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Lake Forest

City of Lake Forest

  •   State: 
    Orange County
    Lake Forest
      County FIPS: 
    33°38′30″N 117°41′27″W
      Area total: 
    16.79 sq mi (43.49 km²)
      Area land: 
    16.71 sq mi (43.29 km²)
      Area water: 
    0.08 sq mi (0.20 km²)
    489 ft (148 m)
    Incorporated December 20, 1991
  •   Latitude: 
      Dman name cbsa: 
    Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
    Pacific Standard Time (PST) UTC-8:00; Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) UTC-7:00
      ZIP codes: 

    Lake Forest, Orange County, California, United States

  •   Population: 
      Population density: 
    5,100 residents per square mile of area (2,000/km²)
      Household income: 
      Unemployment rate: 
  •   Sales taxes: 
      Income taxes: 

Lake Forest has two lakes from which the city gets its name. The lakes are man-made, and condominiums and custom homes line their shores. Lake Forest incorporated as a city on December 20, 1991. Prior to incorporation, the community had been known as El Toro. Following a vote in 2000, Lake Forest expanded its city limits to include the master-planned developments of Foothill Ranch and Portola Hills. The city has a total area of 17.9 square miles (46 km²) of land and 0.1 square mile (0.26 km²), of which 0.48 km² is water. It is bordered by Irvine on the west and northwest, Laguna Hills and the Mission Viejo on the east, and Trabuco Canyon and Limestone Regional Park on the north-east. The population was 85,858 at the 2020 census, and it is located in the northern section of South Orange County, in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains, and in the southern part of the San Diego County foothills. The "forest" for which the town is also named lies in the area between Ridge Route, Jeronimo and Lake Forest and Serrano roads, and consists mostly of Eucalyptus trees. It was created in the first decade of the 1900s when a local landowner, Dwight Whiting, planted 400 acres in the vicinity of Serrano Creek as part of a lumber operation. In the late 1960s, the Occidental Petroleum company developed a residential community in and around the groves, which had long since expanded and grown more dense.


Lake Forest is the primary city name, but also El Toro are acceptable city names or spellings. The official name is City of Lake Forest. From 1863, the community had been known as El Toro. In 1991, residents chose to incorporate, and chose the name "Lake Forest" in a referendum. El Toro Road at the I-5 Freeway was the epicenter of the Saddleback Valley from the late 19th century to the end of the 2nd millennium. In subsequent years as the city came to be referred to as Lake Forest, mentions of "El Toro" in the press usually referred to the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, decommissioned in 1999 and later repurposed. After years of planning, the city has worked with the property owners of some aging strip malls and developed the "Arbor at Lake Forest" commercial district. The new center now competes with large shopping centers in cities that surround Lake Forest. The area gradually deteriorated, and most of the shops closed or moved to other cities. In addition to the Serranos, established in Aliso Canyon, there was a group of pioneers who lived in the foothills and several miles above El Toro, many of whom were among the first settlers of this neighborhood. In 1874, most of it was owned by Cyrus B. Rawson. Jonathan E. Bacon also owned 1600 acres. The Rancho Niguel was granted to Juan B. Alvarado, Juan Avila and his sister Conception, the widow of one Pedro Sánchez. From them it passed to other owners and was divided into plots, including Yorba.


Lake Forest is located in the heart of the Saddleback Valley. It is also in the northern section of South Orange County. It has two man-made lakes identified by the clubhouses on the lakes. The Beach and Tennis Club (Hidden Lakes, formerly Lake I) and the Sun and Sail Club (Lake II) are located on the shores of Lake Forest. The city is bordered by Irvine on the west and northwest, Laguna Hills and Laguna Woods on the southwest, Mission Viejo on the southeast, Trabuco Canyon and Silverado Canyon on the east, and Limestone Canyon Regional Park on the north. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.9 square miles (46 km²) of it is land and 0.1 sq miles (0.26 km²), of which 0.48% is water. The town has a population of 2,816. It was founded in 1883. The first post office opened in 1884. The current post office was established in 1887. The last post office shut down in 1971. It closed in 1973. The community is located near the Santa Ana Mountains, in the Foothills of theSanta Ana Mountains. The north-east end of the city is located at the base of the Santa Ana Mountain, and the north-west end is at the top of the Saddleback Valley, which is in the foothills of the Santa Ana foothills.


