Rancho Santa Margarita is a city in Orange County, California, United States. One of Orange County's youngest cities, Rancho Santa Margarita is a master planned community set upon rolling hills. Most neighborhoods in Rancho Santa Margarita are within various homeowners associations. The population was 47,214 at the 2000 census.
The city seal has the brands of Rancho Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita and Las Flores on the border, with artwork containing Santiago Peak in the background. The tower in the foreground symbolizes the Rancho Santa Margarita Lake Tower.
Hughes Aircraft Company's Microelectronic Systems Division and Connecting Devices Division moved to Rancho Santa Margarita in May 1988 from Irvine. In August 1992 the Hughes plant closed its facilities and moved the division to Carlsbad, California due to budget constraints in the aerospace industry.
La Cañada Flintridge had the longest city name in California with 18 letters until January 1, 2000, when the title was ceded to Rancho Santa Margarita upon the latter's incorporation.
Rancho Santa Margarita is bordered by the city of Mission Viejo on the west, the census-designated Coto de Caza and Las Flores on the south, Trabuco Canyon on the north, and the Cleveland National Forest on the east.
SAMLARC is often referred to as the master association in Rancho Santa Margarita because other smaller sub associations fall within its membership and it encompasses the original footprint of the master planned community of Rancho Santa Margarita. SAMLARC comprises roughly 13,000 units and maintains most streetscapes, medians, parks and trails within the community. In total, SAMLARC runs and maintains 13 parks, 4 pools, a lagoon, a lake, and numerous trails within the community. One of SAMLARC's most popular parks, Central Park located next to City Hall, contains a large amphitheater where a number of community events are held each year. Central Park is also home to an arena soccer rink that was converted from a roller hockey rink. SAMLARC also maintains a popular skate and dog park that are located within SAMLARC's Canada Vista Park.
Dove Canyon is a private residential community located in eastern Rancho Santa Margarita. It is a small enclave of approximately 1,200 homes and 5,000 residents. Included within the guard-gated entry is a Jack Nicklaus signature golf club, pool, tennis courts, a small child's park, a wide field, a shopping center, and a reservoir. The majority of its residents are upper middle class residents of Orange County, and all of the homes in Dove Canyon are single-family residences. It is located in the Southeasternmost foothills of Orange County. Major roads include Dove Canyon/Bell Canyon and Sycamore Canyon. A horse trail starts at the waterfalls outside of the community and continues until the end of Sycamore Canyon. From there, hikers, horse riders, bikers, etc. can continue into Dove Canyon's neighbor community, Coto de Caza
Robinson Ranch is a mid-sized residential community located northeastern Rancho Santa Margarita south of Trabuco Canyon. It is one of the older communities in Rancho Santa Margarita. It has several condominium areas closer to Plano Trabuco Road and a large park. Major Roads include Robinson Ranch and Shadow Rock. Like Dove Canyon and Rancho Cielo it is assigned with a Trabuco Canyon zip code even though the areas were annexed into Rancho Santa Margarita when the city incorporated in 2000.
Rancho Cielo is a smaller residential community located in eastern Rancho Santa Margarita. It includes gated entry with security guard. It is near the intersection of Plano Trabuco Road and Dove Canyon Drive. All of the homes are all single family residences and the majority of its residents are upper-middle class. Major Roads include Rancho Cielo and Camino Del Cielo.
Rancho Santa Margarita, like most of coastal Southern California, generally has a Mediterranean climate. The name derives from its similarity to the climate of areas along the Mediterranean Sea. Summers are warm to hot, and winters are cool, rarely falling below freezing. Precipitation in Rancho Santa Margarita occurs predominantly during the winter months. The average January temperature in Rancho Santa Margarita is 56 °F (13 °C), while the average August temperature is 73 °F (23 °C).
As of the census of 2000, there were 47,214 people, 16,253 households, and 12,417 families residing within the city. The population density was 1,485.7/km² (3,847.6/mi²). There were 16,515 housing units at an average density of 519.7/km² (1,345.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 81.59% White, 1.75% African American, 0.42% Native American, 7.40% Asian, 0.21% Pacific Islander, 4.49% from other races, and 4.15% from two or more races. Hispanic of any race were 13.00% of the population.
There were 16,253 households out of which 51.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.7% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.6% were non-families. 17.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.90 and the average family size was 3.35.
In the city the population was spread out with 33.6% under the age of 18, 5.7% from 18 to 24, 41.4% from 25 to 44, 15.9% from 45 to 64, and 3.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.9 males.
According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $95,061, and the median income for a family was $110,799. Males had a median income of $61,314 versus $40,799 for females. The per capita income for the city was $31,531. About 1.5% of families and 2.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.1% of those under age 18 and 4.2% of those age 65 or over. Most of the neighborhoods in RSM are maintained by larger homeowner's associations including Melinda Heights, town center, Dove Canyon, Rancho Cielo, Robinson Ranch, and Trabuco Highlands. Dove Canyon, Trabuco Highlands, Robinson Ranch, and Rancho Cielo were all established before Rancho Santa Margarita was an incorporated community. East of Plano Tabuco Road is designated with a Trabuco Canyon (92679) zip code even though the area falls within the City of Rancho Santa Margarita boundary.
In the state legislature Rancho Santa Margarita is located in the 33rd Senate District, represented by Republican Dick Ackerman, and in the 71st Assembly District, represented by Republican Todd Spitzer. Federally, Rancho Santa Margarita is located in California's 42nd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +10 and is represented by Republican Gary Miller.
The television series The Real Housewives of Orange County, although based in Coto De Caza, is mainly filmed in Rancho Santa Margarita where many of the housewives do business, shopping, commuting, and dining.
The city's name often creates confusion: people in the Las Flores, Dove Canyon, Rancho Cielo, or Robinson Ranch neighborhoods, for example, can receive mail addressed to them at Rancho Santa Margarita, Dove Canyon, Coto de Caza, Robinson Ranch or Trabuco Canyon.
Carson Palmer, 2 time Pro Bowl NFL QB