Sylmar is the northernmost neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Historically known for its profusion of sylvan olive orchards, Sylmar can trace its past to the 18th century and the founding of the San Fernando Mission. In 1890 olive production was begun in a systematic manner. The Sylmar climate was also considered healthy, and so a sanitarium was established, the first in a series of hospitals in the neighborhood. There are fourteen public and eight private schools within Sylmar.
The population of the Sylmar area was roughly 3,500 in 1940, 10,000 in 1950, 31,000 in 1962, 40,000 in 1972, 41,922 in 1980 and 53,392 in 1986. By 2000, a "wave of immigrants and working poor" had enveloped Sylmar, Pacoima, Arleta and Sun Valley, resulting in a housing shortage for lower-income people. The 2000 U.S. census counted 69,499 residents in the 12.46-square-mile Sylmar neighborhood—or 5,579 people per square mile, among the lowest population densities for the city. In 2008, the city estimated that the population had increased to 79,614. In 2009, the Sylmar Chamber of Commerce estimated that the population was approximately 90,000 residents.
In 1980 Sylmar was predominantly white, the ethnic breakdown being 58% white and 36% Latino.