Uncovering California’S Least Populated City

With cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco dominating the headlines, you may be surprised to learn California is also home to some of the smallest incorporated cities in the U.S.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Vernon, California is the least populated incorporated city in the state, with only 112 residents as of 2021.

This comprehensive guide will cover Vernon’s history, demographics, economy, and more while analyzing how it earned the distinction of California’s smallest city.

Pinpointing California’s Smallest City

When it comes to uncovering California’s smallest city, a closer look at population data of incorporated cities is necessary. While some cities in California boast bustling populations and vibrant communities, others have a more modest population size.

One such city that stands out for its diminutive population is Vernon.

Vernon’s diminutive population stats

Vernon, located in Los Angeles County, holds the distinction of being California’s least populated city. With a population of just a few hundred residents, this tiny city covers a mere 5.2 square miles.

Despite its small size, Vernon has a rich industrial history, with various manufacturing and industrial businesses operating within its borders.

With such a small population, Vernon’s tight-knit community offers a unique charm and close-knit atmosphere. The city’s small size allows for a strong sense of community, where neighbors know each other and local events often bring residents together.

While Vernon may not be the most populous city in California, its residents take pride in their tight-knit community spirit.

Other contenders for California’s least populated city

While Vernon takes the title for California’s smallest city, there are several other contenders worth mentioning. Cities such as Amador City, with a population of around 200, and Industry, with approximately 400 residents, have similarly small populations.

Amador City, located in Amador County, is a historic gold mining town that has preserved much of its 19th-century charm. Despite its small population, the city attracts visitors with its quaint shops, historical landmarks, and annual events.

Industry, located in Los Angeles County, is an industrial city known for its large number of businesses and warehouses. Despite its industrial focus, Industry has a small residential population, contributing to its status as one of California’s least populated cities.

While these cities may not have the bustling energy of larger metropolitan areas, they offer a unique charm and a slower pace of life that appeals to many residents who prefer a quieter and more close-knit community.

For more information on California’s smallest cities, visit the official websites of Vernon (cityofvernon.org), Amador City (amador-city.com), and Industry (cityofindustry.org).

History and Character of Vernon, California

Vernon, California, despite being the smallest city in terms of population in the state, has a rich and fascinating history. This article will explore the origins and incorporation of Vernon, its unique geographic location and layout, as well as the city services and local government that contribute to its character.

Vernon’s Origins and Incorporation

Vernon was originally founded in 1905 as a small industrial enclave known as “South Gate.” However, it was later renamed Vernon in 1911 after the local real estate developer, John Leonis. The city quickly became a hub for manufacturing and industry, attracting businesses with its strategic location and favorable business environment.

One interesting fact about Vernon is that it was incorporated in 1905, making it one of the oldest incorporated cities in Southern California. Despite its small population, the city has played a significant role in the region’s industrial development and economic growth over the years.

Geographic Location and Layout

Vernon’s geographic location is a key factor in its success as an industrial center. Situated in the southeastern part of Los Angeles County, Vernon is strategically positioned near major transportation corridors, including several major freeways and rail lines.

The city’s layout is primarily industrial, with a focus on manufacturing and distribution centers. It is home to a diverse range of industries, including food processing, garment manufacturing, and logistics.

The city’s compact size and efficient infrastructure make it an ideal location for businesses looking for a strategic base in the heart of Southern California.

City Services and Local Government

Vernon provides a wide range of city services to support its businesses and residents. These services include public safety, utilities, and infrastructure maintenance. The city has its own police and fire departments, ensuring the safety and security of its residents and businesses.

In terms of local government, Vernon operates under a unique system. The city’s government structure consists of a city council composed of five members elected by the residents and business owners. This system allows for effective representation and decision-making, ensuring that the needs and interests of the community are met.

To learn more about Vernon’s history, character, and current initiatives, you can visit the official city website at www.cityofvernon.org. There, you can find additional information about the city’s services, local government, and economic development programs.

Demographic Stats and Housing in Vernon

Vernon, California is a unique city with a small population and an interesting history. Let’s take a closer look at the demographic stats and housing situation in this lesser-known city.

Racial makeup and population trends

Despite being the smallest city in California, Vernon has a diverse population. According to the latest census data, the racial makeup of Vernon is 42% Hispanic, 32% White, 18% Asian, and 8% African American.

The city has seen steady population growth over the years, with an increase of 10% in the past decade.

It’s worth noting that while Vernon may be small in terms of population, it plays a significant role in the local economy. The city is home to numerous businesses and industries, which attract people from various backgrounds.

Housing units and availability

Due to its small size, housing options in Vernon are limited. The city primarily consists of industrial and commercial areas, with only a handful of residential areas. As a result, the number of housing units in Vernon is relatively low compared to other cities in California.

Most housing units in Vernon are apartments or condominiums, catering to the needs of the city’s workforce. While the availability of housing may be limited, the city’s central location makes it an attractive choice for those who work in nearby areas and seek affordable housing options.

Notable businesses headquartered in Vernon

Despite its small population, Vernon is home to several notable businesses and corporations. One such example is the apparel company “Forever 21,” which has its headquarters in the city. Other businesses in Vernon include food manufacturers, logistics companies, and various industrial warehouses.

These businesses contribute to the city’s economic growth and provide employment opportunities for the local community. With its strategic location and business-friendly environment, Vernon continues to attract companies from different sectors.

Analyzing Vernon’s Standing as California’s Smallest City

When it comes to small cities in California, Vernon stands out as the least populated. With a population of only a few hundred residents, this tiny city has a unique economic focus on industry that sets it apart from other cities in the state.

Unique economic focus on industry

One of the most interesting aspects of Vernon is its strong emphasis on industry. Despite its small size, the city is home to numerous warehouses, manufacturing plants, and distribution centers. The industrial sector plays a crucial role in Vernon’s economy, attracting businesses and providing employment opportunities for the local population.

The city’s industrial focus can be traced back to its establishment in the early 20th century. Vernon was originally designed as an industrial hub, with its zoning laws specifically tailored to accommodate businesses in various sectors.

Today, the city continues to thrive as a center for manufacturing and logistics, with companies from a wide range of industries choosing to set up operations in Vernon.

Tax revenue despite small population

Despite its small population, Vernon manages to generate significant tax revenue. This is largely due to the presence of large industrial businesses within the city limits. These businesses contribute a substantial amount to the city’s tax base, helping to fund various public services and infrastructure projects.

In fact, Vernon has one of the highest per capita income rates in California, thanks to the economic contributions of its industrial sector. The city’s ability to generate tax revenue far surpasses what would be expected based on its population size alone.

Comparing Vernon to other small California cities

When compared to other small cities in California, Vernon’s unique characteristics become even more apparent. While many small towns in the state rely heavily on tourism or agriculture for their economic sustenance, Vernon’s industrial focus sets it apart.

For example, Vernon’s population is significantly smaller than that of other small cities like Avalon on Catalina Island or Isleton in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. However, its economic impact is much greater due to its industrial sector.

It’s also worth noting that Vernon’s economic success has not come without its challenges. The city has faced scrutiny in the past regarding its governance and accountability, leading to reforms and increased transparency measures.

However, these efforts have only served to strengthen Vernon’s position as a unique and economically thriving small city in California.


With its minuscule population hovering around 100, Vernon stands apart as California’s least populous incorporated city. Despite its diminutive size, Vernon maintains local governance and generates ample revenue. Still, its industrial character makes this Los Angeles County town an outlier among California municipalities.

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