a family was $54,399. Males had a median income of $37,157 versus $28,392 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,218. About 10.7% of families and 13.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.0% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.


In the California State Legislature, Westminster is in the 34th Senate District, represented by Democrat Tom Umberg, and in the 72nd Assembly District, represented by Republican Tyler Diep.[17]

In the United States House of Representatives, Westminster is split between California's 47th congressional district, represented by Democrat Alan Lowenthal, and California's 48th congressional district, represented by Democrat Harley Rouda.[18]

It has a city council form of local government.[19]


Top employers

According to the city's 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[20] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of employees
1 Westminster School District 1029
2 Kindred Hospital-Westminster 450
3 Walmart 346
4 Target 325
5 City of Westminster 320
6 Macy's 300
7 Honda World 217
8 Westminster High School 200
9 J. C. Penney Co 185

Business sector

The city's major shopping mall is Westminster Mall, which consists of more than 180 stores. The mall is located south of the 405 freeway, between Goldenwest Street and Edwards Street. Westminster's Little Saigon community is home to the Asian Garden Mall (Phước Lộc Thọ), a large Asian mall.

Since joining the Sequential Brands company, the DVS Shoes footwear brand relocated from Torrance, California to Westminster. The company's headquarters is located on Fenwick Lane.[21]


Four school districts have boundaries that cover parts of Westminster:


  • A memorial and final resting place for the victims of the Pan Am plane involved in the Tenerife Disaster of March 27, 1977, is located in Westminster.
  • The Vietnam War Memorial is located Sid Goldstein Freedom Park, next to the Westminster Civic Center. The project was initiated by Westminster City Councilman Frank G. Fry in 1997 and completed in 2003.[22]
  • Final resting place for frontman Bradley Nowell of the band Sublime. Nowell died of a heroin overdose in his San Francisco hotel room on May 25, 1996.
  • A statue is dedicated to Trần Hưng Đạo, with the road Bolsa Avenue given an alternative name "Đại Lộ Trần Hưng Đạo", translating to "Trần Hưng Đạo Boulevard".

Notable people and groups


  1. "Westminster, California". Retrieved November 3, 2008.
  2. "California Cities by Incorporation Date". California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions. Archived from the original (Word) on November 3, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  3. "MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS". City of Westminster. Retrieved December 17, 2018.
  4. "City Manager". City of Westminster. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  5. "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  6. "Westminster". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  7. "Westminster (city) QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  8. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  9. "City of Westminster - History". www.ci.westminster.ca.us. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  10. "AAC Winners by State and City". National Civic League. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  11. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  12. "Westminster historic weather averages". Intellicast. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  13. "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  14. "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Westminster city". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  15. "Westminster (city) QuickFacts".
  16. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  17. "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
  18. "Communities of Interest - City". California Citizens Redistricting Commission. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  19. Do, Anh (August 28, 2019). "Infighting threatens Westminster's leadership and its Vietnamese American council majority". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  20. City of Westminster CAFR
  21. "Contact Us". DVS Shoes. DVS Shoes. December 2013. Retrieved December 9, 2013.
  22. "Vietnam War Memorial in Westminster". letsgoseeit.com.
  23. "Jeromy Burnitz Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  24. "Mike Burns Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  25. "Mark Eaton". Basketball-Reference.Com. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  26. "Ryan Klesko Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  27. Karnow, p. 457.
  28. "Indo-china: The Privileged Exiles". Time. May 12, 1975. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
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