Wealthy latinos find a home in Whittier

The Los Angeles Times has an interesting article about the increasing number of wealthy latinos living in Whittier, CA. Whittier was founded by Quakers during the 1800’s. When it comes to wealthy folks of color we always read or hear about where wealthy blacks live throughout the United States, but we never hear this about latinos.

Despite the fact that Whittier is majority latino, whites still hold political power. This includes having an all white, mostly Republican City Council.

Upscale Latinos find a home

Once known for its Quaker past and links to Richard Nixon, Whittier is coming to symbolize a new set of aspirations.

By Hector Becerra
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

The Zapantas are fourth-generation Mexican Americans from East Los Angeles, part of a wave of doctors and lawyers, small-business owners and school administrators who are remaking Whittier into a center of upper-middle- class and upper-class Latino life in Southern California.

Like Reilly years before, the Zapantas host political events at the spacious mansion. But their preferred candidates are Latino Democrats. They have held two fundraisers for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and one for former presidential candidate Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico. Once a year, they offer tours of their vast collection of Mexican art.

The last U.S. census counted Whittier’s population at 83,838. Latinos constituted 23% of Whittier residents in 1980; they were 56% as of 2000 and that number is presumed to be more than 60% by now.

The city’s neighborhoods reflect a range of economic levels, with working-class and middle-class residents tending to live in the flatlands and the affluent higher in the hills.

And parts of Whittier have their social problems, including gangs and homelessness. But unlike nearby Huntington Park, Maywood and South Gate, which became much poorer as illegal immigrants surged in, Whittier “is where the heart of the Latino bourgeoisie wants to be,” said Daniel Duran, an associate professor of business at Whittier College.

The college, where Nixon got his bachelor’s degree, now has a student body that is nearly one-third Latino, the highest proportion of Latino students at any private liberal arts college in the United States.

You can read the entire article here.

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