I-5 travels along the western border of Lake Forest, forming the border with Laguna Hills. I-5 has two interchanges in the city: Lake Forest Drive and El Toro Road (Highway S18) California State Route 241 passes through the Foothill Ranch community. El Toro road is a major road in Lake Forest. It travels the entire length and width of the city limits, about 10.5 miles. It passes through numerous communities, such as Portola Hills. At Live Oak Canyon Road, El Toro becomes Santiago Canyon Road. It then heads through the mountains and becomes Chapman Avenue in northern Orange County. It has 8 major intersections in theCity. It also has three interchanges: Alton Parkway, Lakeforest Drive (a partial interchange with a southbound exit and northbound entrance only), and Portola Parkway. It is the only major road that runs through the entire city. The city is home to the Orange County Sheriff's Department, which has a substation in the Lake Forest area. It was the site of the World War II-era Battle of the Bulge, which was fought between the U.S. Army and the Soviet Union in the early 1950s. The town is also the location of the Santa Ana River, which flows into Lake Forest from the north. It runs through several residential and commercial areas, including Lake Forest Village. The Lake Forest River flows into the San Diego River from the south. The San Diego and San Francisco Bay areas are the city's two main water supply sources. The Los Angeles River flows through the city.


The 2010 United States Census reported that Lake Forest had a population of 77,264. The racial makeup of the city was 54,341 (70.3% Non-Hispanic White), 1,295 (1.7%) African American, 384 (0.5%) Native American, 10,115 (13.1%) Asian, 7,267 (9.4%) from other races, and 3,671 (4.8%) from two or more races. There were 27,088 housing units at an average density of 1,513.1 per square mile (584.2/km²), of which 18,579 were owner-occupied, and 7,645 (29.2%) were occupied by renters. In 2000, there were 58,707 people, 20,008 households, and 14,745 families residing in the city. The average household size was 2.93, and the average family size was 3.30. In 2020, there will be 85,858 people living in Lake Forest. The city has a population density of 4,315.9 inhabitants per squaremile (1,666.4/km 2). The city's population is expected to grow to more than 100,000 by the end of the 2020 U.S. Census. It has a median age of 37.2 years, with 19,115 people under the age of 18, 6,775 people aged 18 to 24, 22,099 people (28.6%) aged 25 to 44, 22,184 people (8.3%) aged 45 to 64, and 9,091 people (9,2%) who were 65 years of age or older.


The city is home to the headquarters of eyewear manufacturer Oakley, Inc. It is also the home of the corporate headquarters for Eagle Community Credit Union. According to the City's 2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are: Kaiser Aluminum, Barbeques Galore, Apria Healthcare, and Sole Technology, Inc., Etnies, Autism Behavior Services Inc., and Tilly's. The city is also home to a number of restaurants, including Johnny Rockets, Del Taco, and Barbeque Galore.

Arts and culture

The city is the location of Rick Warren's megachurch, Saddleback Church, the eighth-largest church in the United States. Lake Forest is served by two branches of the Orange County Public Library system known as OC Public Libraries: the El Toro branch and the Foothill Ranch branch. In 2020, the classical music organization Chamber Music | OC moved its operations from Chapman University in Orange, California to the Lake Forest Business Center where they are currently headquartered. The city of Lake Forest puts on an annual summer concert at Pittsford Park. Other public events include the Fourth of July 5K run and fireworks display over the lake at the Sun & Sail Club. On Wednesdays at 4 pm, there is a farmers market at the Sports Park and Recreation Center, where locals can go and buy products from the local farmers and vendors. In 2010, the city hosted the first ever Orange County Open House. The event was attended by more than 2,000 people. The Open House was held at the sports park and recreation center in Lake Forest, California. It was the first Open House to be held in Orange County since the city opened its first library in 1973. It is also the first in the state of California to feature an open house in more than 20 years. The town is home to a number of non-profit organizations, such as the California Endowment for the Arts and the California Foundation for the Advancement of Music, which provides grants to the arts and sciences.

