There were 2,343 households out of which 25.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.3% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.2% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.83.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.6% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 24.5% from 25 to 44, 29.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 107.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $34,447, and the median income for a family was $41,848. Males had a median income of $36,316 versus $21,404 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,517. About 11.1% of families and 13.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.9% of those under age 18 and 5.7% of those age 65 or over.
Big Bear Lake was inhabited by the indigenous Serrano Indians for over 2,000 years before it was explored by Benjamin Wilson and his party. Once populated by only the natives and the grizzly bears, from which the area received its name, Big Bear Valley grew rapidly during the Southern California Gold Rush from 1861 to 1912. Grizzly bears were not found in the region after 1906.
A trip to Big Bear Lake from San Bernardino took two days on horse-drawn coaches. Kirk Phillips was a local who took a trip to New York City and saw the world's first bus line. This inspired him to create the world's second bus line from San Bernardino to Big Bear Valley using white trucks with several rows of seats. This made it possible for the villages to grow and for Big Bear Lake to become the first mountain recreation area in Southern California.
Many people traveled to enjoy recreation on the lake, however, another major draw was the natural hot spring. Emile Jesserun bought 40 acres of land that included the hot spring and built the first major resort in Big Bear, the Pan Hot Springs Hotel, in 1921. This resort was followed with others that strived to be the best by creating a country club atmosphere complete with the amenities required to lure the Hollywood celebrities of the time including Cecil B. DeMille, Shirley Temple, and Ginger Rogers. It was also a popular place for shooting on location, as they did for the filming of the 1920 version of Last of the Mohicans. 1924 saw Big Bear populated with 44 resorts and a constant stream of vacationers. The Pan Hot Springs Hotel, like many of the other resorts and hotels in Big Bear, was extensively damaged by fire in 1933.
Winter activities are also popular in Big Bear. The first ski jump in Big Bear was erected in 1929 and quickly claimed a world ski jump record. More jumps were built in Big Bear Lake and the Viking Ski Club of Los Angeles began to use them for competition and events. The move to a winter resort town was solidified in 1952 when Tommy Tyndall opened a resort in Big Bear Lake now known as Snow Summit.
Big Bear Lake was incorporated as a city on November 28, 1980.
Big Bear Lake is also where top athletes train to take advantage of the benefits offered by high altitude training. Distance runner Ryan Hall grew up in Big Bear Lake and trained for the 2008 Beijing Olympic marathon in the Big Bear Lake Valley. MMA fighters who train in Big Bear include Tito Ortiz, Rampage Jackson, Kendall Grove,Cheick Kongo and Josh Barnett.
Since 1970 Big Bear Lake has held its annual Oktoberfest. From stein-carrying contests to great German food, this event is fun for locals and visitors alike. The Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest also sports the highest Biergarten in the U.S. (in elevation).
Big Bear Lake, California is well-known as a wonderful getaway within hours of the major metropolitan areas of Southern California. The natural beauty attracts boating enthusiasts, cyclists, hikers, runners, snowboarders, skiers and vacationing families. The small-town atmosphere is a refreshing change from the high-traffic lifestyle down the hill. People from all over the world come to visit this historic mountain valley community to take in the amazing scenery and the clean, crisp mountain air. For more information on the activities and amenities available to travelers and tourists, visit Big Bear's most comprehensive tourist information site at pawclick.com