West Covina was incorporated as an independent city in 1923 to prevent the city of Covina from building a sewage farm in the area. Walnut groves and orange groves continued to flourish during the subsequent decades. The population in 1930 was 769 and blossomed to 1,549 in 1940. As a result of remarkable expansion during the post World War II building boom, West Covina became one of the fastest-growing U.S. cities between 1950 and 1960, with the population increasing 1,000 per cent from less than 5,000 to more than 50,000 citizens. The decades between 1960 and 2000 demonstrated steady growth, which slowed significantly by the time of the 2010 census.
The City of West Covina began the second half of the 20th century with new developments and projects, mostly brought on by big business. The City Hall and police facility were built in 1969 as the first phase of an example of a Joint Powers Authority in the County of Los Angeles. The Civic Center Joint Powers Authority, consisting of the County of Los Angeles and the City of West Covina, also completed a three-level parking structure in the Civic Center complex. The Civic Center complex includes the Los Angeles County Regional Library and the Citrus Municipal Court building and the city offices.
The first Redevelopment Agency project included a regional shopping center, the West Covina Fashion Plaza, with three major department stores and 150 shops in an air-conditioned, enclosed mall. It also included the revitalization of the older sections of the shopping center. The Fashion Plaza has provided the citizens of the San Gabriel Valley with convenient access to all shopping needs. In 1991 the mall was renovated adding a food court and additional shops, as well as the redecorating of the entire mall. The mall was renamed "The Plaza at West Covina". The Plaza opened a new 100,000 sq ft (9,300 m2). wing in October 1993 featuring 50 new stores including a new Robinson's-May and interior renovation throughout The Plaza.
The Redevelopment Agency's efforts have also resulted in several major office buildings in the city, such as "The Lakes", in addition to two new community shopping centers, freestanding retail developments, restaurants, residential projects, and the Auto Plaza.
The 2010 United States Census reported that West Covina had a population of 106,098. The population density was 6,594.3 people per square mile (2,546.1/km²). The racial makeup of West Covina was 42.8% White (15.3% Non-Hispanic White), 4.5% African American, 1.0% Native American, 25.8% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 21.3% from other races, and 4.4% from two or more races. Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin were 53.2%.
The Census reported that 105,424 people (99.4% of the population) lived in households, 351 (0.3%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 323 (0.3%) were institutionalized.
There were 31,596 households, out of which 13,670 (43.3%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 17,650 (55.9%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 5,402 (17.1%) had a female householder with no husband present, 2,308 (7.3%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,664 (5.3%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 202 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 4,795 households (15.2%) were made up of individuals and 2,164 (6.8%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.34. There were 25,360 families (80.3% of all households); the average family size was 3.68.
The population was spread out with 26,075 people (24.6%) under the age of 18, 11,326 people (10.7%) aged 18 to 24, 28,860 people (27.2%) aged 25 to 44, 26,974 people (25.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 12,863 people (12.1%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.0 years. For every 100 females there were 93.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.7 males.
There were 32,705 housing units at an average density of 2,032.7 per square mile (784.8/km²), of which 20,703 (65.5%) were owner-occupied, and 10,893 (34.5%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.1%; the rental vacancy rate was 4.8%. 70,474 people (66.4% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 34,950 people (32.9%) lived in rental housing units.
During 2009–2013, West Covina had a median household income of $67,088, with 10% of the population living below the federal poverty line.
The San Gabriel Valley region has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate, with summer temperatures averaging above 73 °F.
