Costa Mesa is a city located in Orange County, California. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 108,724. Since its incorporation in 1953, the city has grown from a semi-rural farming community of 16,840 to a suburban city with an economy based on retail commerce and light manufacturing.
Costa Mesa is located at 33°39'54" North, 117°54'44" West (33.664969, -117.912289). Located 37 miles southeast of Los Angeles, 88 miles north of San Diego and 475 miles south of San Francisco, Costa Mesa encompasses a total of 16 square miles with its southernmost border only 1 mile from the Pacific Ocean.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 40.6 km2 (15.7 mi2). 40.5 km2 (15.6 mi2) of it is land and 0.2 km2 (0.1 mi2) of it is water. The total area is 0.38% water.
As of the census of 2000, there are 108,724 people, 39,206 households, and 22,778 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,685.8/km2 (6,956.3/mi2). There are 40,406 housing units at an average density of 998.1/km2 (2,585.2/mi2). The racial makeup of the city is 69.48% White, 1.40% Black or African American, 0.78% Native American, 6.90% Asian, 0.60% Pacific Islander, 16.57% from other races, and 4.27% from two or more races. 31.75% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 39,206 households out of which 29.2% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.8% are married couples living together, 10.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 41.9% are non-families. 28.1% of all households are made up of individuals and 6.3% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.69 and the average family size is 3.34.
In the city the population is spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 39.0% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 8.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 32 years. For every 100 females there are 105.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 103.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $50,732, and the median income for a family is $55,456. Males have a median income of $38,670 versus $32,365 for females. The per capita income for the city is $23,342. 12.6% of the population and 8.2% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 16.0% of those under the age of 18 and 6.2% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Mission San Juan Capistrano used this land for grazing in the late 18th and 19th centuries, and it remained part of a large ranchero until the mid-1800s. Settlers formed the town of Fairview in the 1880s near the modern intersection of Harbor Boulevard and Adams Avenue. An 1889 flood wiped out the railroad serving the community, however, and it shriveled.
To the south, meanwhile, the community of Harper had arisen on a siding of the Santa Ana and Newport Railroad, named after a local rancher. This town prospered on its agricultural goods. On May 11, 1920, Harper changed its name to Costa Mesa, which means coastal tableland in Spanish.
Costa Mesa surged in population during and after World War II, as many thousands trained at Santa Ana Army Air Base and returned after the war with their families. Within three decades of incorporation, the city's population had nearly quintupled.