On April 31, May 11, and June 9 of this year, PRA member organizations met to identify communities of interest and their alignment across cities in Orange County. These communities of interest have been shared with the commission in oral and written testimony captured in Appendix A of this submission. They include the following:
Buena Park, La Palma, and Cypress: Orange County is home to large and growing Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities. These populations are particularly prominent along the border of Los Angeles and Orange Counties, where the cities of Buena Park, La Palma, Cypress, Cerritos, and Artesia come together across county lines.
South Fullerton and West Anaheim: Two of Orange County’s largest cities, both Fullerton and Anaheim are socially and economically diverse with clear divisions between those with considerable needs and more affluent residents.
Little Arabia (Anaheim): Located in west Anaheim on Brookhurst Street between Crescent Avenue and Katella Avenue, Little Arabia is home to more than one hundred small businesses serving Orange County’s diverse AMEMSA community, including ethnic grocery stores, restaurants, cafes, hair salons, halal butcher shops, and professional services. It is also home to important religious institutions such as the West Coast Islamic Society and nonprofit and social service organizations that serve the community.
Santa Ana: Santa Ana is home to the largest and most established Latinx community in Orange County. Making up nearly 77% of the city’s total population, Santa Ana’s Latinx population (238,000) ranks fifth in size among cities statewide behind only Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, and Fresno. With many low-income residents and mixed immigration status families, the Latinx community faces numerous challenges, including immigration enforcement and access to affordable housing.
Garden Grove and Westminster: Garden Grove and Westminster are home to some of the nation’s largest Vietnamese American communities, as well as notable Korean American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) populations. Established after the fall of Saigon in 1975, Little Saigon has grown to encompass large portions of both cities, as well as Santa Ana west of Harbor Blvd and Fountain Valley north of the 405 Freeway. Communities in these parts of Orange County are disproportionately low-income and share both common refugee experiences and the need for social services and affordable housing.
Irvine and Costa Mesa: Irvine is one of the fastest growing cities in the state. Between 2010 and 2020, Irvine added over 95,000 new residents; among cities statewide with at least 100,000 people, none grew faster over the past decade. This dramatic increase has been fueled by ongoing growth in immigrant communities. With growing numbers of Asian American, Pacific Islander, and AMEMSA residents, the city is also home to an emerging low-income population with needs similar to those of Latinx communities in Costa Mesa.