Torrance was part of the 1784 Rancho San Pedro Spanish land grant, given to Juan Jose Dominguez.
In the 1900s, a real estate developer Jared S. Torrance and other investors created a mixed industrial residential community south of Los Angeles. They purchased part of the an Old Spanish land grant and hired Frederick L. Olmsted Jr. to design a new community plan, The town was named after Jared S. Torrance. The first residential avenue was Gramercy and the second was Andreo. Both are located in the area of Old Town Torrance.
One of the country's few urban wetlands can be found in Torrance. Madrona Marsh is nature preserved on undeveloped land to be set aside for oil productions. Torrance was also part of the a filming location in the movie Volcano in 1997.
Torrance boundaries include Redondo Beach Blvd. and the cities of Lawndale and Gardena to the North. Western Ave and Harbor Gateway neighborhood form the eastern border and Lomita, Rolling Hills Estates and Palos Verdes Estates form the southern border, the Pacific Ocean and Redondo Beach are to the west.
In the 2000 census, there were 137, 946 people, 54,542 households and 36,270 families residing in Torrance. The racial makeup of Torrance was 59.16% White, 28.61% Asian, 4.72% from two or more races, 4.57% from other races, 2.19% African American, 0.41% Native American and 0.35% Pacific Islander. 12.79% of the population were Hispanic or Latino race.
There were 54,542 households out of which 31.1% had children under the age 18. 52.1% were married couples, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband and 33.5% were non-families. 27.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years or older.
According to a 2006 estimate, the median income for a household in Torrance was $68,324 and the median income for a family was $82,110. Males median income of $51,472 and women was $37,114. The per capita income for the city was $28,144. About 4.5% of families and 6.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.0% of those under 18 and 6.8% of those 65 years or older.