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City of National City
—  City  —

Coordinates: 32°40′41″N 117°05′57″W / 32.67806°N 117.09917°W / 32.67806; -117.09917Coordinates: 32°40′41″N 117°05′57″W / 32.67806°N 117.09917°W / 32.67806; -117.09917
Country United States
State California
County San Diego
Founded July 7, 1868
Incorporated September 17, 1887
 - Type Council-Manager
 - Mayor Ron Morrison
 - City Council Alejandra Sotelo-Solis (Vice Mayor)
Francisco Parra
Rosalie Zarate
Jess Van Deventer
 - City Clerk Michael Dalla
 - City Treasurer Mitch Beauchamp
 - City Manager Chris Zapata
 - City 9.2 sq mi (23.9 km2)
 - Land 7.4 sq mi (19.1 km2)
 - Water 1.9 sq mi (4.8 km2)  20.13%
Elevation 69 ft (21 m)
Population (2005 - 2007 incl. Tijuana)[1][2]
 - City 61,419
 Density 7,343.8/sq mi (2,835.4/km2)
 Metro Incl. Tijuana: 4,922,723
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
Zip code 91950
Area code(s) 619
FIPS code 06-50398
GNIS feature ID 1661090

National City is a city in San Diego County, California. The population was 54,260 at the 2000 census. National City is the second oldest city in San Diego County with a historic past.[3]



Originally, the area was El Rancho del Rey, (the Ranch of the King) used by Spanish soldiers to graze horses. After independence from Spain, the Mexican government re-named it Rancho de la Nacion (Ranch of the Nation). Governor Pio Pico granted Rancho de la Nación to his brother-in-law John (Don Juan) Forster in 1845. President Andrew Johnson, in issuing the land patent, listed the name as simply "The National Ranch."[4]

In 1868, Frank Kimball and his brothers Warren and Levi purchased the entire rancho. They built roads, and brought the railroad to what was now National City.


National City is located at 32°40′15″N 117°5′34″W / 32.67083°N 117.09278°W / 32.67083; -117.09278 (32.670903, -117.092725).[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 23.9 km² (9.2 mi²). 19.1 km² (7.4 mi²) of it is land and 4.8 km² (1.9 mi²) of it (20.13%) is water. National City is bounded by San Diego to the north and northeast, Bonita to the southeast, and Chula Vista to the south. San Diego Bay lies to the immediate west of the city. Also, within the boundaries of National City on the eastern side of town is the unincorporated area of San Diego County known as Lincoln Acres. National City is 15 minutes away from the US/Mexico Border (Tijuana).


As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 54,260 people, 15,018 households, and 11,804 families residing in the city.

  • Mexican - 53%
  • Filipino - 19%
  • Black or African American - 6%
  • Other Hispanic or Latino - 5%
  • German - 4%
  • Irish - 2%
  • English - 2%
  • Italian - 1%
  • American Indian tribes, specified - 1%
  • French (except Basque) - 1%
  • Puerto Rican - 1%
  • Japanese - 1%
  • Scotch-Irish - 1%
  • Subsaharan African - 1%
  • Polish - 1%
  • Central American: - 1%

As of 2007, 19.5% of National City residents have incomes listed below the poverty level, a figure above the 12.4% California state average.[7] In 2000, the estimated household income was $29,826. Currently, the estimated household income is $39,158, which is below the California state average of $59,958.[8]



Although crime has dropped since the 1980s and 1990's, National City still has significant gang and drug activity, and perennially leads San Diego County in violent crime.[9]

For example, the number of violent crimes recorded by the FBI in 2003 was 546. The number of homicides for that year was 9, a rate of 16.6 per 100,000 people and three times the national average of 5.5.[10] The violent crime rate was 9.7 per 1,000 people. From 2003 to 2007, National City averaged 5.2 homicides a year or an average rate of 9.6 per 100,000 people.[11]

In 2008, National City was homicide-free for the first time since 1963, though it still led San Diego County in violent crime with a rate of 6.1 per 1,000 people (County average was 3.9 per 1,000 for that year).[12]


In the State Legislature, National City is located in the 40th Senate District, represented by Democrat Denise Moreno Ducheny, and in the 79th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Mary Salas. Federally, National City is located in California's 51st congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +7[13] and is represented by Democrat Bob Filner.


