It is best known as the home of Biola University (formerly the Bible Institute of Los Angeles), an evangelical Christian institution of higher education. It is also the home of the La Mirada Theatre for Fine Arts. McCoy-Rigby contributes six musicals a year. That company includes the actress-gymnast Cathy Rigby, noted for her Peter Pan performance.
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Splash!, a new pirate-themed aquatics center, is now under construction set for an October 2007 completion. The center includes a 50-meter pool, 100-yard pool, and a fun area which has two water slides and a lazy river.
The City of La Mirada was recently named a “Best Place to Live” by CNN Money Magazine. La Mirada placed 34th on the list, with the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts and the Splash! La Mirada Regional Aquatics Center as two of its main attributes. The list features 100 U.S. cities with populations between 7,500 and 50,000. California had the most nominations with eight other cities making the list. The nominations were based on data such as low crime rates, education scores, population growth, accessibility, housing affordability, school quality, arts and leisure opportunities and racial diversity.
La Mirada ("The Look" or "The Gaze") was the creation of two men, Andrew McNally, a printer and mapmaker from Chicago (see Rand McNally) and his son-in-law Edwin Neff.
In 1888, McNally purchased over 2200 acres (8.9 km²) of Rancho Los Coyotes, south of Los Angeles, for $200,000. He developed 700 acres (2.8 km²) into his own home called Windemere Ranch and surrounded it with olive, orange and lemon groves. McNally built a plant to process the olive oil, which was of the best quality, as well as a railroad station on Stage Road. From here his olive oil and fruit were shipped all over the U.S.
In 1896, McNally and Neff formed the La Mirada Land Company, which published a booklet entitled "The Country Gentleman in California", advertising parcels of land for sale including pictures, a map and descriptions of the scenic olive, alfalfa, lemon and grapefruit groves.
In 1946, "Along Your Way", a "Station by Station Description of the Santa Fe Route Through the Southwest," describes La Mirada with a population of 213, surrounded by orange, lemon, walnut and olive groves; oil wells; olive oil factory; and fruit packing houses.
In 1953, the land was sold to subdivisions for 5.2 million dollars, one of the largest real estate transactions in California. By 1960, the year the city was incorporated, La Mirada had grown from a mere 100 homes to over 8,000. The city was incorporated as "Mirada Hills" on March 23, 1960. On November 8, 1960, voters approved a change of name to the current La Mirada, which was officially certified on December 15, 1960.
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 46,783 people, 14,580 households, and 11,518 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,301.0/km² (5,960.6/mi²). There were 14,811 housing units at an average density of 728.5/km² (1,887.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 64.46% White, 1.93% Black or African American, 0.75% American Indian, 14.88% Asian, 0.27% Pacific Islander, 13.64% from other races, and 4.08% from two or more races. 33.47% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 14,580 households out of which 37.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.1% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.0% were non-families. 17.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.10 and the average family size was 3.49.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.2% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 93.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $61,632, and the median income for a family was $66,598. Males had a median income of $47,364 versus $31,993 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,404. About 3.7% of families and 5.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.1% of those under age 18 and 4.5% of those age 65 or over.