According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.4 square miles (34.8 km²). 3.6 square miles (9.3 km²) of it is land and 9.8 square miles (25.5 km²) of it (73.09%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 8,551 people, 4,230 households, and 2,322 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,366.0 people per square mile (914.6/km²). There were 5,496 housing units at an average density of 1,520.7/sq mi (587.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.35% White, 0.60% African American, 0.71% Native American, 2.92% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.65% from other races, and 2.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.89% of the population.
There were 4,230 households out of which 17.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.1% were married couples living together, 6.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.1% were non-families. 35.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.02 and the average family size was 2.58.
In the city the population was spread out with 15.3% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 25.2% from 25 to 44, 28.4% from 45 to 64, and 24.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females there were 93.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $46,396, and the median income for a family was $61,036. Males had a median income of $48,606 versus $30,189 for females. The per capita income for the city was $30,835. About 6.3% of families and 9.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.5% of those under age 18 and 4.8% of those age 65 or over.
The population had a wave of expansion starting in the 1980s, after completion of waste water treatment facilities expansion designed by Kennedy Jenks Engineers; this lack of infrastructure had previously limited population growth.
In the state legislature Pismo Beach is located in the 15th Senate District, represented by Republican Abel Maldonado, and in the 33rd Assembly District, represented by Republican Sam Blakeslee. Federally, Pismo Beach is located in California's 23rd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +9 and is represented by Democrat Lois Capps.
Colleges and Universities:
Pismo Beach is the "Clam Capital" of California. The city holds the "Clam Festival" every October, complete with clam chowder competitions and a clam-themed parade. At the southern end of Price Street upon first entering Pismo Beach, a gigantic concrete clam statue greets visitors. Clamming is restricted, due to over-harvesting by humans and the protected sea otter. An 8 inch shell of the Pismo clam (Tivela stultorum) is on display at the Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce. In "Ali Baba Bunny", Bugs Bunny and his travelling companion Daffy Duck emerge from a burrow, believing they have arrived at Pismo Beach "and all the clams we can eat"