About El Centro CA: The city of El Centro was founded in 1906 and given the name because of its central location in the Imperial Valley. El Centro is located about 130 miles west of San Diego that is the 2nd largest city in California. El Centro encompasses most of the Imperial Valley by 11.019 square miles with a predominant Hispanic population of 41,242 residents. This city is mostly an agricultural business city. The main freeway that serves El Centro is Interstate 8 east/west. Although it is a small town, El Centro is expanding through the agricultural business as well as the solar power projects. Imperial Valley Mall is right off of Interstate 8 as well as many small shopping centers within the city. El Centro has two movie theaters and many parks to spend lots of family quality time.