Fullerton is a city located in Orange County California. With a 2020 population of 145,309, it is the 41st largest city in California and the 197th largest city in the United States. Fullerton is currently growing at a rate of 0.59% annually and its population has increased by 1.18% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 143,617 in 2020. Spanning over 22 miles, Fullerton has a population density of 6,478 people per square mile.
The average household income in Fullerton is $106,314 with a poverty rate of 12.65%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $1,718 per month, and the median house value is $667,300. The median age in Fullerton is 35.4 years, 34.1 years for males, and 37.1 years for females.
Fullerton is located in northern Orange County, California about 26 miles southeast of Los Angeles and 3 miles north of Anaheim. Fullerton is the 6th or 7th largest city in Orange County, nearly tied with Orange and behind Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irvine, Huntington Beach, and Garden Grove.
Like the rest of Orange County, Fullerton has a large Asian American population. Asian Americans now account for one-fifth of the population of the entire county with a great deal of diversity. Of the estimated 600,000 Asian Americans in Orange County, Vietnamese and Koreans are the two largest ethnic subgroups with 200,000 Vietnamese and 94,000 Korean Americans in the county. While Westminster and Garden Grove have large Vietnamese populations, Fullerton is home to a large community of Korean Americans. There are also about 89,000 Filipino Americans in the county. Asian Americans in the area include recent immigrants as well as families who first immigrated to the U.S. five generations ago.
A recent survey also found that there are more than 310,000 unauthorized immigrants in Orange County accounting for 10% of the county's total population. While most unauthorized immigrants in the area are from Latin America, especially Mexico (75%), about 15% are from Asia. This includes 4% from Korea, 3% from Vietnam, and 3% from the Philippines.
About 30% of people in Fullerton are foreign-born.
Fullerton's population isn't growing like it once was. This trend can be seen throughout Orange County where annual growth of residents dropped by half in 2018 compared to the last five years. This trend is attributed to slowing foreign immigration and a surge of people moving elsewhere in the state or out of California.
The area of Fullerton was first explored by Europeans in the late 1760s during a Spanish expedition to Montery. By 1771, Mission San Gabriel Arcangel was established and the Spaniards dubbed the native Tongva people "Gabrieliños." Modern-day Fullerton then became part of the Rancho San Juan Cajón de Santa Ana in the 1830s after it was granted to a Spanish soldier named Juan Pacifico Ontiveros.
Ontiveros sold parcels of the land to Americans who were developing California after the California Gold Rush. In 1886, the Amerige brothers heard that the California Central Railroad was searching for land and they bought 430 acres of land just north of Anaheim. The two negotiated with the president of the Pacific Land and Improvement Company, offering free right-of-way plus half interest in the land for the railroad if the survey of Fullerton was revised for a town site. Within ten years, Fullerton was on its way toward being a thriving agricultural community when a new Valencia orange orchard caught on. Fullerton was incorporated in 1904 and recognized in 1907.
After World War II, the population of Fullerton grew rapidly as veterans moved to California and created large housing developments. Orange County State College was founded in 1959 to serve the booming population and many instutitions followed to earn Fullerton its nickname as the "Education City."