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El Cajon is a city in San Diego County, California, United States. In a valley surrounded by mountains, the city has acquired the nickname of "The Big Box." Its name originated similarly, from the Spanish phrase "el cajón," which means "the box" or "the drawer."
The 2010 United States Census reported that El Cajon had a population of 99,478. The racial makeup of El Cajon was 43,746 (41.6%) White, 6,306 (6.3%) African American, 835 (0.8%) Native American, 3,561 (3.6%) Asian (1.7% Filipino, 0.5% Chinese, 0.4% Vietnamese, 0.2% Japanese, 0.1% Indian, 0.1% Korean, 0.6% Other), 495 (0.5%) Pacific Islander, 26,498 (26.6%) from other races, and 6,832 (6.9%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 31,542 persons (30.4%).
Approximately one-third of El Cajon residents are foreign-born. In particular, the city has a large Iraqi immigrant population, consisting of both Arabs and Chaldean Catholics; both groups are among the largest such communities in the country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau 2008-2010 Estimate, 7,537 residents are Arabs (7.6%; mainly Iraqi), and 6,409 (6.4%) are Chaldean Catholic. In 2017 a spokesperson for the city of El Cajon estimated that 15,000 to 20,000 Chaldean Catholics live in the city. In 2010 El Cajon had San Diego County's highest poverty rate among adults, at 29.7%, and children, at 36.5%.