Laguna Niguel is a city located in southern Orange County, California. The name "Laguna Niguel" is derived from the Spanish word "Laguna" which means lagoon, and the word "Nigueli" which was the name of a Juaneño Indian village that was once located on Aliso Creek. The population was 61,891 at the 2000 census. The city was primarily built after 1980 as an unincorporated master planned community located in the San Joaquin Hills near Laguna Beach. It borders Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills, and Aliso Viejo. Laguna Niguel is also noteworthy of being the host of the 'Mooning of the Amtrak' for 30 years as of July, 2009.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 38.1 km² (14.7 mi²). 38.0 km² (14.7 mi²) of it is land and 0.2 km² (0.1 mi²) of it (0.41%) is water. Laguna Niguel is one of several cities bordering Aliso and Wood Canyons Regional Park.
As of the census of 2000, there were 61,891 people, 23,217 households, and 16,785 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,630.0/km² (4,221.0/mi²). There were 23,885 housing units at an average density of 629.1/km² (1,629.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 1.25% African American, 0.29% Native American, 7.73% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 3.48% from other races, 83.50% White, and 3.62% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.38% of the population.
There were 23,217 households out of which 38.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.2% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.7% were non-families. 20.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.10.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.6% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 32.9% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 8.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 94.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.2 males.
According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $95,925, and the median income for a family was $108,647. Males had a median income of $68,640 versus $40,487 for females. The per capita income for the city was $39,167. About 2.8% of families and 4.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.6% of those under age 18 and 4.1% of those age 65 or over.
In the state legislature Laguna Niguel is located in the 33rd Senate District, represented by Republican Mimi Walters, and in the 73rd Assembly District, represented by Republican Diane Harkey. Federally, Laguna Niguel is located in California's 48th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +8 and is represented by Republican John Campbell.
Laguna Niguel is located on what used to be the Mexican land grant of Juan Avila. When California became a United States territory in 1848, he had to legally battle to retain ownership of the land, which cost him significantly. He retained ownership until 1865, when a severe drought killed off most of his cattle.
Lewis Moulton, owner of the Moulton Company, bought the area of modern-day Laguna Niguel in 1895, along with significant other portions of the surrounding area from farmers that were hard pressed to earn a living due to a local drought in the area.
The Laguna Niguel Corporation, started by Cabot, Cabot, and Forbes from Boston in 1959, made it one of the first master planned communities in California. Victor Gruen, a Vienna architect, and Associates developed a community plan for 7,100 acres (29 km2). The Avco Community Developer in 1969 continued the plan, which by then held 6,500 residents.
The construction of the San Diego, I-5, Freeway in 1959 allowed more people to arrive. The first communities developed in Laguna Niguel were right along the coast, touching the southern border of Laguna Beach. These communities were called Monarch Bay and the Monarch Bay Terrace built between 1960 and 1962.
In 1973, Laguna Niguel Regional Park opened, and in 1974 a one-million square-foot ziggurat building was given to the United States government. These two projects constituted the largest ever in the city, up to present day.
In October 2007, Laguna Niguel became a sister city with Al-Qaim, Iraq.
In 1971, a one-million square-foot ziggurat building, originally built for Rockwell International and presently owned by the United States government, was designed by Los Angeles-based architect William Pereira. The Chet Holifield Federal Building, as it is now known, is home to millions of microfilms as documents of land agreements between the American government and the original Indian Tribes of the southwest United States. It is also home to the Western Regional Department of Homeland Security and the California Service Center of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The building was used for the 1995 movie Outbreak, where it served as the exterior for the Center for Disease Control headquarters. Earlier, the building was featured in an ending scene for the 1975 sci-fi movie Death Race 2000.
The city is served by the Capistrano Unified School District.
It is served by:
Colleges (Served by the South Orange County Community College District)
Over one-third of Laguna Niguel is designated as open space. Major parks in the city include:
Laguna Niguel is home to many upscale neighborhoods including Bear Brand Ranch, Ocean Ranch, Coronado Pointe, South Peak, Crest de Ville, Palmilla, and Monarch Point, which offer city, canyon, and ocean views. Other major neighborhoods include Rancho Niguel, Marina Hills, Niguel West, Niguel Summit, Beacon Hill, El Niguel Heights, Kite Hill, and San Joaquin Hills.