A project that is completed is the West Covina Sportsplex Project. It is made up of four components, which include the commercial development (completed), Big League Dreams Sports Park (completed), an 18-hole championship Public Golf Course (Phase 2), and a commercial office development (Phase 2). The 43-acre (170,000 m2) site commercial development has over 300,000 square feet (28,000 m2) of new high quality commercial retail space. The commercial area includes a Target, Home Depot, Verizon Wireless, Fresh & Easy, Petsmart as well as various other specialty shops and restaurants. Big League Dreams Sports Park features batting cages, a multi-use pavilion that can be used as a soccer field, ice hockey rink, and can be rented out as a hall. It also has 6 high quality ball fields that replicate sporting landmarks like Yankee Stadium, Tiger Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium of Anaheim. The Big League Dreams Sports Park is a city park. It is owned by the city and maintained and operated under contract by Big League Dreams. Phase 2, the 18-hole championship golf course and Corporate office buildings are both currently in the entitlement stage of development.
The expansion to Plaza West Covina is completed. It includes both cosmetic and structural renovation and expansion to the inside and outside of the mall that will include a new 45,000-square-foot (4,200 m2) Best Buy (completed), 32,363 added square feet of restaurant and retail space (under construction), and a XXI Forever Luxury Store (completed). The renovation is expected to be completed in the spring of 2011 and will bring a new assortment of shops, restaurants, and high-end stores to Westfield West Covina.
A new 2½ star hotel is under construction, The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott is a five-story, 110 bedroom hotel covering 57,028 square feet (5,298.1 m2), located at 3211 E. Garvey Avenue. Completion of the hotel was anticipated for 2010, however the site remained incomplete until the grand opening on April 12, 2011. The McIntyre Square is an existing shopping center on Citrus Avenue that consists of 60,470 square feet (5,618 m2) of retail and restaurant space on 6.37 acres (25,800 m2). It has been undergoing a facelift with additional landscaping since 2008.
In the California State Legislature, West Covina is split between the 22nd Senate District, represented by Democrat Ed Hernandez, and the 29th Senate District, represented by Democrat Josh Newman. In the California State Assembly, it is split between the 48th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Blanca Rubio, and the 55th Assembly District, represented by Republican Phillip Chen. In the United States House of Representatives, West Covina is in California's 32nd congressional district, represented by Democrat Grace Napolitano.
February 2011 voter registration statistics from the Secretary of State showed that 47% of voters in the city were registered Democrats and 28% Republicans. West Covina was once a Republican stronghold, but today favors the Democratic Party, in part because of demographic changes in its population.
The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services operates the Pomona Health Center in Pomona, serving West Covina.
West Covina is mostly served by the West Covina Unified School District, which has eight elementary schools, two middle schools, one intermediate school, two high schools, one continuation high school (Coronado Alt. High); and one adult school. Approximately 35,000 students were enrolled in West Covina public schools during the 2001–2002 school year.
Some portions of West Covina are also served by the Covina Valley Unified School District and Rowland Unified School District. Half of the residents of the affluent South Hills neighborhood of West Covina have the option of choosing either West Covina Unified School District (WCUSD) or Covina Valley Unified School District (CVUSD).
South Hills High School, Traweek Middle School, and Mesa Elementary School are within the city limits of West Covina, but are administered by CVUSD.
Edgewood High School was originally opened in 1960. The first class to attend all four years at EHS graduated in 1964. EHS was later converted to a recreational park per se. EHS was newly opened and as of December 2011 International Baccalaureate accredited high school in West Covina Unified School District. It is located on the NE side of the Edgewood Middle School campus. 2010–2011 is the first opened year of EHS and is continuing on building forward.
Residents of the Woodside Village neighborhood are covered by Rowland Unified School District. These schools include: Nogales High School, Rincon Intermediate School, Giano Intermediate School, and Hollingworth Elementary School.
West Covina High School was founded in 1956 and South Hills High School was founded in 1964.
International Polytechnic High School (I-Poly), a public school located at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, is also available to high school students who go through an application process.
There are several colleges and universities within a few miles of the city limits including Azusa Pacific University; Citrus College; Mt. San Antonio College; Pasadena City College; Whittier College; University of the West; and California State Polytechnic University at Pomona.
