Featuring a heavy concentration of industry and the third-largest oil field in the United States, it is considered sparsely populated in comparison with the city as a whole. It is notable for its youthful population and its high percentage of Latino and foreign-born residents.
Wilmington dates its history back to a 1784 Spanish land grant. It became a separate city in 1863, and joined the city of Los Angeles in 1909. Points of interest include the U.S. Army headquarters for Southern California and the Arizona territory during the Civil War.
A total of 51,517 people were living within Wilmington's 9.14 square miles, according to the 2000 U.S. census—averaging 5,636 people per square mile, among the lowest population densities in the city as a whole. The median age was 24, considered young for Los Angeles. The percentages of people from birth through age 34 were among the county's highest. Population was estimated at 54,512 in 2008.
Wilmington is not considered very diverse ethnically, with a diversity index of 0.245. In 2000, Latinos made up 86.6% of the population, while whites were at 6.4%, Asians at 4.8%, blacks at 2.6% and others at 1.7%. Mexico and Guatemala were the most common places of birth for the 44.5% of the residents who were born abroad, considered a high percentage of foreign-born when compared with the city and the county as a whole.
The $40,627 median household income in 2008 dollars was average for the city. Renters occupied 61.5% of the housing units, with homeowners occupying the rest. In 2000 there were 1,524 military veterans, or 4.6% of the population, relatively low in comparison to the city and county as a whole.
The Port of Los Angeles district of Wilmington was included in the 1784 Spanish land grant of Rancho San Pedro.Phineas Banning acquired the land that would become Wilmington from Manuel Dominguez, heir of the original concession holder Juan Jose Dominguez, in 1858 to build a harbor for the city of Los Angeles. Known as New San Pedro from 1858 to 1863, it was subsequently named Wilmington by “Father of the Harbor”:7 Phineas Banning after his Delaware birthplace.
The City of Los Angeles annexed Wilmington in 1909, and today it and neighboring San Pedro form the waterfront of one of the world’s largest import/export centers. Citizens of Wilmington were dubious that annexation would be in their best interests, fearing that it would shift economic activity out of their city and towards Los Angeles. Because the city government of Los Angeles so strongly wanted to have the growing port inside the city limits, it made a number of promises to Wilmington and also to the equally-dubious citizens of San Pedro. Among these promises were that $10 million would be invested in improvements to the port and that as much would be spent inside the city on public works as was collected in taxes.
In the 1920s, William Wrigley Jr. built innovative housing in Wilmington that was dubbed the “Court of Nations.”:9
Wilmington Oil Field
Wilmington is adjacent to the Wilmington Oil Field, discovered in 1932. It is the third largest oil field in the continental United States. Consequently there are at least 8 major refineries in the Wilmington area, many of them dating back to the original strike.
The Phillips 66 refinery in Wilmington is also home to the "world's largest jack-o'-lantern", which in fact is a 3 million gallon storage tank decorated every year for Halloween. Decorated annually since 1952 (back when it was owned by Union Oil), the jack-o'-lantern draws 30,000 visitors annually.
Only 5.1% of Wilmington residents aged 25 or older had completed a four-year degree by 2000, a low figure when compared with the city and the county at large, and the percentage of those residents with less than a high school diploma was high for the county.
East Wilmington Greenbelt Community Center, 918 North Sanford Avenue. Basketball courts (lighted/indoor), class room, after school programs, day camps.
East Wilmington Greenbelt Pocket Park, 1300 East O Street
Wilmington Recreation Center, 325 North Neptune Avenue. Auditorium, baseball diamond (lighted/unlighted), basketball courts (unlighted/outdoors, lighted/indoors), children's play area, community room, four picnic areas with tables.