O.C. Answer Man: Why is Little Saigon Centered in Westminster?

After Saigon fell in 1975, Camp Pendleton had the first U.S. reception center for refugees. Families and religious groups in nearby Orange County sponsored a majority of the more than 50,000 refugees, giving them their first taste of American suburbia. Vietnamese-American entrepreneurs from the earliest waves bought undervalued land along Bolsa Avenue in Westminster with the goal of developing shopping centers for Asian consumers. These centers became magnets around which a community coalesced. Today, Little Saigon reaches beyond the commercial and social hub of Westminster into Garden Grove, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Anaheim, and Santa Ana. More than 184,000 Vietnamese-Americans live in O.C.—the largest such population outside Vietnam.

Chris Jepsen is the O.C. Answer Man. Have a question? Send it to cjepsen@socal.rr.com.

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