West Covina has many health care facilities including the main hospital Citrus Valley Medical Center – Queen of the Valley Campus also known as Queen of The Valley Medical Center. Citrus Valley Medical Center – Queen of the Valley Campus is a comprehensive, full-service health care facility, well known for its Family Birth & Newborn Center, with more deliveries than any other health care facility in the East San Gabriel Valley. The Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit has cared for more than 15,000 babies since opening in 1972. The Queen's Mammography Center provides low cost mammography screening and breast health education. "Queen of the Valley Campus" Emergency Department is one of the busiest in Southern California, with nearly 54,000 visits annually. Other services include an 18-bed Pediatrics Unit, Cardiac Services, a 12-bed Rehabilitation Unit, and MRI and CAT-scan machines. Queen of the Valley Hospital, as it originally was known, was built on the site that formally was Sunset Elementary School.
There are many other private medical practices and clinics that serve the city of West Covina. Kaiser Permanente operates both the West Covina Medical Offices and West Covina Behavioral Health Offices. East Valley Community Health Center is a large, free clinic for low-income families, focused on family planning and counseling services into a comprehensive health care provider and some free medical services.
According to the city's 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
There are 3 major shopping centers in West Covina; Plaza West Covina, Eastland Center (West Covina), and The Heights at West Covina.
Plaza West Covina is a regional mall that has 208 shops, stores, and restaurants. The mall is two levels and is anchored by Macy's (180,000 sq ft.) to the east, JC Penney (193,963 sq ft.) to the south, Sears (137,820 sq ft.) to the west, Best Buy (45,000 sq ft.) to the north, and the XXI Forever flagship store, also to the north. There is a food court on the second level as well as other restaurants, and food and drink kiosks throughout the mall. The mall is known for its many fashion shops and high-end fashion boutiques.
The Eastland Center is a power center which has undergone major renovations since it opened in 1957. Eastland is two levels, with parking for the lower level on south side of the center and parking for the upper level on the north side. It has many larger department stores like Burlington Coat Factory, Dick's, Bed Bath & Beyond, and PetsMart. Eastland Center is anchored by Walmart to the west and by Target 122,000 sq ft (11,300 m2) to the east.
The Heights at West Covina is a new 340,000-square-foot (32,000 m2) retail shopping center located just south of Big League Dreams Sports Park. It is anchored by The Home Depot to the north, and Target to the south. The center has many stores and restaurants.
This is a list of the other larger and important shopping centers in West Covina and some of their major stores, restaurants, shops, and services.Island Pacific Plaza/Woodside Village Shopping Center; Island Pacific Filipino Supermarket, Goldilocks Filipino Bakery, and other Filipino businesses, Rite Aid, Pep Boys Auto, Shakey's, and more.
Hong Kong Plaza was rebranded into HK2 Food District and the strip mall and was completely remodeled to include many Asian cuisine restaurants — mostly Chinese with some Filipino, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Thai, and Vietnamese
West Covina Village; A large shopping center that has many stores, restaurants, shops, and services like Stater Bros., Nickel Nickel 5cent Games, FedEx Kinko's, Green Field, and more.
The Lakes At West Covina; Edwards Theater 18, One World Vegetarian Restaurant, and more.
South Hills Plaza; Marukai Market, 24 Hour Fitness, U.S. Post Office, Subway, Taco Bell, and more.
The Citrus Grove; Buffalo Wild Wings, The Vitamin Shoppe, Dalia's, The Flame Broiler, Jersey Mike's, T-Mobile, and more.
West Covina Parkway Plaza; Petco, Panera Bread, Sizzler, and more.
Quailridge Shopping Center; Foodmart International, CVS Pharmacy, Panda Express, Baskin-Robbins, and more.
Woodside Plaza; Walgreens, KFC, Arby's, and more.
Sunset & Francisquito Shopping Center; Northgate Markets, Melrose Family Fashion's, Dd's discount's, and more.
