Rancho Mirage, California

Rancho Mirage is a city in Riverside County, California, United States. The population was 17,218 at the 2010 census, up from 13,249 at the 2000 census, but the seasonal (part-time) population can exceed 20,000. Located between Cathedral City and Palm Desert, it is one of the nine cities of the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs area). Rancho Mirage was incorporated in 1973 from a merger of Mirage Cove with five unincorporated areas known as the "Cove communities" (Desert, Magnesia, Palmas, Tamarisk, and Thunderbird), and had 3,000 permanent residents at the time.

Rancho Mirage, California
City of Rancho Mirage

Location in Riverside County and the state of California
Rancho Mirage, California
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 33°46′9″N 116°25′16″W
Country United States of America
State California
County Riverside
IncorporatedAugust 3, 1973[1]
  Total25.19 sq mi (65.24 km2)
  Land24.80 sq mi (64.24 km2)
  Water0.39 sq mi (1.01 km2)  1.57%
Elevation272 ft (83 m)
  Density739.35/sq mi (285.43/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific)
  Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area codes442/760
FIPS code06-59500
GNIS feature IDs1661281, 2411515


Although the first modern settlements date back to the 1920s and 1930s, Rancho Mirage got its claim to fame after World War II. The Annenberg Estate or Sunnylands, owned by philanthropists Walter and Leonore Annenberg, had long been popular with the wealthy and powerful, including Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Patrick Macnee and Mary Martin. Several United States Presidents have vacationed at the Annenberg estate, including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Gerald Ford. President Ford later bought a house in Rancho Mirage and was living there at the time of his death in 2006. The Betty Ford Center, a world-renowned addiction rehabilitation center, is located in Rancho Mirage at the Eisenhower Medical Center. President Barack Obama also used Sunnylands for summit meetings with world leaders during his administration.[6]

Rancho Mirage has thirteen golf courses, also known as country clubs or golf resorts. The city's first resort was the Thunderbird Guest Ranch, opened in 1946 for entertainers and business clientele. Other golf resorts are The S at Rancho Mirage, Tamarisk, Mission Hills, Thunderbird, The Springs, Sunrise, Omni Resorts Rancho Las Palmas hotel (opened in 1979 to replace the Desert Air golf and private airport from 1954–1978), Morningside, Mission Hills North Course, Westin Hotels Mission Hills resort, and Tuscania by Sunrise Company opened in 2006.

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians of Palm Springs runs the Agua Caliente Casino on the intersection of Bob Hope Drive and Ramon Road off Interstate 10, opened in 2002. The casino is a popular destination for locals, tourists, and gambling enthusiasts. In 2008 the tribal board completed the expansion of the Agua Caliente resort, which includes a 16-story hotel and spa, as well as remodeling the casino and expanding the parking structures. A theater for top name entertainers opened in 2009. Though the Agua Caliente Resort and Casino was just outside the border of Rancho Mirage in an unincorporated area, the City of Rancho Mirage included the property as part of the city in an agreement with the tribe so they would have access to police and firefighting services.

Rancho Mirage has expanded its economy from one based on seasonal, resort-based golfing and low-paying rentals, to include light industry and commerce near the I-10 and high-end retail centers like The River shopping complex.

A new residential development for senior citizens by Pulte Homes, Inc. will open in the year 2020.[7] It is known as Del Webb Rancho Mirage. It is the third local development by the company after Sun City Palm Desert and Sun City Shadow Hills in Indio.

Geography and climate

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.8 square miles (64 km2), of which, 24.4 square miles (63 km2) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2) of it (1.57%) is water, including the 10-story Desert Island Hotel-Golf Resort built on an island surrounded by an artificial lake.


The climate of the Coachella Valley is influenced by the surrounding geography. High mountain ranges on three sides and a south-sloping valley floor all contribute to its unique and year-round warm climate, with the warmest winters in the western United States. Rancho Mirage has an arid climate: Its average annual high temperature is 87 °F (31 °C) and average annual low is 63 °F (17 °C) but summer highs above 108 °F (42 °C) are common and sometimes exceed 120 °F (49 °C), while summer night lows often stay above 82 °F (28 °C). Winters are warm with daytime highs between 73–84 °F (23–29 °C). Under 5 inches (130 mm) of annual precipitation are average, with over 348 days of sunshine per year.

Climate data for Boyd Deep Canyon Campground (19822012)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 69.8
Average low °F (°C) 49.5
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.68
Source: deepcanyon.ucnrs.org[8]


Historical population
Est. 201818,336[5]6.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]


The 2010 United States Census[10] reported that Rancho Mirage had a population of 17,218. The population density was 693.3 people per square mile (267.7/km²). The racial makeup of Rancho Mirage was 15,267 (88.7%) White (81.7% Non-Hispanic White),[11] 256 (1.5%) African American, 94 (0.5%) Native American, 651 (3.8%) Asian, 14 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 598 (3.5%) from other races, and 338 (2.0%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1,964 persons (11.4%).

The Census reported that 17,154 people (99.6% of the population) lived in households, 16 (0.1%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 48 (0.3%) were institutionalized.

There were 8,829 households, out of which 1,031 (11.7%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 4,159 (47.1%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 453 (5.1%) had a female householder with no husband present, 213 (2.4%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 316 (3.6%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 454 (5.1%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 3,055 households (34.6%) were made up of individuals and 1,961 (22.2%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.94. There were 4,825 families (54.6% of all households); the average family size was 2.46.

