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Imperial Beach

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Title: Imperial Beach  
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Subject: Tijuana, Imperial Beach, California, Border Field State Park, Tijuana River, Serge Dedina, United States Navy EOD, South Bay, San Diego, Silver Strand (San Diego), South San Diego, Gregory Ruzicka
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Imperial Beach

"Imperial Beach" redirects here. For the location in Germany, see Heringsdorf, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
Imperial Beach, California
City of Imperial Beach
in Imperial Beach

Nickname(s): Most Southwesterly City in Continental U.S.
Motto: "Classic Southern California"
San Diego County, California.

Coordinates: 32°34′42″N 117°7′2″W / 32.57833°N 117.11722°W / 32.57833; -117.11722Coordinates: 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 Brian Bilbray, Jr
Edward J. Spriggs
Robert Patton
Lorie Bragg
 • City 4.485 sq mi (11.616 km2)
 • Land 4.161 sq mi (10.778 km2)
 • Water 0.324 sq mi (0.838 km2)  7.22%
Elevation 69 ft (21 m)
Population (2010)
 • City 26,324
 • Density 5,900/sq mi (2,300/km2)
 • Metro SD-TJ: 5,105,768
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

Imperial Beach is a residential beach city in San Diego County, California, with a population of 26,324 at the 2010 census. The city is the most southern beach city in Southern California and the West Coast of the United States. It is in the South Bay area of San Diego County, 14.1 miles south of downtown San Diego and 5 miles northwest of downtown Tijuana, Mexico.

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 4.5 square miles (12 km2). 4.2 square miles (11 km2) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) of it (7.22%) is water. The city occupies the extreme southwest corner of the continental United States: bordered by Tijuana, Mexico to the south, Coronado, California and the San Diego Bay to the north, San Diego to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

Imperial Beach is located in San Diego County, the fifth most-populous county in the United States and part of the San Diego Metropolitan Area, the 17th largest metropolitan area in the United States with over 3 million people. It is also part of the San Diego – Tijuana metropolitan area, the largest bi-national metropolitan area shared between the United States and Mexico with over 5 million people. Despite the large population surrounding the city, Imperial Beach maintains a small residential feel.

Founded in June 1887, the city takes its name from Imperial County, California, a desert climate 100 miles east. Farmers and land owners from the Imperial Valley came to the area in the late 1880s seeking cooler weather during summer months. In March 1887, over 2,000 laborers descended upon nearby Coronado, California to construct the Hotel del Coronado, the largest resort in the world at the time. A large amount of the workers stayed in Imperial Beach and some would later make it their permanent homestead. The city would incorporate in 1956, operating its own Mayor-council government providing city fire department service and policing by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.


The city has a Scripps Institution of Oceanography operates a weather reporting station at the middle of the Imperial Beach Pier for sky condition, temperature, humidity, pressure, wind and water temperature data.

Climate data for San Diego Int'l Airport (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 65.1
Daily mean °F (°C) 57.1
Average low °F (°C) 49.0
Rainfall inches (mm) 1.98
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.01 in) 6.7 7.1 6.5 4.0 1.4 0.8 0.7 0.4 1.2 2.8 4.1 5.8 41.5
Mean monthly sunshine hours 239.3 227.4 261.0 276.2 250.5 242.4 304.7 295.0 253.3 243.4 230.1 231.3 3,054.6
Source: NOAA (sun 1961–1990)[3][4]

Coastal and beach areas

Imperial Beach encompasses nearly 4 miles of beach including a dog friendly area and employs a year round lifeguard staff. Silver Strand, a narrow, 7 mile long isthmus. Silver Strand State Beach, a popular beach for camping, bird watching, and bicycling, is located in the middle of the isthmus and includes both bay and ocean beaches.

The South Bay Drive-in, the county's only ocean view drive-in theatre, is located just outside Imperial Beach off Coronado Avenue.

Imperial Beach is home to Tijuana River enters the salt water Pacific Ocean. It is the largest salt water marsh in Southern California.


Seacoast Inn, a 78-room, four-story, upscale Mediterranean-style resort with restaurant, spa and conference facilities, is underway on the 1.4 acre oceanfront lot and due to be complete by October 2013.

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. It is bordered on its northern extreme by Silver Strand Training Complex.


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.


top 30 U.S. container ship 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.


2010 census

The 2010 United States Census[5] reported that Imperial Beach had a population of 26,324. The population density was 5,869.5 people per square mile (2,266.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 36.0% Non-Hispanic Whites, 4.4% African American, 1.10% Native American, 6.6% Asian, 0.60% Pacific Islander. Hispanic or Latino of any race made up 49.0% of the population.

The Census reported that 25,705 people (97.6% of the population) lived in households, 619 (2.4%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

The population was spread out with 6,696 people (25.4%) under the age of 18, 3,640 people (13.8%) aged 18 to 24, 7,603 people (28.9%) aged 25 to 44, 6,012 people (22.8%) aged 45 to 64, and 2,373 people (9.0%) who were 65 years of age or older. Imperial Beach has one of the youngest median ages of any Southern California city with a median age of 31 years. For every 100 females there were 101.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.5 males.

There were 9,882 housing units at an average density of 2,203.4 per square mile (850.7/km²), of which 2,756 (30.2%) were owner-occupied, and 6,356 (69.8%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.3%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.4%. 7,476 people (28.4% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 18,229 people (69.2%) lived in rental housing units.

According to estimates by the San Diego Association of Governments, the median household income of Imperial Beach in 2010 was $49,104 (not adjusted for inflation).


In the state legislature Imperial Beach is located in California's 40th Senate District, represented by Democrat Juan Vargas, and in California's 79th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Ben Hueso. Federally, Imperial Beach is located in California's 53rd congressional district, and is represented by Democrat Susan Davis.

Famous residents

  • California Congressman Brian Bilbray grew up in Imperial Beach. Bilbray graduated from Mar Vista High Graduate in 1970. His son, Brian Bilbray, Jr. s a current member of Imperial Beach city council.
  • Author Robert Clark Young grew up in Imperial Beach.
  • Software entrepreneur Charlie Jackson grew up in Imperial Beach and graduated Mar Vista High in 1967.
  • Film actor Matthew Modine attended high school in Imperial Beach.
  • Award-winning author Jim Vitti currently lives in Imperial Beach.
  • Marco Minnemann drummer


External links

  • Imperial Beach Chamber of Commerce
  • The City of Imperial Beach
  • Imperial Beach Virtual Tour
  • Imperial Beach History
  • Imperial Beach Eagle and Times
To the North:
Silver Strand (San Diego)
California State Beaches To the South
Border Field State Park
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