Costa Mesa is a suburban city in Orange County, California, United States. The population was 108,724 at the 2000 census. Since its incorporation in 1953, the city has grown from a semi-rural farming community of 16,840 to a suburban city with an economy based on retail, commerce and light manufacturing.
In 1801, the Spanish Empire granted to Jose Antonio Yorba, which he named Rancho San Antonio. Yorba's great rancho included the lands where the cities of Olive, Orange, Villa Park, Santa Ana, Tustin, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach stand today.
After the Mexican-American war, California became part of the United States and American settlers arrived in this area and formed the town of Fairview in the 1880s near the modern intersection of Harbor Boulevard and Adams Avenue. An 1889 flood wiped out the railroad serving the community, however, and it shriveled.
To the south, meanwhile, the community of Harper had arisen on a siding of the Santa Ana and Newport Railroad, named after a local rancher. This town prospered on its agricultural goods. On May 11 1920, Harper changed its name to Costa Mesa, which means "tableland coast" in Spanish.
Costa Mesa surged in population during and after World War II, as many thousands trained at Santa Ana Army Air Base and returned after the war with their families. Within three decades of incorporation, the city's population had nearly quintupled.
The commercial district surrounding South Coast Plaza, which contains parts of northern Costa Mesa and southern Santa Ana, is sometimes called South Coast Metro.
The Orange County Performing Arts Center, eVocal, and South Coast Repertory Theater are based in the city. A local newspaper, the Daily Pilot, is owned, operated, and printed by the Los Angeles Times.
Costa Mesa offers 26 parks, a municipal golf course, 26 public schools and 2 libraries. It is also home to the Orange County Fairgrounds, which hosts one of the largest fairs in California, the Orange County Fair, each July. The Fair receives more than one million visitors each year. Adjacent to the Fairgrounds is the Pacific Amphitheater, which has hosted acts such as Madonna, Bill Cosby, Jessica Simpson, Steppenwolf, and many more. Sublime mentions Costa Mesa on their "thanx" track, on 40 oz to freedom.
The 9.5 acre (38,000 m²) Costa Mesa Civic Center is located at 77 Fair Drive. City Hall is a five-story building where the primary administrative functions of the City are conducted. Also contained in the Civic Center complex are Council Chambers, the Police facility, Communications building and Fire Station No. 5.
There were 39,206 households out of which 29.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.8% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.9% were non-families. 28.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.34.
In the city the population was spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 39.0% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 8.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 105.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $50,732, and the median income for a family was $55,456. Males had a median income of $38,670 versus $32,365 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,342. About 8.2% of families and 12.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.0% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.
Institutions of higher learning located in Costa Mesa include Orange Coast College, Vanguard University (affiliated with the Assemblies of God), and Whittier Law School (a satellite of Whittier College).
Costa Mesa has two high schools, Costa Mesa High School and Estancia High School. Costa Mesa has two public middle schools; Tewinkle Middle School, which was named after Costa Mesa's first mayor, and Costa Mesa Middle School which shares the same campus as Costa Mesa High School. Costa Mesa also has two alternative high schools that share the same campus, Back Bay High School and Monte Vista High School. Costa Mesa High School's sports programs have been very successful, and Costa Mesa graduates include 2008 Olympic high jumper Sharon Day.