Rancho Santa Margarita, California

Rancho Santa Margarita (/ˈræn ˌsæntə ˌmɑːrɡəˈrtə/) is a city in Orange County, California, United States. One of Orange County's youngest cities, Rancho Santa Margarita is a master-planned community. The population was 47,853 at the 2010 census, up from 47,214 at the 2000 census. Although it is named for Rancho Santa Margarita y Las Flores, which was in San Diego County, the city limits fall within the borders of Rancho Mission Viejo. At 20 characters long, it is the longest city name in California.

Rancho Santa Margarita, California
Rancho Santa Margarita


Location of Rancho Santa Margarita within Orange County, California.
Rancho Santa Margarita, California
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 33°38′29″N 117°35′40″W
Country United States
State California
IncorporatedJanuary 1, 2000[1]
  MayorBrad McGirr[2]
  Total12.94 sq mi (33.51 km2)
  Land12.89 sq mi (33.40 km2)
  Water0.04 sq mi (0.11 km2)  0.27%
Elevation925 ft (282 m)
  Density3,797.52/sq mi (1,466.18/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific)
  Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
92679, 92688
Area code949
FIPS code06-59587
GNIS feature IDs1867054, 2411517


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 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.

Rolling Hills Estates had the longest city name in California with 19 letters until January 1, 2000, when the title was ceded to Rancho Santa Margarita (20 letters) upon the latter's incorporation.

The City is a general law city and operates under the council-manager form of government. Rancho Santa Margarita is a contract city. Police services are provided through contract with the Orange County Sheriff. Fire Protection services are provided through the Orange County Fire Authority.


Rancho Santa Margarita is located at 33°38′29″N 117°35′40″W (33.641518, -117.594524).[7] It occupies much of a high plateau known as Plano Trabuco.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.0 square miles (34 km2). 13.0 square miles (34 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (0.27%) is water.

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.

Vehicular access is provided by California State Route 241 (a toll road), in addition to several surface streets.

Major homeowners associations and communities

The majority of the neighborhoods in Rancho Santa Margarita are maintained by larger homeowners associations including SAMLARC, 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 Trabuco Road is designated with a Trabuco Canyon (92679) zip code even though the area falls within the City of Rancho Santa Margarita boundary.[8]


Rancho Santa Margarita, like most of southern California, generally has a Mediterranean climate.


Top employers

According to the City's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[9] the top 10 employers in the city are:

# Employer # of employees
1 Applied Medical 2500+ (est)ǂ
2 O'Connell Landscape Maintenance 980
3 Saddleback Valley Unified School District 606
4 Lucas & Mercier Construction 553
5 Control Components Inc. 370
6 Target 247
7 Car Sound Exhaust System 207
8 Capistrano Unified School District 210
9 Santa Margarita Catholic High School 200
10 Professional Association of Diving Instructors 200

ǂ As of June 2015


Historical population
Est. 201848,325[6]1.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]


The 2010 United States Census[11] reported that Rancho Santa Margarita had a population of 47,853. The population density was 3,683.1 people per square mile (1,422.0/km²). The racial makeup of Rancho Santa Margarita was 37,421 (78.2%) White (67.0% Non-Hispanic White),[5] 887 (1.9%) African American, 182 (0.4%) Native American, 4,350 (9.1%) Asian, 102 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 2,674 (5.6%) from other races, and 2,237 (4.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8,902 persons (18.6%).

31.8% of the population possessed a bachelor's degree, with 16.4% possessing a Graduate or Professional Degree. The educational attainment level in Rancho Santa Margarita significantly exceeds the averages throughout the rest of California.

The Census reported that 47,851 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 2 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 16,665 households, out of which 7,699 (46.2%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 10,144 (60.9%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 1,703 (10.2%) had a female householder with no husband present, 700 (4.2%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 747 (4.5%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 103 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 3,199 households (19.2%) were made up of individuals and 761 (4.6%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.87. There were 12,547 families (75.3% of all households); the average family size was 3.33.

The population was spread out with 13,879 people (29.0%) under the age of 18, 3,793 people (7.9%) aged 18 to 24, 13,706 people (28.6%) aged 25 to 44, 13,764 people (28.8%) aged 45 to 64, and 2,711 people (5.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.1 males.

There were 17,260 housing units at an average density of 1,328.4 per square mile (512.9/km²), of which 11,906 (71.4%) were owner-occupied, and 4,759 (28.6%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.2%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.6%. 35,737 people (74.7% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 12,114 people (25.3%) lived in rental housing units.

