Imperial Beach, California: Wikis


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City of Imperial Beach
—  City  —
"Surfhenge" in Imperial Beach
Nickname(s): I.B.
Motto: "Classic Southern California"
Coordinates: 32°34′42″N 117°7′2″W / 32.57833°N 117.11722°W / 32.57833; -117.11722
Country United States
State California
County San Diego
Founded June 1, 1887
Incorporated September 17, 1956
 - Type Council-Manager
 - Mayor Jim Janney
 - City Council Fred McLean
Mayda Winter
Patricia McCoy
Lorie Bragg
 - City 4.5 sq mi (11.7 km2)
 - Land 4.3 sq mi (4 km2)
 - Water 0.3 sq mi (0.7 km2)
Elevation 69 ft (21 m)
Population (2006)[1]
 - City 29,992
 - Density 6,324.2/sq mi (6,324.2/km2)
 - Metro Incl. Tijuana: 5,001,023
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 91932
Area code(s) 619
FIPS code 06-36294
GNIS feature ID 1660788
Website [1]
The pier of Imperial Beach

Imperial Beach is a residential beach city in San Diego County, California. The population was 29,992 at the 2006 census. The city is the most southern beach city in Southern California and the West Coast of the United States. It is located in an area of San Diego County called South Bay, San Diego, 14.1 miles south of downtown San Diego and 3 miles northwest of downtown Tijuana, Mexico. Imperial Beach is part of the San Diego – Tijuana metropolitan area, an area with over 5 million people.


Geography and City Facts

Imperial Beach is located at 32°34′42″N 117°7′2″W / 32.57833°N 117.11722°W / 32.57833; -117.11722 (32.578255, -117.117111) making it the most southwesterly city in the continental United States. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.7 km² (4.5 mi²). 11.1 km² (4.3 mi²) of it is land and 0.6 km² (0.2 mi²) of it (5.53%) is water. The city occupies the extreme southwest corner of the continental United States: bordered by Tijuana, Mexico to the south, Coronado, California to the north, the San Diego Bay to east and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

Founded in 1887, the city takes it's name from Imperial County, California, a desert climate 90 miles east. Many farmers and land owners from the Imperial Valley came to the area in the late 1880's seeking cooler weather during summer months. Incorporated in 1956, the city operates its own Mayor-council government providing city fire department service and policing by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.


The city has a mediterranean climate with summer temperatures often in the upper 70's and winter temperatures in the low 70's. Because of the comfortable year round temperatures many homes in Imperial Beach are built without air conditioning. Imperial Beach is mostly or partly sunny 323 days of the year, with the wettest months in winter. The Farmer's Almanac consistently ranks the area within the Top 10 Best Weather Cities in America.

Coastal and Beach Areas

Imperial Beach encompasses just over 6 miles of beach including a dog beach and employs a year round lifeguard staff. Beach volleyball and surfing are popular in Imperial Beach with activities concentrated north and south of the Imperial Beach Pier and the Boca Rio beach break, one of San Diego County's best surf spots. San Diego Magazine, signifies the Boca Rio beach break as the second best surfing location in the county, second only to Black's Beach and the Scripps Canyon area near La Jolla. The area around Imperial Beach Pier known as Pier Plaza showcases plaques placed on surfboard benches that tell the story of how the cities big waves had an impact on surfing from 1937 to the 1950s. Nearby Border Field State Park signifies the most southern beach on the west coast and allows beachgoers in the United States to correspond verbally with beachgoers in Mexico. The city connects to nearby Coronado, California by way of the Silver Strand, a narrow, 7 mile long isthmus. Silver Strand State Beach, a popular beach for camping, bird watching, and bicycling is located on the ocean side of the isthmus.

The San Diego County summer tourist season brings many visitors to the city's beaches each year. Every August the city holds the annual U.S. Open Sand Castle competition, the largest sand castle competition in the United States, drawing in over 400,000 people. The city also holds the beach front classic car show every summer.

Imperial Beach is home to The Tijuana Estuary|, a National Estuarine Research Reserve and State Park. The estuary located off Seacoast Drive and Imperial Beach Boulevard is home to many endangered birds and wildlife. This estuary marks the place where the fresh water Tijuana River enters the salt water Pacific Ocean. It is the largest salt water marsh in Southern California.


Imperial Beach has undergone a significant makeover in the last ten years to become more visitor-friendly and commercially viable. In 2004, the City of Imperial Beach began implementing an ambitious community redevelopment plan to improve the commercial corridor along Palm Avenue and Seacoast Drive.

Military Presence

Imperial Beach boasts a high military population and is home to the US Navy's Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach also known as NOLF Imperial Beach.


The San Diego County Sheriff's Department 2008 crime statistics rank Imperial Beach below the national average in all areas reported. In 2009, Congressional Quarterly's "America's Safest and Most Dangerous Cities" publication ranked the City of San Diego as having the sixth lowest crime rate of any major U.S. city with over a half million residents.


San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) provides bus and paratransit services to the city from throughout San Diego County. MTS also provides service to San Diego International Airport (Lindbergh Field) from Imperial Beach. The city is one of five Port member cities making up the Port of San Diego, one of America's top 30 U.S. containership ports.

References in popular culture

Kem Nunn's novel, Tijuana Straits, provides insight into the culture of the border and surfing in Imperial Beach and the Tijuana River Valley, and the environmental problems that impact residents of Tijuana, Imperial Beach and Coronado.

The HBO television series John from Cincinnati was about a dysfunctional surfing family in Imperial Beach set against the backdrop of the U.S.-Mexico border. The series (from Executive Producer David Milch, writer Kem Nunn, and director Mark Tinker) was filmed at a variety of locations in Imperial Beach and in the Tijuana River Valley.

Demographics (2006 census)

As of the census[2] of 2006, there were 29,992 people, 9,272 households, and 6,453 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,440.7/km² (6,324.2/mi² or 9.8/acre). There were 9,739 housing units at an average density of 880.6/km² (2,281.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 59.26% White, 5.26% African American, 1.10% Native American, 6.55% Asian, 0.60% Pacific Islander, Hispanic or Latino of any race made up 29.08% of the population.

There were 9,272 households out of which 40.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.2% were married couples living together, 18.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.4% were non-families. 21.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.84 and the average family size was 3.30.

Imperial Beach has one of the youngest median ages of any Southern California city with a median age of 29 years. 29.4% of residents are under the age of 18, 13.9% aged from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 16.8% from 45 to 64, and 7.5% 65 years of age or older. For every 100 females there were 99.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.4 males.

According to estimates by the San Diego Association of Governments, the median household income of Imperial Beach in 2005 was $49,104 (not adjusted for inflation).


In the state legislature Imperial Beach is located in the 40th Senate District, represented by Democrat Denise Moreno Ducheny, and in the 79th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Mary Salas. Federally, Imperial Beach is located in California's 53rd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +12[3] and is represented by Democrat Susan Davis.

Famous residents


External links

To the North:
Silver Strand (San Diego)
California State Beaches To the South
Border Field State Park


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