The 2000 U.S. census counted 56,566 residents in the 3,42-square-mile neighborhood—an average of 16,835 people per square mile, one of the highest densities in Los Angeles. In 2008 the city estimated that the population had increased to 60,841. The median age for residents was 28, considered young when compared to the city at large.
Highland Park was considered moderately diverse ethnically. The breakdown was Latinos, 72.4%; Asians, 11.2%; blacks, 2.4%, whites, 11.3%; and others, 2.6%. Mexico (55.3%) and El Salvador (12.0%) were the most common places of birth for the 57.8% of the residents who were born abroad, a figure that was considered high compared to the city as a whole.
The median household income in 2008 dollars was $45,478, about average for Los Angeles, and a high percentage of households earned $40,000 or less. The average household size of 3.3 people was high for the city of Los Angeles. Renters occupied 60.9% of the housing units, and house- or apartment owners the rest.
The percentage of never-married men was among the county's highest. The 2000 census found 2,705 families headed by single parents, a high rate for both the city and the county. There were 1,942 military veterans in 2000, or 4.9%, a low figure for Los Angeles.
Highland Park is a hilly neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles, located in the San Rafael Hills and along the Arroyo Seco. It is situated within what was once Rancho San Rafael of the Spanish/Mexican era.
Its boundaries are roughly the Arroyo Seco Parkway (California Route 110) on the southeast, the city limits of Pasadena on the northeast, Oak Grove Drive on the north, and Avenue 51 on the west. Primary thoroughfares include York Boulevard and Figueroa Street.
Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock was founded in Highland Park in 1923 and constructed its building in 1930. It is the second oldest synagogue in Los Angeles still operating in its original location, after the Wilshire Boulevard Temple (built in 1929).
Highland Park has experienced economic highs and lows during its first 100 years, most recently enjoying a renaissance. After the Mexican–American War ended in 1848, California became part of the United States and Rancho San Rafael was subdivided, creating the neighborhood of Highland Park. In the early 20th century, Highland Park and neighboring Pasadena became havens for artists and intellectuals who led the Arts and Crafts movement.
But with the completion of Arroyo Seco Parkway in 1940, Highland Park began to change. By the 1950s, the artsy enclave experienced white flight, losing residents to the Mid-Wilshire district and newer neighborhoods in Temple City and in the San Fernando Valley. By the mid-1960s, it was becoming a largely Latino enclave. Mexican immigrants and their American-born children began owning and renting in Highland Park, with its schools and parks become places where residents debated how to fight discrimination and advance civil rights.
In the final decades of the 20th century, Highland Park suffered waves of gang violence, as a consequence of the Avenues street gang claiming the adjacent Glassell Park neighborhood and parts of Highland Park as its turf. At the dawn of the 21st century, the city attorney intensified efforts to rid Highland Park and Glassell Park of the Avenues. In 2006, four members of the gang were convicted of violating federal hate crime laws. In June 2009, police launched a major raid against the gang, rooting out many leaders of the gang with a federal racketeering indictment. By 2009, the city demolished the gang's Glassell Park stronghold. Law enforcement, coupled with community awareness efforts such as the annual Peace in the Northeast March, have led to a drastic decrease in violent crime in the 2010s.
Starting in the early 2000s, a diverse mix of people began arriving to Highland Park to seek out, buy, and revitalize Craftsman homes, some which had suffered neglect over the decades. Many of Highland Park's oldest homes were razed during the 1950s and 1960s. One architecturally significant home made its way to Heritage Square Museum, thanks to the efforts of local activists dedicated to saving Victorian homes scheduled for demolition. Like Echo Park and Eagle Rock, Highland Park has steadily seen some gentrification. People from across the region have been attracted to the historic Craftsman homes that escaped demolition. Its relatively low rents have made it increasingly popular among young people who value the walkable urban lifestyle afforded by the older style of neighborhood.
Once again, Highland Park is building a reputation as a mecca for artists, with trendy shops, galleries, bars and restaurants opening throughout the neighborhood. The continuation of several long-time businesses lend credibility to the neighborhood's hipster status and add to its charm. One of the last typewriter shops in the City of Los Angeles, U.S. Office Machine Company, specializes in repairing antique typewriters and has restored a few for movie studios. It is one of three businesses located in the old Sunbeam Theatre. It is owned by longtime resident Jesse Flores. The popular landmark statue Chicken Boy was relocated from a downtown Los Angeles restaurant in 2007. The trendy clothing chain Forever 21 was founded in Highland Park in 1984. The first store continues to operate in its original location bears the original name of the company, Fashion 21. New hipster clubs have joined the local dive bars, with all become trendy gathering places. The Old LA Certified Farmers Market opened in 2006, operating adjacent to the Highland Park Gold Line Station and providing a new nexus of community activity. A number of shops selling vintage clothes and boutiques offering hip home-decor accessories have opened along York Boulevard. Highland Park is home to a recording studio and pop-up space for Los Angeles-based hip-hop label, Stones Throw Records.
Highland Park has a legacy of local businesses, some that have been a staple in the Highland Park community for over 20 years. The first of such businesses is Galco's Soda Pop Stop. Galco's has been family owned and operated for more than 100 years. In addition, another cultural landmark in Highland Park is Avenue 50 Studio. Avenue 50 Studio is a nonprofit community-based organization grounded in Latino and Chicano culture.
The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services operates the Central Health Center in Downtown Los Angeles, serving Highland Park.
The United States Postal Service Highland Park Post Office is located at 5930 North Figueroa Street.
Los Angeles Fire Department Station 12 is in the area.
Highland Park is served by the Highland Park (LACMTA station), along Metro's Gold Line light rail line. The station is an island platform located near the intersection of North Avenue 57 at Marmion Way, (one block west of North Figueroa Street).
It is also served by Metro Local bus lines 81, 83, 176, and 256, as well as LADOT's DASH Highland Park/Eagle Rock bus line. Highland Park is served by the historic Arroyo Seco Parkway (California State Route 110), formerly known as the Pasadena Freeway.
Highland Park is zoned to the following schools in the Los Angeles USD (LAUSD).
Zoned elementary schools include:Aldama Elementary School
Annandale Elementary School
Buchanan Elementary School
Bushnell Way Elementary School
Garvanza Elementary School
San Pascual Elementary School
Saint Ignatius of Loyola School (K-8)
Toland Way Elementary School
Yorkdale Elementary School
Monte Vista Elementary School
Arroyo Seco Museum Science Magnet School (K-8)
Residents are zoned to Luther Burbank Middle School and Franklin High School. Los Angeles International Charter High School and Academia Avance Charter also serve the communityIsaac Colton Ash, City Council member, 1925–27
Jackie Beat, Drag Performer and Comedian
Jackson Browne, musician
Daryl Gates, Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) from 1978 to 1992; grew up in Glendale and Highland Park
John C. Holland, Los Angeles City Council member, 1943–67, businessman
Charles Lummis, journalist, Indian activist and librarian.
Marc Maron, comedian and actor
Fritz Poock, artist
Franklin E. Roach, 1921-1923, distinguished scientist (astronomer) and a father of aeronomy
David Weidman, silkscreen artist and animation background painter
Chris Corner, musician
Ariel Pink, musician
Mike Kelley (artist)
Zack de La Rocha, Musician
Edward Furlong, Actor