Is Ontario, California Ghetto?

The city of Ontario, located in San Bernardino County in southern California, has undergone significant changes in recent decades. If you’re looking for a quick answer, here’s the gist: While parts of Ontario were considered undesirable and high-crime in the 1980s and 1990s, the city has since made major investments in redevelopment and public safety. Today, Ontario is considered a safe, growing inland community, though some neighborhoods remain poorer than others.

In this approximately 3000 word article, we’ll take an in-depth look at Ontario’s history, demographic changes, crime rates, income levels, and housing to help you better understand how ghetto or non-ghetto the city is today.

A Look at Ontario’s History

Ontario, California has a rich history that has shaped its identity as a city. Understanding its past can provide valuable insights into the community and its development over time.

Ontario’s Early Years as a Model Planned Community

In the early years of Ontario, it was envisioned as a model planned community. Founded in 1882 by the Ontario Model Colony project, the city was planned to be a utopian community with a strong emphasis on agriculture and industry.

The founders believed in creating a city that would offer its residents a high quality of life.

The city was designed with wide streets, parks, and a well-organized grid system. These features were aimed at creating a sense of order and community. The agriculture industry thrived, with citrus groves and vineyards becoming prominent features of the landscape.

During this time, Ontario experienced a period of prosperity and growth. The city became known for its agricultural abundance and its thriving economy. Many people were drawn to Ontario’s promise of a better life, and the population steadily increased.

Decline and Rise of Crime in the 70s-90s

Like many cities during the 1970s and 1980s, Ontario faced challenges as crime rates increased. Factors such as economic downturns and changing demographics contributed to a rise in criminal activity. The city saw an increase in gang-related violence and drug-related crimes.

However, it is important to note that crime rates can fluctuate over time, and Ontario is no exception. In recent years, there have been efforts to address crime and improve public safety. The city has implemented community policing programs and initiatives aimed at reducing crime rates.

According to the CityRating website, Ontario’s crime rates have shown a decline in recent years. This is a positive indication of the city’s commitment to improving safety and building a stronger community.

Rebound and Redevelopment in the 2000s

In the 2000s, Ontario experienced a significant rebound and focused on redevelopment efforts. The city invested in revitalizing downtown areas, attracting new businesses, and improving infrastructure. These efforts aimed to enhance the overall quality of life for residents and create a more vibrant and prosperous community.

Today, Ontario continues to evolve and grow. It has become a hub for commerce and entertainment, with numerous shopping centers, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The city’s economy is diverse, with industries such as logistics and distribution, healthcare, and manufacturing driving growth.

As Ontario moves forward, it is important to remember its history and the journey it has taken to become the city it is today. While every city has its challenges, Ontario’s commitment to growth, safety, and community development is evident.

Demographic Changes in Ontario

Ontario, California has undergone significant demographic changes over the years, with shifts in its population makeup that have shaped the city’s identity and cultural landscape. Understanding these changes can provide insights into the diverse and vibrant community that Ontario has become.

The Influx of Hispanic/Latino Residents

One notable demographic change in Ontario has been the substantial increase in the Hispanic/Latino population. According to the latest census data, the percentage of Hispanic/Latino residents in Ontario has steadily risen over the past few decades.

This influx has contributed to the city’s cultural richness and has led to the establishment of vibrant Hispanic/Latino communities, businesses, and cultural events.

The growing Hispanic/Latino population in Ontario has also had a significant impact on the city’s culinary scene, with a wide variety of authentic Mexican and Latin American restaurants now available.

From delicious tacos to mouthwatering pupusas, residents and visitors alike can indulge in a flavorful culinary experience.

Poverty Rates Over Time

Another aspect of demographic change in Ontario is the fluctuation in poverty rates over time. While poverty rates can be a complex issue influenced by various socioeconomic factors, it is important to acknowledge the efforts being made to address this challenge.

Through community programs, government initiatives, and collaborative efforts, Ontario is working towards reducing poverty rates and improving the overall well-being of its residents.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty rate in Ontario has shown a gradual decline in recent years. This positive trend reflects the commitment of the community to create opportunities and support for those in need.

How Diverse Ontario Is Today

Ontario is a melting pot of diversity, attracting residents from various ethnic, cultural, and racial backgrounds. Its diverse population contributes to a rich tapestry of traditions, languages, and perspectives.

This diversity is celebrated through events and festivals that showcase the different cultures present in the city.

According to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Ontario is one of the most diverse cities in California, boasting a multicultural community that embraces inclusivity and fosters a sense of belonging for all its residents.

From its Hispanic/Latino communities to its thriving Asian and African American neighborhoods, Ontario’s diversity is a testament to the city’s ability to welcome and integrate people from different backgrounds.

It is important to note that while statistics and data provide a glimpse into demographic changes, they do not define the overall character of a community. Ontario, California is a city that continues to grow and evolve, embracing the richness of its diverse population and working towards creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all.

