Beaumont is a city in Riverside County, California, United States. The population is 28,250 as of January 1, 2007 . Beaumont was California's fastest growing city in 2006 as it grew 21.2% in that year and has grown 130.5% since 2000.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 27.2 square miles (70.4 km²), of which, 27.2 square miles (70.4 km²) of it is land and 0.04% is water.
Beaumont has a history of immigration, and descendants of each group contribute to the city and the local farming industry. A mishmash of different cultural elements can be observed in downtown shops, restaurants, grocery stores, and the Highland Springs shopping center.
The city's population has many ethnic groups and ancestries: English, Irish, Scottish, German, Italian, Swiss, Polish, Greek, Mexican, Central American, Argentine, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Armenian, Arab, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and Southeast Asian.
There were 3,881 households, 42.6% of them with children under the age of 18; 47.3% were married couples living together, 17.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.3% were non-families. Single individuals made up 22.3% of all households, and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.89 persons and the average family size was 3.39.
In the city the population was spread out with 33.0% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 17.3% from 45 to 64, and 10.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.1 males. Beaumont is a renowned retirement haven, especially in recent years with new housing tracts and golf courses; many are active adult communities, like Sun Lakes Country Club, reserved for persons over the age of 55. (Note the country club actually is in Banning but most of the shopping and services for Sun Lakes are in Beaumont.)
The median income for a household in the city was $29,721, and the median income for a family was $37,403. Males had a median income of $30,829 versus $20,613 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,141. About 17.8% of families and 20.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.9% of those under age 18 and 10.3% of those age 65 or over.
The sleepy town of San Gorgonio became an incorporated California city on November 18, 1912 and adopted its current name of Beaumont (French for "beautiful mountain"). As of 1927, the town boasted a small population of 857 with five churches, a public library, a bank, a high school, two local newspapers, several lumber yards, commercial packing houses, and a dehydrating plant. The city was dubbed "the land of the big red apple" by local residents in its early years, being one of Riverside County's largest apple growers. Apple plantations in and around the town expanded to a $200,000 industry by 1930. Beaumont saw a rise in visitors and residents as the little-known nearby city of Palm Springs to the east grew to become a highly popular resort spot in the 1930s and after; thus Beaumont followed suit and attempted to capitalize on the tourism by establishing guest ranches. According to an early 1930s/1940s postcard, the Highland Springs Guest Ranch of Beaumont offered its patrons horseback riding, tennis, archery, horseshoes, swimming, shuffle-board, ping pong, baseball, ballroom dancing, massage, basketball, as well as a place to spend the night.
During the Cold War, a Lockheed rocket test site was established just to the south, outside of the town, until it was sold in January 2004. The site's use of toxic chemicals has contaminated the water of local streams, hurting efforts to establish a wildlife preserve of nearby scenic canyons. With the housing boom in the early decade, the urban sprawl reached the last remaining valleys of the Inland Empire. With Beaumont's close proximity to Los Angeles, various Southern California residents flocked to the San Gorgonio Pass region for its low housing cost, causing a 20% jump in the city's population, making it the fastest growing city in the State. This has concerned many local residents, who cite increasing student population in schools, rising demand on the water supply and increasing traffic in and out of the city on Interstate 10 in both directions. A recent 2008 study by the Public Policy Institute of California noted that Beaumont and its surrounding communities in the San Jacinto Valley have registered the highest population growth throughout the sprawling Riverside County and the region is projected to increase by 4.5% a year to 310,000 by 2015 . The 1995 movie "How to Make an American Quilt" filmed many of its driving scenes through Beaumont. Local wildlife in the surrounding vicinity include quail, coyotes, and foxes. Today the town is home to many antique store establishments dating back several decades, including the Nettie and Alice Museum of Hobbies and the modern-day Beaumont Antique Mall. New big box stores have recently opened up in town, including a Wal-Mart Supercenter, a Home Depot Home Improvement Center, Staple's, Best Buy, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Petco, Ross, Applebee's, and a Panda Express.
The California Highway Patrol has a regional office on the Beaumont side of Highland Springs Avenue (its jurisdiction goes from Calimesa to the west to Desert Hot Springs to the east, as well as Hemet and San Jacinto to the south}. Beaumont has its own police department and contracts for fire services with the Riverside County Fire Department through a cooperative agreement with Cal Fire. Beaumont is also the childhood home of current NASA Astronaut and STS-118 crew member Tracy E. Caldwell .