Bellflower is a city in Los Angeles County, California, and is a suburb of Los Angeles. It was incorporated on September 3, 1957. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 72,878. The city derives its name from a mispronunciation of belle fleur, a variety of apple tree. Originally settled by dairy farmers of Dutch, Japanese, and Portuguese descent, Bellflower and neighboring Paramount served as the milk production centers for Southern California until soaring post-World War II property values motivated most of the farmers to move several miles east to the Dairy Valley/Dairyland/Dairy City area. In the 1950s and 1960s, Bellflower Boulevard, the city's main thoroughfare, was a thriving commercial strip. However, suburban growth in Orange County and the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys made Bellflower's relatively humble housing tracts decidedly unattractive, and by the 1990s much of its original population — and the businesses that served it—had left and the city began to show signs of urban problems. The departed were replaced by just about every ethnicity imaginable, to the extent that the "A-B-C" region, formed by Bellflower and neighboring Artesia and Cerritos, is considered one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse in the United States. Bellflower Boulevard has recovered some of its previous business traffic in the last decade.