During 20092013, Rancho Santa Margarita had a median household income of $104,113, with 3.9% of the population living below the federal poverty line.[5]

Government and politics

Rancho Santa Margarita city vote
by party in presidential elections
Year Democratic Republican Third Parties
2016[12] 42.76% 9,564 50.24% 11,238 7.01% 1,567
2012[13] 36.99% 7,914 60.78% 13,004 2.23% 478
2008[14] 42.82% 9,494 55.29% 12,259 1.89% 420
2004[15] 31.81% 6,671 67.33% 14,119 0.86% 181
2000[16] 33.83% 6,117 63.64% 11,508 2.53% 458

State and federal representation

In the California State Legislature, Rancho Santa Margarita is in the 36th Senate District, represented by Republican Patricia Bates, and in the 73rd Assembly District, represented by Republican Bill Brough.

In the United States House of Representatives, Rancho Santa Margarita is in California's 45th congressional district, represented by Democrat Katie Porter.[17]

According to the California Secretary of State, as of February 10, 2019, Rancho Santa Margarita has 28,462 registered voters. Of those, 11,877 (41.73%) are registered Republicans, 7,511 (26.39%) are registered Democrats, and 7,819 (27.47%) have no political party preference/are independents.[18]


The city is served by Saddleback Valley Unified School District and the Capistrano Unified School District.

  • Students in SVUSD boundaries attend Trabuco Hills High School or Mission Viejo High School, both outside of Rancho Santa Margarita in the city of Mission Viejo. Students in CUSD boundaries attend Tesoro High School located in the Las Flores neighborhood.
  • RSM Intermediate School (SVUSD) and Las Flores Middle School (CUSD) serve the city.
  • Public Elementary schools include Cielo Vista, Trabuco Mesa, Robinson Ranch, Arroyo Vista, Melinda Heights, and Tijeras Creek.
  • Private Elementary and Middle Schools include St. John's Episcopal Day School, Serra Catholic, and Mission Hills Christian School.
  • Santa Margarita Catholic High School is a private Roman Catholic high school associated with the Catholic Diocese of Orange. SMCHS is located in Rancho Santa Margarita.


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, dentistry, and dining.[19]

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. This is due to them all having the same ZIP code: 92679, although the 92688 ZIP code is far more common in the Rancho Santa Margarita area.

A map of Orange County seen in season four of Arrested Development places the fictional Bluth Company-developed community of Sudden Valley northeast of Mission Viejo and Las Flores, in the approximate location of Rancho Santa Margarita.

Notable people

See also


  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. "Mayor and City Council". Rancho Santa Margarita. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  3. "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  4. "City of Rancho Santa Margarita". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  5. "Rancho Santa Margarita (city) QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 15, 2015. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
  6. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved July 19, 2019.
  7. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  8. City Zoning Map Archived October 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  9. City of Rancho Santa Margarita CAFR Archived May 2, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  10. "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  11. "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Rancho Santa Margarita city". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  12. https://www.ocvote.com/fileadmin/live/gen2016/sov.pdf
  13. https://www.ocvote.com/fileadmin/live/gen2012/sov-for-web.pdf
  14. https://www.ocvote.com/fileadmin/user_upload/sov/gen2008/sov.pdf
  15. https://www.ocvote.com/fileadmin/user_upload/sov/e13/sov1.pdf
  16. https://www.ocvote.com/fileadmin/user_upload/sov/gen2000/gen2000-SOV.pdf
  17. "California's 45th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC.
  18. "CA Secretary of State – Report of Registration – February 10, 2019" (PDF). ca.gov. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  19. BRAVOtv.com: The Real Housewives of Orange County: Season 3 (Home) Archived October 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  20. Perkes, Courtney (July 23, 2008). "Ex-Olympian battles rheumatoid arthritis". The Orange County Register. pp. Life, etc. 2.
  21. http://www.ocweekly.com/1999-11-25/features/not-angry-no-more/
  22. "Carson Palmer, QB for the Arizona Cardinals". NFL.com. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  23. Witz, Billy (September 12, 2008). "A Strong Arm and a Strong Mind". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 17, 2009. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  24. "Teemu Selänne Youth Sports Foundation". Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  25. "Klay Thompson Player Profile, Golden State Warriors". RealGM Basketball. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
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