.]] Murrieta is a city in southwestern Riverside County, California, United States. The population was 44,282 at the 2000 census. Population was estimated to be 97,257 in 2007, making it one of the fastest growing cities in the state. Largely residential in character, Murrieta is considered a bedroom community, with large numbers of its residents commuting to jobs in San Diego and Orange counties, and the more industrialized neighboring city of Temecula to the south.
Murrieta is bordered by Temecula to the South and unincorporated areas on all other sides.
Murrieta should not be confused with Rancho Murieta, which is an unincorporated community in northern California, near Sacramento.
The city's current mayor as of December 4, 2007 is Rick Gibbs.
For most of its history, Murrieta was not heavily populated. Its gently rolling hills dotted with native trees such as the now-threatened Engelmann Oak provided the perfect setting for a Spaniard by the name of Juan Murrieta to bring his flocks of over 100,000 sheep to the valley in 1873.
It didn't take long for others to discover the natural beauty of the valley, especially with a train depot built in 1882 that connected Murrieta to Southern California Railroad's transcontinental route. By 1890, a full 800 people called Murrieta home.
It is rumored that Don Juan Murrieta used the natural hot springs to relax and bathe his sheep, and eventually the hot springs became a focal point for the little town. Murrieta residents began to capitalize on the unique treasure by developing it into the Murrieta Hot Springs Resort, which began to attract visitors from all over the country. Today much of the site (about 50 acres) is home to a Bible college and conference center owned by Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa which has invested millions of dollars into restoring and rebuilding the old resort rooms over the last decade.
When the trains stopped running in 1935, the lifeblood of the town - tourists - were much harder to come by. The minor boom that Murrieta had experienced due to the train and the hot springs gradually died down, leaving Murrieta as a small country town.
Although US 395 did pass through Murrieta, it wasn't until Interstate 15 was built through Murrieta in the early 1980s that another boom began to take hold. By the late 1980s, suburban neighborhoods were being constructed and people started to migrate to the Murrieta area from San Diego, Riverside, and Orange Counties. The population grew rapidly.
In 1990, area residents began a campaign for cityhood that resulted in the establishment of the City of Murrieta on July 1 1991. At that point the population had ballooned from just 2,200 in 1980 to 24,000.
Between 1991 and 2007, the city's population skyrocketed to an estimated 97,257.
Murrieta once had an all-volunteer fire department for almost 40 years, but in 1987, it became a full-fledged municipal fire prevention district(the only one in all of southwestern Riverside County).The Murrieta Police Department was created in 1992(with the encouragement of then-Riverside County Sheriff Cois Byrd) in order to establish a truly municipal "feel" to a well-established community.
The City of Murrieta is served by the Murrieta Valley Unified School District (MVUSD). The district contains eleven elementary (K-5) schools, three middle (6-8) schools, two comprehensive high (9-12) schools, Vista Murrieta High School and Murrieta Valley High School, one continuation school (Creekside High School), and one independent study school. Because of the explosive growth in the area, one elementary school, another middle school, and another high school are in the making. The Murrieta Valley School District boasts some of the top schools in the county of Riverside.
== Notable residents ==
Murrieta is located at (33.569566, -117.202453) .
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.4 square miles (73.6 kmÂ²), of which, 28.4 square miles (73.5 kmÂ²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 kmÂ²) of it (0.14%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 44,282 people, 14,320 households, and 11,699 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,560.0 people per square mile (602.2/kmÂ²). There were 14,921 housing units at an average density of 525.6/sq mi (202.9/kmÂ²). The racial makeup of the city was 81.64% White, 3.39% African American, 0.66% Native American, 4.01% Asian, 0.22% Pacific Islander, 5.77% from other races, and 4.32% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.48% of the population.
There were 14,320 households out of which 47.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 70.2% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.3% were non-families. 14.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.08 and the average family size was 3.42.
In the city the population was spread out with 33.7% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 17.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 96.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.7 males.
According to a 2006 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $75,102, and the median income for a family was $86,787.[http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/ACSSAFFFacts?_event=Search&geo_id=16000US0639496&_geoContext=01000US%7C04000US06%7C16000US0639496&_street=&_county=murrieta&_cityTown=murrieta&_state=04000US06&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&ActiveGeoDiv=geoSelect&_useEV=&pctxt=fph&pgsl=160&_submenuId=factsheet_1&ds_name=ACS_2006_SAFF&_ci_nbr=null&qr_name=null®=null%3Anull&_keyword=&_industry=] Males had a median income of $49,107 versus $32,468 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,290. About 3.0% of families and 4.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.3% of those under age 18 and 5.4% of those age 65 or over.
In the state legislature Murrieta is located in the 36th Senate District, represented by Republican Dennis Hollingsworth, and in the 64th and 66th Assembly Districts, represented by Republicans John J. Benoit and Kevin Jeffries respectively. Federally, Murrieta is located in California's 45th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +3 and is represented by Republican Mary Bono Mack.
Murrieta ranked as the 44th safest city in the nation and remains the safest city in Riverside County according to CQ Press 2007 City Crime Rankings.
Murrieta remains the safest city in Riverside County and one of the safest in the state and nation for populations between 50,000 and 100,000 according to the most recent crime statistics published by the F.B.I. for 2005. The city was also cited as the 39th safest city in the nation by the Morgan-Quinto Press in 2006. The Murrieta Police Department holds the unique distinction as the only municipal police department in Southwest Riverside County.
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