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City of Arvin
—  City  —
"Welcome to Arvin" sign
Motto: "A Garden in the Sun"
Location of Arvin, California
Coordinates: 35°12′33″N 118°49′42″W / 35.20917°N 118.82833°W / 35.20917; -118.82833Coordinates: 35°12′33″N 118°49′42″W / 35.20917°N 118.82833°W / 35.20917; -118.82833
Country United States
State California
County Kern
Founded 1910
Incorporated 21 December 1960
 - Mayor Tim Tarver
 - Senate Dean Florez (D)
 - Assembly Nicole Parra (D)
 - U. S. Congress Jim Costa (D)
 - Total 4.8 sq mi (12.4 km2)
 - Land 4.8 sq mi (12.4 km2)
 - Water 0 sq mi (0.0 km2)  0%
Elevation [1] 449 ft (137 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 12,956
 - Density 2,695.9/sq mi (1,040.9/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 93203
Area code(s) 661
FIPS code 06-02924
GNIS feature ID 1652666

Arvin is a city in Kern County, California, in the United States. Arvin is located 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Bakersfield,[2] at an elevation of 449 feet (137 m).[1] As of the 2000 census, the city population was 12,956.

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 level of ozone, smog's primary component, exceeded the EPA's acceptable limits an average of 73 days per year between 2004 and 2006.[3] In Peter Greenberg's 2009 book Don't Go There!, the city is mentioned for its high pollution and ozone levels, although he does mention the main reasons for the pollution are not necessarily its own: its unfavorable geography, which allows airflows from its proximity to Los Angeles and Bakersfield, high amounts of nearby highway traffic, and diesel engines from agricultural vehicles.[4]

Wired telephone numbers in Arvin follow the format (661) 854-xxxx and the ZIP Code is 93203.



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.[2] 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.



  • Hispanic (87.5%)
  • Other race (46.5%)
  • White Non-Hispanic (9.8%)
  • Two or more races (4.6%)
  • American Indian (2.2%)
  • Black (1.1%)

(Total can be greater than 100% because Hispanics could be counted in other races)


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.8 square miles (12 km2), all of it land.


As of the census of 2000[6], 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-Edison Water Storage District tanks are seen in the vicinity.

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 a 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, and Arvin High School.

Public safety

Arvin Police hybrid Cruiser

The city of Arvin has its own police department. On Jan. 2008 the city purchased six hybrid police vehicles with a grant by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.[7] The city also purchased six hybrid SUV's on Dec. 2008 with a grant by the San Joaquin Valley Air Quality District.[8] Station 54 of the Kern County Fire Department is responsible for fire prevention services.

Crime Statistics

Arvin Crime Statistics for 2007 [9]

Wildflower Festival

2009 Wildflower Festival

Every Spring the Wildflower Festival is held at Smothermon Park.

Notable locations

  • Arvin Branch Kern County Library
  • Arvin City Hall
  • Kern County Building
  • Veterans Building


  • Arvin Wesleyan Church
  • Assembly of God Church of Arvin
  • Bright Hope Baptist Church
  • Calvary Church of God in Christ
  • Church of the Nazarene
  • Gospel Tabernacle of Arvin
  • Primera Iglesia Bautista
  • Pentecostal Church of Arvin
  • Saint Thomas Catholic Church


  • Di Giorgio County Park
  • Kovacevich Park
  • Smothermon Park


  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographical Names Information System: Arvin, California
  2. ^ a b Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Quill Driver Books. p. 995. ISBN 9781884995149.  
  3. ^ Thanawala, Sudhin. "Calif. Town Is Nation's Smoggiest", Associated Press. [1]
  4. ^ Don't Go There!, Peter Greenberg, Rodale, 2009
  5. ^ "City-data - Arvin, California". analyzed data from numerous sources. Retrieved 2009-03-17.  
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  7. ^ Bakersfield Californian report
  8. ^ KERO 23 news report
  9. ^ FBI 2007 Crime Statistics

Further reading

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

External links

The high school in under construction.

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