La Verne Magazine
Spring 1997

"The Latino Community in La Verne: Struggle, Progress and Success"

A Growing Future

by Jody P. Bethel


Many of the roots of Latino heritage in the city are as old as the roots of the orange grove industry itself; but with the passing of each new generation, like fresh fruit on the branches, the Latino community of La Verne blossoms.

Where yesterday's Barrio was the home of citrus pickers and packers, these residents now have jobs in a variety of professions.

Today the "Barrio," defined as a predominantly Spanish speaking community, is referred to as the "Walnut District" by the city of La Verne. This portion of town crosses Walnut Avenue and Arrow Highway.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports for 1990:

·In California, Latinos made up approximately 25 percent of the total population.

·The city of La Verne had an estimated 5,582 Latinos residing in the city, or 18 percent of the 30, 897 total population.

·The Hispanic youth in La Verne comprise the second largest number of youth in the city at 22 percent of the population-out of 10, 057 youth between the ages of 0-20.

·By the year 2000, it is estimated that Latinos will make up nearly 25 percent of the La Verne population.

Unlike in previous years, where the Latino community resided only in the area in which was called the "Barrio," today Latinos live throughout La Verne. As with any other nationality, this ethnic group is mixed and mingled in the community with many other cultures. City of La Verne officials believe that with the increasing number of Latinos living in the area, the interest they take in the planning and contributing to community life will expand as well.

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