The population was spread out with 1,828 people (10.6%) under the age of 18, 508 people (3.0%) aged 18 to 24, 1,885 people (10.9%) aged 25 to 44, 5,415 people (31.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 7,582 people (44.0%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 62.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.2 males.

There were 14,243 housing units at an average density of 573.5 per square mile (221.4/km²), of which 7,089 (80.3%) were owner-occupied, and 1,740 (19.7%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 5.0%; the rental vacancy rate was 17.2%. 13,845 people (80.4% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 3,309 people (19.2%) lived in rental housing units.

During 20092013, Rancho Mirage had a median household income of $77,526, with 13.6% of the population living below the federal poverty line.[11]


As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 13,249 people, 6,813 households, and 4,074 families residing in the city. The population density was 544.9 people per square mile (210.4/km²). There were 11,816 housing units at an average density of 486.0 per square mile (187.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.7% White, 0.9% African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.6% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.4% of the population.

There were 6,813 households out of which 10.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.9% were married couples living together, 5.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.2% were non-families. 32.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.9 and the average family size was 2.4.

In the city, the population was spread out with 10.3% under the age of 18, 2.7% from 18 to 24, 14.0% from 25 to 44, 30.0% from 45 to 64, and 43.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 61 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.1 males. Rancho Mirage owes its legacy to being a retirement haven for senior citizens since the 1950s. In 2003, the Rancho Mirage was named the best resort town in the world by the London Imperial Traveler Magazine. Contemplation of building a new airport 30 minutes away (the Desert Cities Regional Airport in Coachella) from Rancho Mirage is still in debate.

The median income for a household in the city was $59,826 and the median income for a family was $78,384. Males had a median income of $50,027 versus $36,529 for females. The per capita income for the city was $58,603. About 4.4% of families and 5.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.4% of those under age 18 and 3.2% of those age 65 or over.


In the California State Legislature, Rancho Mirage is in the 28th Senate District, seat currently vacant, and in the 42nd Assembly District, represented by ? Chad Mayes.[13]

In the United States House of Representatives, Rancho Mirage is in California's 36th congressional district, represented by Democrat Raul Ruiz.[14]


There is one elementary school (Rancho Mirage Elementary) and one high school Rancho Mirage High School in the city limits which are part of the Palm Springs Unified School District, the newly renovated Nellie Coffman Middle School is on the city line with Cathedral City. There is one private school, Palm Valley School, which covers grades preschool-12th. The PSUSD is building a new grade-middle school complex on the lands of the former Walter Annenberg estate donated to the PSUSD. The complex has yet to be constructed. Rancho Mirage is also home to a campus of Santa Barbara Business College, a private college that offers academic degrees and career training.


Top employers

According to Rancho Mirage Economic Development, 10,000 people are employed by 1,700 different business organizations.[15] According to Rancho Mirage's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[16] the top employers in the city were:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Eisenhower Medical Center 2,480
2 Agua Caliente Casino 1,300
3 Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa 500
4 Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa 470
5 Betty Ford Center 269
6 Mission Hills Country Club 211
7 The Cheesecake Factory 180
8 The Home Depot 149
9 P. F. Chang's China Bistro 75

Setting for books

At least two novels are set in Rancho Mirage. The first was Love Child by Andrew Neiderman (1986) and the second is Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture by Douglas Coupland (1991). Both have references to both Rancho Mirage and Palm Springs, as well the Mojave Desert. A third book, Rancho Mirage: an American Tragedy of Manners, Madness, and Murder by Aram Saroyan[17] (2002) concerns a murder that occurred in the city.

Notable people

The late President Gerald Ford (served 1974–77) and First Lady Betty Ford were the most prominent residents of Rancho Mirage. Former President Barack Obama (served 2009–17) has also made plans to live in Rancho Mirage after Sasha Obama finishes high school in Washington, D.C.[18] Other celebrities, businessmen and politicians include:


  1. "California Cities by Incorporation Date". California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions. Archived from the original (Word) on November 3, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  2. "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jun 28, 2017.
  3. "Rancho Mirage". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  4. "Rancho Mirage (city) QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
  5. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  6. Landler, Mark (February 7, 2016). "Obama Revives the Republican Glory Years of Sunnylands Estate". The New York Times.
  7. "1,000-home development for people 55+ breaks ground in Rancho Mirage". desertsun.com. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  8. "Weather Data at Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Center". University of California. Retrieved 2012-09-07.
  9. "Census of Population and Housing". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  10. "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA – Rancho Mirage city". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  11. "Rancho Mirage (city) QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". United States Census Bureau.
  12. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  13. "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  14. "California's 36th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC.
  15. "Top Employers". Rancho Mirage Economic Development. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  16. "14 Statistical Section – Laserfiche WebLink".
  17. Saroyan, Aram (2002). Rancho Mirage: an American tragedy of manners, madness, and murder. Fort Lee, NJ: Barricade Books. p. 366. ISBN 978-1569802342. LCCN 2002026101.
  18. Murphy, Rosalie (May 24, 2016). "Coco Crisp selling Rancho Mirage mansion for $9.99M". The Desert Sun. Palm Springs, California: USA Today Network.
  19. Bing Crosby Estate (Retrieved on 03 December 2018 from vacationpalmsprings.com)
  20. Nelson, Valerie (November 19, 2006). "Gary Graver, 68; maverick cinematographer tried to complete Orson Welles' final film". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  • Mallette, Leo A., (2011), Images of America: Rancho Mirage, Arcadia Publishing, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina ISBN 978-0738575018
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