Arvin, California

Arvin is a city in Kern County, California, in the United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 12,956. Wired telephone numbers in Arvin follow the format (661) 854-xxxx and the ZIP Code is 93203.

In 2007, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed Arvin as having the highest levels of smog of any community in the United States. The city's ozone level, smog's primary component, exceeded the EPA's acceptable limits an average of 73 days per year between 2004 and 2006.


Property sales of lots in present-day Arvin began in 1907. The Arvin Post Office was established in 1914 and the community incorporated as a city in 1960. The city was named after Arvin Richardson, who was an area postmaster in the early 1900s. The Arvin Tiller started publication in 1939 and Arvin High School was built in 1949. The city was nearly destroyed on July 21, 1952, when the White Wolf Fault ruptured, causing a magnitude 7.3 earthquake. Arvin suffered further damage on December 20, 1977, when a massive duststorm hit the area.

The Arvin Migratory Labor Camp was the first federally operated farm labor camp opened by the Farm Security Administration in 1937, one of many New Deal programs created during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt to respond to the Great Depression.


Arvin is located at (35.204638, -118.832194).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.8 square miles (12.5 km²), all of it land.


As of the census of 2000, there were 12,956 people, 3,010 households, and 2,645 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,695.9 people per square mile (1,040.0/km²). There were 3,145 housing units at an average density of 654.4/sq mi (252.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 45.04% White, 1.08% Black or African American, 1.46% Native American, 1.10% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 46.55% from other races, and 4.65% from two or more races. 87.53% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,010 households out of which 63.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.7% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 12.1% were non-families. 9.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 4.28 and the average family size was 4.51.

In the city the population was spread out with 40.0% under the age of 18, 12.8% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 12.5% from 45 to 64, and 5.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 23 years. For every 100 females there were 111.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 108.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $23,674, and the median income for a family was $24,816. Males had a median income of $20,506 versus $17,684 for females. The per capita income for the city was $7,408. About 30.9% of families and 32.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 37.6% of those under age 18 and 23.1% of those age 65 or over.


Arvin's large Hispanic (mostly Mexican) cultural identity is well expressed in store front signs often in Spanish, shops and stores like carnicerias or meat markets, and the residents expressed a strong emotional pull to Mexico, some to Central and South America, and descendants of Basques arrived from Spain as shepherds and vineyard workers also made Arvin their home. The city developed a reputation as a majority Hispanic community in the late 20th century as a result of high Mexican and Central American immigration (farm migrant labor) into an once "all-white" farming community.

Arvin was also a major area of choice for previous waves of Asian (i.e. Chinese, Filipinos and Japanese) and European (mainly Armenian, German and Italian) immigrants, plus the Okies arrived from the dust bowl stricken Great Plains in the 1930s came to work in agriculture. Delano has a large number of local American Indians found in the Spanish-speaking or Latino population, and a sizable East Indian American community whose families are from India or of Pakistani origin.


Educational institutions in Arvin include Di Giorgio Elementary School, Sierra Vista Elementary School, Bear Mountain Elementary School, El Camino Real Elementary School, Haven Drive Middle School, Arvin High School and including Lamont State University (LSU) and Lamont Community College (LCC).


  • Bailey, Richard C., Kern County Place Names, (Bakersfield, California: Merchant's Printing and Lithography Co., 1967).
  • United States Postal Service web site, 2006.

Photos of Arvin area

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