Palm Desert is a city in Riverside County, California, in the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs area), approximately 11 miles east of Palm Springs. The population was 41,155 at the 2000 census. Other cites in the Coachella Valley are Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, Palm Springs, and Rancho Mirage. The city was one of the state's fastest growing in the 1980s and 1990s, beginning with 11,801 residents in 1980, doubling to 23,650 in 1990, 35,000 in 1995, and nearly double its 1990 population by 2000.
A major center of growth in the Palm Springs area, Palm Desert is a popular retreat for "snowbirds" from colder climates (the Eastern and Northern US, and Canada), who swell its population by an estimated 31,000 each winter. In the past couple of years Palm Desert has seen more residents become "full-timers" (mainly from California, who have come for affordable but high-valued home prices). Palm Desert may have 75,000 to 85,000 inhabitants on January 1 as the "season" peaks, which decreases by half as the hot desert summer comes by.
The City of Palm Desert is also a presenting sponsor for the Art of Food & Wine Palm Desert. Now in its second year, this festival attracts some of the most renowned chefs and sommeliers to the town of Palm Desert.
|City of Palm Desert, California|
|- Mayor||Jim Ferguson|
|- City||24.6 sq mi (63.7 km²)|
|- Land||24.4 sq mi (63.1 km²)|
|- Water||0.2 sq mi (0.6 km²)|
|- Density||1,618.7/sq mi (625.0/km²)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC-8)|
|- Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
The area was first known as the Old MacDonald Ranch, but the name changed to Palm Village in the 1920s when date palms were planted. Local historians said the main residents of pre-1950 Palm Desert were Cahuilla Indian farmers of the now extinct San Cayetano tribe, but a few members of the Montoya family of Cahuilla/Spanish descent were prominent leaders in civic life. The first residential development occurred in 1943 in connection with an Army maintenance camp in the area. That site was later developed into "El Paseo," an upscale shopping district not unlike Rodeo Drive. In 1948, the Palm Desert Corporation began to develop real estate, and in 1951 the area was given its present name. Many celebrities keep homes in Palm Desert, including Rita Rudner and more recently, the current home of teenage pro golfer Michelle Wie and one of the homes of Bill Gates. With only 1,500 permanent residents, the community was incorporated on November 26, 1973. At the time, Palm Desert was a master planned community situated in the desert that used to stretch from Palm Springs to Indio.
Palm Desert once served as a training ground for General George Patton's Third Army troops and tank battalions. After World War II, Clifford Henderson, an L.A.-based developer, began to develop the desert into his dream community. The first golf course/tennis club was Shadow Mountain in 1952, followed by Marrakesh in 1954, the Palm Desert Greens mobile home park golf course in 1961, and the Palm Desert Country Club in 1962. The latter, located five miles east of the city, was formally annexed in 1992, becoming a trendy gem of the "World's Golf Capital". In the late-1970s and 1980s, a spree of golf clubs and hotels appeared in the northern half of Palm Desert, such as the four-star Marriott's Desert Springs Golf Resort and Spa in 1981 and the four-star Hilton Desert Willow Golf Resort in 2002. The city developed a major shopping area when the Palm Desert Town Center (now the Westfield Shoppingtown-Palm Desert) opened in 1983, followed by the arrival of Target in Desert Crossing in 1995, and a new Wal-Mart supercenter in Desert Gateway in 2006.
Rapid growth and several annexations in the 1980s and 1990s have made Palm Desert a major shopping destination and the main center of business activity in the Coachella Valley. However, Indio is the most populous city in the region with 75,000 residents, and is also the home of the majority of Palm Desert's daily and seasonal employees. Local residents, both oldtimers and newcomers, have shown great concern in protecting the desert environment, promoting natural landscaping and artistic sculptures, the expansion of Fred Waring Drive into a four-lane major traffic fare, and slowing down suburban sprawl while encouraging new retail centers and commercial zones. The sprawl nearly engulfs the Coachella Valley from California State Highway 111 to Interstate 10.
