USC Dornsife College Of Letters Arts and Sciences

University of Southern California

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Appendix: Geographic Profile of Irvine

Irvine is a suburban incorporated city in Orange County, California. It is a master planned city, mainly developed by the Irvine Company since the 1960s. Irvine was formally incorporated on December 28, 1971, and comprises 66 square miles with a population of 212,375 as of the 2010 census.

Because of its good schools, jobs, and housing, the city was chosen in 2008 by as the fourth best place to live in the United States; in September 2011, Businessweek listed Irvine as the 5th best city in the U.S. In June 2010, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that Irvine had the lowest violent crime rate among cities in the United States with populations of more than 100,000, and in August 2008 the Census Bureau ranked Irvine as having the seventh highest median income among cities in the United States with populations of more than 65,000.

Irvine is home to the University of California, Irvine (UCI), Concordia University, Irvine Valley College, the Orange County Center of the University of Southern California (USC), Brandman University (affiliated with Chapman University), and the satellite campuses of Alliant International University, California State University Fullerton (CSUF), University of La Verne and Pepperdine University.

The 2010 United States Census reported that Irvine had a population of 212,375. The population density was 3,195.8 people per square mile (1,233.9/km²). The racial makeup of Irvine was 107,215 (50.5 percent) White, 3,718 (1.8 percent) African American, 355 (0.2 percent) Native American, 83,176 (39.2 percent) Asian, 334 (0.2 percent) Pacific Islander, 5,867 (2.8 percent) from other races, and 11,710 (5.5 percent) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino persons of any race are 19,621 persons (9.2 percent).

On January 26, 2003 the Los Angeles Times reported that

Irvine… has emerged as one of the nation’s most religiously diverse suburbs… Here, there’s a Buddhist temple that can house 42 monks, a Korean church that boasts 4,000 members and a $50-million K-12 Jewish day school. There’s a $ 4-million Islamic elementary school, the county’s largest Greek Orthodox Church and a university run by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod… Ahead is a $37-million Jewish community center and a Mormon temple, which sits just outside Irvine’s border on land annexed by Newport Beach in 1998… The religious pluralism in Irvine reflects a national trend in which large institutions of faith are following immigrants to the suburbs, creating houses of worship that are also cultural centers for newcomers to America… The construction of mosques, temples and buildings more exotic than a standard church and steeple have caused some consternation in suburban neighborhoods not accustomed to the sights. But experts say acceptance is growing, especially in the post-Sept. 11 era.8

Our research has located 90 congregations in Irvine. We have also identified two interfaith groups, the Newport, Mesa, Irvine Interfaith Council and UCI’s Interfaith center. Mark Whitlock, pastor at Christ Our Redeemer AME Church in Irvine and executive director of USC’s Cecil Murray Center, reported that that one ministerial alliance exists, the Orange County Ministerial Alliance, which is a small group of African-American pastors.

Brie Loskota is the former executive director (2016-2021) of the USC Center for Religion and Civil Culture.

Hebah Farrag was the assistant director of research of the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture through 2023.

Richard Flory is the executive director of the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture.