Whittier is a city in Los Angeles County, California about 12 mi southeast of Los Angeles. The city had a total population of 83,680, as of the 2000 census and encompasses 12.5 square miles (32.4 square kilometers). Like nearby Montebello, the city is considered to constitute part of the Gateway Cities and is part of the southeast area of Los Angeles County. Whittier was incorporated in February 1898, although it was first settled in 1887, and became a Charter city in 1955. The city's population has increased steadily since its pioneer days, but it experienced a rapid acceleration in growth in the 1990s. It has increased from 77,807 in 1990 to 83,680 in 2000 and is projected to grow to over 90,000 in 2010. The city is named for the poet, John Greenleaf Whittier and is home to the historic Whittier College.