National City's 10 public elementary schools are under the National School District

Elementary Schools

Charter School

National City's public middle and high schools are in the Sweetwater Union High School District

Middle schools

  • National City Middle School
  • Granger Junior High School - California's 2010 Schools To Watch

High school

Private schools

  • San Diego Academy - A Seventh-day Adventist K-12 school
  • Faithful Ambassadors Bible Baptist Academy - PreK-12
  • Gospel Light Christian School - PreK-12
  • Southport Christian Academy - PreK-12

Places of interest

  • The National City Mile of Cars is recognized as one of the first "auto malls" in the world.
  • National City's three-mile port area along the San Diego Bay is part of Naval Base San Diego, the largest U.S. Naval base on the west coast.
  • National City Depot - The National City California Southern Railroad Depot, built in 1882, served as the first Pacific Coast terminus station of the Santa Fe Railway system’s transcontinental railroad. The station was the West Coast general office and figured prominently in Santa Fe’s effort to break the economic and transportation monopoly of California held by the Central/Southern Pacific Railroads. The first transcontinental trains arrived in November 1885, resulting in one of the largest land booms in the history of California. Of the original five transcontinental railroad terminus stations, this unique Italianate designed station is the lone survivor. Location: 900 West 23rd St, National City. Listed as California Historical Landmark no. 1023.
  • Westfield Plaza Bonita is a shopping mall in National City that attracts customers from all around the South Bay region of San Diego County. It is one of the only completely enclosed (all indoor) shopping malls in the county. It has recently been enlarged and now features a new playground, cafe terrace, Borders bookstore, Target and an AMC 14 screen cinema.
  • Paradise Valley Hospital, a 301-bed acute care facility founded by Ellen White, an Adventist, in 1902. The hospital is owned and operated by Prime Healthcare Services.
  • Cafe La Maze (est. 1941) is recognized as one of National City's most historic restaurants.[14][15]

Highland Avenue - infamous Southern California car cruising route.

Brick Row on Heritage Square, 909 A Avenue Designed by San Diego architect R. C. Ball (who designed Folsom Prison), it was constructed by Frank Kimball in 1887 for $30,000.These 10 individual row houses were to be used by the executives of the Santa Fe Railroad. This architectural style is unique to this region and was molded after the row houses of Philadelphia and similar eastern cities. It was hoped that the railroad VIPs would not only feel at home surrounded by familiar architecture, but also be impressed by the cosmopolitan appearance of the young city. All the apartments have a formal dining room with fireplace, a kitchen, a parlor with fireplace, a butler's pantry, and four bedrooms upstairs

Twelve-inch thick interlocking brick walls divide the units. The brickwork on the row houses was laid with an artistic eye to break the severe lines of the long walls. The bricks above the second story are set upright at an angle. A one-story wooden porch runs the length of the building.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it now is an integral part of National City's Heritage Square. Each of the 10 units is privately owned and maintained; however, there is a protective covenant on the facade, so the exterior will always be in keeping with the Victorian surroundings.

Immigrant sanctuary

Former Mayor Nick Inzunza declared National City an immigrant sanctuary on September 30, 2006 in a proclamation he presented to immigrants rights activists during dueling rallies that brought about 400 people to City Hall.[16] This was the end result of a statement Mayor Inzunza made on National Public Radio on September 8, 2006. This proclamation divided the city between the stance of the ex-mayor and the federal and state regulations regarding this matter.

On November 7, 2006, Ron Morrison was elected mayor of National City. On November 28, 2006 mayor Morrison appeared on the KPBS program "Full Focus" with Gloria Penner and was asked if National City will continue to be a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants. Morrison responded, "absolutely not."

Notable residents

John T. Walton - son of Sam Walton and former heir to the Wal-Mart fortune (deceased)
Dan Saleaumua - former National Football League player
Donnie Edwards - San Diego Chargers 2002-2006 National Football League player
Rosie Hamlin - singer 1960's- song "angel baby"
Gail Devers - three-time Olympic gold medalist
Tom Waits - singer/musician
The Zeros-Punk Rock band formed in South Bay San Diego during the late 1970's. Baba Chenelle and Hector Penalosa attended Sweetwater High School, while Javier Escovedo and Robert Lopez attended neighboring Chula Vista High School in Chula Vista.


  1. ^ Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2005 Population Estimates, Census 2000, 1990 Census
  2. ^ World Gazetteer – San Diego-Tijuana
  3. ^ "UT-South County > National City". Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  4. ^ "Journal of San Diego History (July 1962; vol. 8, num. 2)". Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ "National City, California (CA) poverty rate data". Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  8. ^ "National City, California (CA) Detailed Profile". Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  9. ^ "Marketers have their work cut out for them". Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  10. ^ "Homicide and Suicide Rates". Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  11. ^ "No slayings in National City in '08; first time since '64". Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  12. ^ "No slayings in National City in '08; first time since '63". Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  13. ^ "Will Gerrymandered Districts Stem the Wave of Voter Unrest?". Campaign Legal Center Blog. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  14. ^ Union Tribune article - History of Cafe La Maze
  15. ^ Cafe La Maze - History page
  16. ^ National City named sanctuary city | The San Diego Union-Tribune

External links


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