Crime Rates in Ontario

When considering whether Ontario, California is ghetto, one must examine the crime rates in the area. Understanding the crime statistics can provide valuable insight into the safety of the community.

Violent vs Property Crime Statistics

Ontario, like any other city, has its share of crime. However, it is important to differentiate between violent and property crimes. Violent crimes include offenses such as assault, robbery, and homicide, while property crimes involve theft, burglary, and arson.

By analyzing these statistics separately, we can gain a better understanding of the overall safety of the city.

According to the latest available data from the Ontario Police Department, the city witnessed a decrease in both violent and property crimes in recent years. This is a positive trend and indicates that efforts to improve public safety have been successful.

Crime Over Time Compared to National Trends

It is also crucial to compare crime rates in Ontario to national trends. By doing so, we can determine if the city is experiencing higher or lower crime rates compared to the rest of the country.

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program, Ontario’s crime rates have consistently been lower than the national average. This is encouraging news for residents and visitors alike, as it suggests that the city is relatively safe compared to other areas.

Crime by Neighborhood

While overall crime rates are an essential factor to consider, it’s worth noting that crime can vary depending on the neighborhood. Some neighborhoods may have higher crime rates than others, so it is essential for individuals to research specific areas before making judgments about the entire city.

If you are interested in learning more about crime rates by neighborhood in Ontario, you can visit the Ontario Police Department’s official website at This website provides up-to-date information on crime statistics, including reports on specific neighborhoods.

Income and Poverty in Ontario

When evaluating whether Ontario, California can be considered a ghetto, it is important to examine the income and poverty levels in the area. These factors play a significant role in determining the overall quality of life for residents.

Per Capita and Median Household Income

Per capita income refers to the average income earned per person in a specific area. In Ontario, the per capita income is an essential indicator of the economic well-being of its residents. The median household income, on the other hand, represents the midpoint of all household incomes in the city.

According to the latest available data, Ontario has a per capita income of $25,951, which is slightly lower than the national average. However, the median household income in Ontario is $58,774, which is higher than the national median household income.

These figures suggest that while there may be some individuals with lower incomes, the overall income levels in Ontario are relatively stable.

Poverty Rates

Poverty rates are another important aspect to consider when determining whether an area can be labeled as a ghetto. The poverty rate is calculated by assessing the percentage of individuals or families living below the poverty line.

In Ontario, the poverty rate stands at 13.3%, which is lower than the national average of 14.1%. This indicates that the majority of residents in Ontario are not living in poverty and have access to basic necessities such as food, shelter, and healthcare.

Unemployment Levels

Unemployment levels are closely tied to poverty rates and can provide additional insight into the economic health of a city. A high unemployment rate can result in financial instability and contribute to the perception of an area as a ghetto.

In Ontario, the unemployment rate is currently 6.2%, which is slightly lower than the national unemployment rate. This suggests that there are job opportunities available in the city and that residents have the potential to secure employment.

Housing Costs and Transportation in Ontario

When considering whether Ontario, California is considered “ghetto,” it is important to examine the housing costs and transportation options available in the area. These factors play a significant role in determining the overall quality of life and living conditions.

Home Values and Affordability

The housing market in Ontario offers a range of options for residents, from single-family homes to apartments and condos. The median home value in Ontario is $375,000, which is slightly higher than the national average.

However, compared to other cities in California, Ontario’s housing costs are relatively affordable. This makes it an attractive option for individuals and families looking for more affordable housing options.

It is important to note that affordability can vary depending on individual circumstances and preferences. Factors such as income, location, and size of the property can all influence the overall affordability of housing in Ontario.

Quality of Housing Stock

In terms of the quality of housing stock, Ontario has a mix of older and newer properties. The city has seen significant growth and development in recent years, leading to the construction of new residential communities and infrastructure improvements.

This means that residents have a variety of housing options to choose from, including both older, more affordable homes and newer, higher-end properties.

It is worth mentioning that like any other city, there may be areas in Ontario where the housing conditions are not as desirable. However, overall, the quality of housing in Ontario is generally considered to be good, with many well-maintained neighborhoods and communities.

Access to Public Transit

Transportation is an important aspect to consider when evaluating the livability of a city. Ontario offers residents access to various public transportation options, including buses and trains. The city is served by the Omnitrans bus system, which provides transportation throughout the Inland Empire region, as well as the Metrolink train system, offering convenient access to other cities in Southern California.

This access to public transit can be particularly beneficial for individuals who rely on public transportation for their daily commute or for those who prefer not to own a car. It provides an affordable and convenient way to navigate the city and the surrounding areas.


In summary, while parts of Ontario retained a reputation as an undesirable city in decades past, major revitalization efforts and demographic shifts have transformed Ontario into a safe, working-class inland city today. However, some neighborhoods continue to lag behind in income and quality of housing stock. Overall, it would be inaccurate to label Ontario as a whole as ghetto, but signs of its more troubled history can still be seen in pockets of the city.

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