Huntington Beach is a city located in Orange County, California. With a 2020 population of 201,941, it is the 24th largest city in California and the 120th largest city in the United States. Huntington Beach is currently growing at a rate of 0.32% annually and its population has increased by 6.29% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 189,992 in 2010. Spanning over 28 miles, Huntington Beach has a population density of 7,479 people per square mile.
The average household income in Huntington Beach is $119,476 with a poverty rate of 8.78%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $1,832 per month, and the median house value is $728,200. The median age in Huntington Beach is 41.8 years, 40.5 years for males, and 43.2 years for females. For every 100 females there are 101.5 males.
Named for Henry Huntington, it’s Orange County’s most populous beach city and the 7th most populous city in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metropolitan area. Known as the Surf City or HB.
The foreign-born population of Huntington Beach is 16.6% or 33,500. The largest age group in Huntington Beach is 65 and over and it’s frequently named as one of the best places in the U.S. to retire. Huntington Beach has one of the country’s highest senior populations. Huntington Beach is also the second-most prosperous city in Southern California with 22.1% of its population earning more than $150,000 per year.
About 16% of the population in Huntington Beach are foreign-born versus 57% who were born in California.
California has the country’s worst poverty rate in the U.S. after adjusting for the cost of living thanks to its shortage of affordable housing. In 2019, the California Governor sued Huntington Beach for violating the state’s housing supply law in an attempt to create more housing in the city. While the lawsuit against the city argues that Huntington Beach has ignored a law requiring cities to zone land for new home construction, many residents feel that Huntington Beach is already growing too quickly. Despite a lack of housing, Huntington Beach is expected to continue its modest growth.
Originally inhabited by the Tongva or Grabrielinos, Huntington Beach’s settlement by Europeans began with Manuel Nieto, a Spanish soldier who received a Spanish land grant of 300,000 acres in reward for military service. His land was later reduced due a dispute with the Mission San Gabriel. The land was originally used to raise barley, horses, and cattle. By 1889, the region was known as the city of Shell Beach, then the town of Smeltzer. It later became Fairview then Pacific City after it was developed as a tourist destination. P.A. Stanton purchased 40 acres of beach along Main Street with a dream to build a coastal town on the Pacific Coast rivaling Atlantic City.
In 1909 Huntington Beach was incorporated but remained a very small seaside community until the oil boom in the 1920s after the discovery of what was then California’s largest oil deposit. Within a month, the town grew from 1,500 to 5,000 people. By the 1950s, oil derricks were cleaned out to make room for new houses and the population began to take off from 11,500 in 1960 to 115,900 in 1970.