A decade-long population explosion has shifted Murrieta into a slightly younger, more diverse community, statistics released from the 2010 U.S. census show.
An enormous trove of data detailing the human and physical landscape of the city was released by the U.S. Census Bureau Thursday. The numbers provide a glimpse into the changes accompanying the housing boom and bust that has defined Murrieta since the last census effort in 2000.
Total population numbers jumped an impressive 42 percent, to more than 103,000, placing Murrieta firmly in the category of formerly sleepy Southern California towns that have transformed into major urban centers in their own right.
“When you look at our community, and you look at the growth you’ve seen in the region, it’s not by chance,” Murrieta Mayor Randon Lane said in a phone interview Friday.
City officials have anticipated this growth and placed infrastructure and transportation improvement at the top of their priority list to keep up with demand, he explained.
A massive home construction effort was required to sustain the spike in residents, driving up property prices in a lead up to the 2008 housing market collapse. By 2010, the number of vacant houses and apartments reached 2,545, up three percent from the turn-of-the-century numbers.
Seventy-percent of housing units are owner-occupied, with a median household size of 3.18. Of renter-occupied units, the median household size was slighty smaller at 3.08.
Sixty-one percent of homes were owned with a mortgage or loan, while just 9 percent were owned free and clear.
In a quirky twist, Murrieta has leapfrogged its more industrious sibling in population numbers, beating Temecula out by about 3,000 residents.
Showing its family-friendly demographic make-up, almost half of Murrieta households--44.7 percent--include children under 18. Nearly 63 percent were husband-wife households, with the largest age group of householders being between 35 and 64 years old.
Senior citizens aged 65 and older make up 10 percent of the population, down from 11.4 percent in 2000.
The median age of residents has dropped by one year, to nearly 33--32 for men, 35 for women--but the number of voting-aged citizens also has slightly increased.
Successful efforts to restrict the pay and benefits of city officials and the terms of council members have sprung forth from this burgeoning civic-minded group.
The number of same-sex couples heading up Murrieta households increased by more than 200 percent, one of the most significant demographic shifts shown in the Census. That puts Murrieta at the top of the list for communities experiencing growth in same-sex residents, Bloomberg news reported.
The local Hispanic and Latino populations have also increased significantly, jumping from 17.5 percent of residents in 2000 to 25 percent in 2010--a 246 percent increase. More than 20 percent of the population identified themselves ethnically as Mexican.
Another increase was seen in the Asian population, which now makes up 9 percent of the population, with the largest group identified among Asians being Filipino.
Those identifying themselves as black or African American rose from 3.4 percent to 5.4 percent.
Non-Hispanic and non-Latino whites identifying themselves as one race make up nearly 60 percent of the population.
Six percent of the population identified themselves as two or more races, with the largest two-race population being Asian and white.
This article has been edited since its first post.
Maggie Avants contributed to this report.