ABOUT Costa Mesa
The first to call the Costa Mesa region home were American Indians who lived near and on the Santa Ana River’s banks. In the beginning years of the 17th century, Capistrano cattle roamed the Costa Mesa area, and between 1817-1823, adobe structures were built to give shelter to majordomos and their men, which are structures still standing today. When the 1880s rolled around, Jose Antonio Yorba’s heirs began selling segments of their large ranchero area.
Towns began springing up: Fairview and Harper, to name two. Harper, situated along the Santa Ana and Newport Railroad, officially changed its name in 1920 to Costa Mesa. In Spanish, this new name means coastal tableland. The 20th century saw the growth of buildings and oil drilling industries, and after the struggle of the great depression and a massive 1933 earthquake, Costa Mesa is now a major industrial and commercial contributor to Orange County.
In 1999 Costa Mesa gave itself the title of “The City of the Arts”. Since then, the Pacific Symphony and the South Coast Repertory Theater have called Costa Mesa Home. The Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall and the Samueli Theater also opened in 2005.
Residents of Costa Mesa continue to express their support and admiration for the arts and also frequent fine restaurant establishments, retail centers, and the thriving action sports industry. With a predominant population of 44.4% Hispanic, 42.2% white, 7.6% Asian, 1.6% black, and the remainder 4.3% hailing from various other ethnicities, Costa Mesa’s people are just as diverse as the city’s cultural interests.
TOP Costa Mesa HIGHLIGHTS
Costa Mesa has a semi-arid climate, with annual daytime temperatures that typically vary from 48°F to 79°F and is rarely below 41°F or above 87°F. The city enjoys around 274 sunny days per year. August is typically the warmest month, with average highs of around 79.4°F.
The best time for outdoor adventures in the city is from early June to mid-October when temperatures are usually mild. During these months, most residents and tourists go out for hiking and biking around the well-maintained parks, a good game of golf, or discovering a wide array of shops and restaurants.
There is little rainfall throughout the year in the city, with an average of only 36 days of rain. February is the rainiest month with 7 days of rain.
Costa Mesa is located near five major regional faults – the Newport-Inglewood, San Joaquin Hills, Whittier, San Andreas, and San Jacinto. This makes the city vulnerable to seismic hazards and earthquakes that can cause damage to properties and public utilities.
Costa Mesa has a high risk of earthquakes with a total of more than 4,000 earthquakes since 1931. According to the USGS, there is a 93.17% chance of a major earthquake within 50 kilometers of the city within the next 50 years.
The Santa Ana River runs along the city’s eastern boundaries, making neighborhoods in this area susceptible to flooding hazards.
Costa Mesa is working to improve flood control improvements and beef up efforts to protect properties along the river’s route from severe flooding.
Costa Mesa Commute Time
Costa Mesa Commuter Travel Behavior
Newport Boulevard cuts through Costa Mesa’s center from the southwest to the northeast, where the roadway also connects to Corona Del Mar Freeway and the San Diego Freeway.
These frequented roadways allow for fast travel to work, nearby cities, and multiple beaches. The Pacific Coastal Highway is just south of Costa Mesa’s border, which gives ready access to California’s coastline and other bordering states.
The John Wayne Airport is only a hair outside of the northeastern border, and as one of the friendliest airports in the country, John Wayne Airport means national and international travel by air is convenient and nearby for Costa Mesa residents.
Costa Mesa is among the cities in California with the highest crime rates.
Overall, the crime rate in the area is 36 per 1,000 residents. This rate is about 40% higher than the national average. Costa Mesa’s crime rate is higher than about 90% of communities in California. Costa Mesa is safer than about 26% of cities in the U.S.
Violent crime rate in the area is 3 per 1,000 residents or about 21% lower than the national average.
Property crime rate, meanwhile, is 33 per 1,000 residents or about 51% higher than the national average.
The safest neighborhoods in the city are located in the southwestern area near the Pacific Avenue, Gisler Avenue, and Placentia Avenue. The neighborhoods with the highest crime rates are those near the Sunflower Avenue and Bristol Street.
Seven members including the mayor comprise the Costa Mesa City Council. Meetings are held at 6PM on the first and third Tuesday of every month, and Study sessions take place at 5PM on the second Tuesday of a given month.
The Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce has served the city’s business community for over 50 years. The mission is to support the vitality of Costa Mesa’s marketplace and increase the quality of Costa Mesa’s community life. With resources, networking, and marketing tools, this Chamber of Commerce goes beyond profit alone.
The mayor is elected by a popular vote for a two-year term. Costa Mesa’s voters have only used this approach since 2018 elections. The mayor is a member of multiple committees relating to education, city planning, and human relations. The mayor also volunteers with Costa Mesa charities and nonprofit organizations.
Costa Mesa Population 2020
Of Costa Mesa’s more than 113,000 residents, 49.6% are female and 50.3% are male. The city’s population has increased by 3.4% since 2010 and is growing at a rate of 0.49% every year.
Costa Mesa has a relatively young population with a median age of 35 years. An estimated 29% of the residents are aged 35 to 54 years, and 20% are aged 25 to 34 years.
Spanning over 16 miles, Costa Mesa has a population density of 7,286 people per square mile.
Costa Mesa Population Over Time
Costa Mesa Population by year
Costa Mesa Population by Sex
Costa Mesa Population by Age and Sex
Costa Mesa Diversity 2020
In terms of racial makeup, Costa Mosa is relatively more diverse than most cities in California. 72% are White residents, 8.4% are Asian residents, and around 13% of the population is composed of other races. French, Irish, German, Italian, and English are the other ancestries of residents in the city.
61.3% of the city’s residents speak only English, and 29.4% speak Spanish. 1.9% of the area’s population speaks other Indo-European languages.
Costa Mesa Race & Ethnic Diversity
Costa Mesa Ancestry (Top 10)
Costa Mesa Languages Spoken (Top 10)
Costa Mesa Foreign born population
Costa Mesa Education 2020
Costa Mesa is home to 17 highly-rated public elementary schools, 5 public middle schools, and 10 public high schools.
Over 53,000 or 68% of the adults in the city have gained an education beyond the high school level, with 21% earning a college degree.
Of the adults aged 25 and over, 84.9% are high school graduates. Nearly 22,000 or 40% have a bachelor’s degree, over 5,500 or 6.9% have an associate degree, and nearly 10,000 or 12.3% have graduate degrees.
Approximately 11,000 or 15% of residents aged 25 and over had not graduated from high school.
Costa Mesa Educational Attainment of Adults (25 years and over)
Costa Mesa Level of Education
SCHOOLS IN Costa Mesa
Costa Mesa contains a number of educational campuses for students K-12 and beyond. The Orange Coast College, Vanguard University, Whittier Law School, and National University are upper-education campuses.
Costa Mesa’s public high schools, middle schools, elementary campuses, preschool facilities, and private campuses all work towards providing the best quality education to Costa Mesa’s youngest residents possible. Besides private educational campuses and institutions beyond the high school level,
The Newport Mesa Unified School District encapsulates the entirety of Costa Mesa’s schools. Private campuses generally consist of religious-based curriculum, though nonreligious campuses can also be found in Costa Mesa. The large majority of public and private campuses feature low student/teacher ratios of less than 25:1, with private schools typically cutting that ratio in half.
The goals of Costa Mesa’s educational institutions revolve around the mission to see students graduate with necessary skills, knowledge, and attitudes to build their lives with successful career and both civic and personal goals.
Unified on July 1, 1966, Newport Mesa Unified School District has over 21,000 students enrolled in their campuses.
With 31 schools and an average of 25 students per classroom, NMUSD seeks to demonstrate consistent improvement in student achievement, graduation rates, dropout rates, responsiveness, family involvement, increased diversity, and affordable education.
The district covers 58.83 square miles across Newport Beach, Corona del Mar, and of course, Costa Mesa. Newport Mesa Unified School District employs around 1,700 highly qualified and certified teachers who help build and maintain a welcoming and inspiring educational environment across all campuses.
Costa Mesa Housing 2020
Costa Mesa has more conveniently priced residential properties than the surrounding Newport Beach area. However, the city’s proximity to the same locations Newport Beach is known for makes Costa Mesa’s real estate market healthy for similar reasons.
These reasons include Costa Mesa’s close proximity to the coast and the city’s easy commuting distances from prime Californian attractions. For the last four years, the median sales price of all residential properties has steadily grown from $600K in 2014 to the three year average of $810K. Two-bedroom properties show a clear upward trend in the last three years ranging between $477K and $580K.