Glendora Retail District/Old Town Shops; Store13, The Cove, Tina's Tavern
McIntyre Square; 85 Degrees C, Gelatissimo, Oto-Oto Izakaya, Vincenzo's Terrazza, ECO Cleaners, Orlando Karaoke
Grand Creek Plaza; Denny's, Emperor's Mongolian Barbecue
Amar & Valinda Center; Stater Bros., AutoZone, and more.
Foothill Transit, based in West Covina, provides services across San Gabriel Valley with buses going to Downtown Los Angeles and Montclair. In addition to the bus services provided by Foothill Transit, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Agency, commonly known as Metro, provides services from El Monte Station to Cal Poly Pomona.
The city operates the Go West shuttle bus system, with three routes that provide transportation to several West Covina destinations. The city also provides a free shuttle bus to the Baldwin Park Metrolink station.
West Covina is the setting of the 1980s sci-fi parody song "It Came From West Covina" by Randel Porter & Mark Hancock
West Covina and the San Gabriel Valley are the setting for and featured prominently in the US television series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.Major League Baseball pitcher Rick Aguilera, a three-time All-Star who played in two World Series, attended Edgewood High School in West Covina.
National Football League quarterback and broadcaster Troy Aikman was born in West Covina. After playing for UCLA, he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He led the Cowboys to 3 Super Bowl championships (XXVII, XXVIII, and XXX), was named Super Bowl XXVII MVP, and in 2006 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Major League Baseball outfielder and coach Tom Brunansky attended West Covina High School.
Actor Robert Buckley was born in West Covina.
Jeff Cox attended South Hills High School. He has been a Major League Baseball player and coach.
Electronic Dance Music producer and DJ Deorro currently resides in West Covina.
Major League Baseball pitcher Joey Eischen was born in West Covina and graduated from West Covina High School and is from the Class of 1988. He lettered in football, basketball, baseball and tennis. He played in the majors from 1994 to 2006.
Baseball pitcher Carlos Fisher was born in West Covina. He pitched for the Cincinnati Reds.
Major League Baseball outfielder Jeremy Giambi attended South Hills High School. He played for four MLB teams and was featured in the film Moneyball.
Major League Baseball first baseman Jason Giambi was born in West Covina and attended South Hills High School. He was voted American League MVP in 2000.
Rock star Joan Jett, although born in Pennsylvania, moved with her family to West Covina when she was 15.
Major League Baseball outfielder Jay Johnstone, although born in Connecticut, graduated Edgewood HS in 1960.
Major League Baseball infielder Mike Lamb was born in West Covina.
Major League Baseball pitcher Cory Lidle attended South Hills High School. He was killed in a plane crash in 2006.
Singer Natalie Mejia of the girl group Girlicious was born in West Covina.
Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Merritt attended Edgewood High School.
Actress Nia Peeples was raised in West Covina; she attended and graduated from West Covina High School, class of 1980, and was also Homecoming Queen.
Author Brigitte Secard was born and raised in West Covina.
World record-breaking long jumper Mike Powell attended Edgewood High School.
Major League Baseball pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes was born in West Covina. He has pitched for numerous teams.
Actor and director Tim Robbins was born in West Covina. His films include The Shawshank Redemption, Mystic River, Bull Durham and Dead Man Walking.
Major League Baseball outfielder Gary Roenicke attended Edgewood High School.
Major League Baseball pitcher and manager Ron Roenicke attended Edgewood High School.
Major League Baseball pitcher Aaron Small attended South Hills High School. He pitched for seven MLB teams.
Brian Stewart defensive backs coach at the University of Nebraska, lived in West Covina from 1976 to 1982.
Major League Baseball pitcher and executive Bill Stoneman attended West Covina High School.
Basketball player Antoine Wright was born in West Covina. He has played for the Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors.
Rapper Mista Grimm was born in West Covina.
West Covina has two sister cities: Ōtawara, Japan