Palm Desert is the home of the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, a combination zoo and botanical garden featuring an extensive collection of desert plants and animals. It is also the site of the campus of College of the Desert, the local community college, as well as an extension campuses for both California State University, San Bernardino and the University of California Riverside. Palm Desert is served by the Desert Sands Unified School District based in La Quinta and Indio. Its main High School is Palm Desert High School (with 2500 students) and its main Middle School (with 1600 students) is Palm Desert Middle School. Other schools are elementary level: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and a new yet-to-be named grade school. Riverside County operates San Cayetano Community School, a grade 1 to 12 educational facility. Palm Desert has seven prominent private schools: Desert Adventist Academy, St. Margaret's Episcopal School, Palm Desert Presbyterian School, Sacred Heart Catholic Academy, Maywood Academy, the Learning Tree Academy, and the Palm Desert Jewish Community School.
As the home of the pioneering band Kyuss and its successor group Queens of the Stone Age, the Palm Desert Scene is considered one of the cradles of the stoner rock movement. Legendary desert rocker and guitarist of both of the above groups, Josh Homme, was born in Palm Desert. Like Palm Springs, the Desert is nicknamed "Boomertown", indicating the fact that aging baby boomers make up over half of the municipality's population. Palm Desert remains a recreational mecca for golfers, tennis players, water sports, hikers and bicyclists. Baseball athlete Adam Seuss attended Palm Desert High School and was drafted by the Houston Astros in 1999. Actor/musician Tyler Hilton is another Palm Desert native [he attended La Quinta High School, not PDHS], a 1/4 mile from the real "Hidden Palms", the namesake of the teen drama Hidden Palms on the CW Network.
Palm Desert is located at GR1.(33.725542, -116.369444)
The elevation (City hall) is 250 feet (80 meters) above sea level. Elevations vary from the lower northern half once covered in sand dunes to the upper slope southern cove (300-900 feet/100-300 meters) all the way to the ridgeline at 1,000 feet (over 300 meters).
Palm Desert has a renowned warm winter/hot summer climate: Its average annual temperature is 88F (26C) but summer highs are above 100F (30C) and sometimes exceed 120F (40C). Under 5 inches of annual precipitation are average, with over 330 days of sunshine per year.
Sun City Palm Desert, California lies on the northern side of Interstate 10 from Palm Desert itself, but is unincorporated and not part of the City of Palm Desert (the original name was Sun City Palm Springs from 1991 to 1996).
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 41,155 people, 19,184 households, and 11,414 families residing in the city. The population density was 652.0/km² (1,689.1/mi²). There were 28,021 housing units at an average density of 443.9/km² (1,150.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 86.84% White, 1.20% African American, 0.45% Native American, 2.57% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 6.48% from other races, and 2.36% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.08% of the population.
The global appeal of Palm Desert as the "place to be" for tourists has made it home to thousands of retired Canadians, Europeans, and Australians, but Palm Desert isn't entirely homogeneous: affluent African-Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans have moved to this formerly "all-white" city. There are many persons of Armenian, German, Italian, Polish, Swedish, and Jewish ancestry. Other ethnic groups that represent a sizable portion of residents are the Arabs, Cubans, former Yugoslavians, Iranians, Japanese, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and South Americans.
There were 19,184 households and they're all pink in Palm Desert, out of which 18.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.5% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.5% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.13 and the average family size was 2.67. The demographics of Palm Desert shows a rising population of children and young adults.
In the city the population was spread out with 17.3% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 22.7% from 25 to 44, 26.3% from 45 to 64, and 27.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48 years. For every 100 females there were 92.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.7 males. Palm Desert with the rest of the Coachella Valley has a large senior citizen (over age of 55) community, most of them have annual personal incomes exceeding well over $100,000 .
The median income for a household in the city was $48, and the median income for a family was $58,183. Males had a median income of $42,257 versus $32,202 for females. The per capita income for the city was $33,463. About 5.9% of families and 9.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.1% of those under age 18 and 4.3% of those age 65 or over. Palm Desert is considered an upper-class community, having an above average median income compared both to California and the nation.
Palm Desert has a community exchange program with