Meanwhile, four bedroom properties show a comparable increase from $580K to $870K in the past three years. Based on trends in number of sold properties over the past ten years, Costa Mesa experiences trackable high and low periods that stretch between two years. Costa Mesa is made up of a majority of properties rented out to tenants, with 41% of residents living in homes they own.
Costa Mesa Home Appreciation Rates
Costa Mesa Home Value
Costa Mesa Median Home Value
Costa Mesa Median Gross Rent
Costa Mesa Home Ownership
Costa Mesa Rent & Ownership
Costa Mesa Rent vs Owner Occupied by Household Type
Costa Mesa Household Type
Costa Mesa Occupied & Vacant Number of Homes and Apartments
Costa Mesa Real Estate Trends
Costa Mesa Age of Homes
Costa Mesa Types of Homes
Costa Mesa Homes Size
Costa Mesa Property Taxes
Costa Mesa Property Taxes Range
Costa Mesa Homes for Sale
With around 41% of residents living in properties they own and 59% choosing to rent their living space, Costa Mesa’s housing options offer more affordable living arrangements compared to a few of the surrounding cities, while Costa Mesa remains a convenient location for easy travel.
These benefits and many more make the housing options of Costa Mesa attractive to current and prospective residents. Single family homes are the most popular form of housing in Costa Mesa throughout the multiple neighborhoods, but condominiums and apartments are also popular residential properties that are known for being affordable and modern.
Newly constructed properties are some of the more expensive options in Costa Mesa, with properties priced well above the median property value of $800,000. To reflect the rent vs. own population, the majorities of properties are for rent, and properties to own are of high market value.
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Costa Mesa Economy 2020
Costa Mesa enjoys a relatively stable economy. The unemployment rate in the city is 4.8%, well above the 3.7% national unemployment rate. The job market in the area has grown by 0.7% since 2019 and job growth over the next ten years is predicted to reach 32%.
86% of the workers in the city are employed in white-collar jobs that include office, sales, and management positions.
The median household income in the city is $79,207. This is approximately 32% higher than the US average of $53,482 a year.
The average income of a resident in Costa Mesa is $70,358 per year. This is 59% higher than the US average of $28,555 a year. The per capita income in the area is $39,028.
The overall poverty rate in the city is 13%.
Costa Mesa Median Household Income
Costa Mesa Per Capita Income
Costa Mesa Income Distribution
Costa Mesa Income Distribution by Gender in Common Jobs
Costa Mesa Income Distribution by Race and Ethnicity
Costa Mesa Unemployment Rate
Costa Mesa Employment Distribution by Age
Costa Mesa Employment Industries
Cost of Living
With a relatively very stable housing market, Costa Mesa is increasingly becoming among the most affluent cities in California.
The cost of living in the city is about 18% higher than the California average, and about 66% higher than the national average.
With a median home value of about $700,000, housing costs in the city are about 193% higher than the national average.
Transportation costs, meanwhile, are about 30% higher than the national average. Utility costs are about 10% lower than the national average.
One can also expect to pay for healthcare expenses that are about 9% higher than the national average, and goods and services that are about 10% higher than the national average.
Costa Mesa Poverty By Age and Gender
Costa Mesa Poverty By Race and Ethnicity
Things to do
As a primarily suburban area with an economy consisting of great retail, commerce, and manufacturing endeavors, Costa Mesa’s population of over 109,000 is split between Mesa Verde, College Park, Monticello Community, Halecrest, and Mesa Del Mar, with the Costa Mesa Sanitary District and Downtown areas mainly devoted to business ventures.
On the western side of Costa Mesa, Mesa Verde comprises beautiful parks, walking trails, and scenic landscapes, in addition to a lovely golf course. To the northeast, College Park and Monticello Community are lively, youthful residential neighborhoods.
Mesa Del Mar, which is at the corner of California State Route 73 and Costa Mesa Freeway, features residential homes. Westside Costa Mesa encompasses Canyon Park and other business areas, and EastSide Costa Mesa runs along the Costa Mesa Freeway to cover the Santa Ana Country Club area next to California State Route 73.
Costa Mesa’s various neighborhoods all contribute to the city’s lasting appeal as a peaceful residential city with vibrant attractions.