Parks and recreation

Lake Forest Sports Park and Recreation Center opened on November 1, 2014, across the street from Saddleback Church. Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in the eastern part of the city was the site of an infamous mountain lion mauling in 2004. Heritage Hill Historical Park and Museum is home to some of the oldest buildings in Orange County, including the Jose Serrano Adobe, an original adobe home and settlement built in 1863. The Harvey Bennett Ranch House, built in 1908, from which the Bennett Ranch development in Lake Forest derives its name. The park is named for Richard Bennett Harvey, the grandchild whom Harvey and Frances Bennett raised. It is also the location of "Ritchie's Park," per signs along Aliso Creek, which was a naturally set childhood playground along the stream, where all of the Bennett children and grandchildren played. The Bennett's son, Richard Beach Bennett, was educated in Animal Husbandry at California Polytechnic State University, Pomona, and grew replacement trees for farmers, before starting his own ranch in Balcom Canyon in Ventura County. The Bennetts raised oranges for Sunkist, and owned the State-deeded water rights to Aliso creek, which is very rare in California, and instrumental to their success. It was also the place where the children found Indian artifacts along the banks, and met relatives of the Indians whose ancestors had actually lived there, including "Al" and "Cy" who were older Indians working for the Bennetts.


Robert Pequeno serves as Lake Forest's Mayor and Doug Cirbo serves as Mayor Pro Tempore. Lake Forest is in California's 45th congressional district, represented by Democrat Katie Porter. In 2020, Joe Biden became the first Democratic presidential nominee to win Lake Forest since its incorporation. The city has 46,014 registered voters. Of those, 17,329 (37.66%) are registered Republicans, 13,402 (29.13%) areregistered Democrats, and 13,080 (28.43%) have no political party preference/are independents. In the California State Legislature, the city is in the 37th Senate District and the 68th Assembly District. In 1999, the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station El Toro was located one mile (1.6 km) from the city of Lake Forest. The base closed in 1999 and the city blossomed independently in the 1980s and 1990s before the base closed as well. In 2008, Lake Forest was named one of the best places to live in the United States by the magazine "Forbes" The city is located in southern Orange County, California, near Los Angeles and San Diego. It is located on the San Diego River, which runs through the southern part of the city. It has a population of about 46,000 (36,000 people) and is located near the San Francisco Bay Area, near San Diego and Los Angeles. In 2010, the City of Irvine was named the second most populous city in the state.


Lake Forest has one high school, El Toro High School, which opened in 1973. The city also has eight elementary schools and a middle school. Lake Forest is served entirely by the Saddleback Valley Unified School District, or SVUSD. The mascot is a bull and its teams are known as the Chargers; its school colors are blue and gold. It is located on the border of Lake Forest and Mission Viejo, and Trabuco Hills High School is on the other side of the border.

Air Quality, Water Quality, Superfund Sites & UV Index

The Air Quality index is in Lake Forest, Orange County, California = 4.3. These Air Quality index is based on annual reports from the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The number of ozone alert days is used as an indicator of air quality, as are the amounts of seven pollutants including particulates, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, and volatile organic chemicals. The Water Quality Index is 65. A measure of the quality of an area’s water supply as rated by the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The EPA has a complex method of measuring the watershed quality, using 15 indicators such as pollutants, turbidity, sediments, and toxic discharges. The Superfund Sites Index is 10. Higher is better (100=best). Based upon the number and impact of EPA Superfund pollution sites in the county, including spending on the cleanup efforts. The UV Index in Lake Forest = 5.9 and is a measure of an area's exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. This is most often a combination of sunny weather, altitude, and latitude. The UV Index has been defined by the WHO ( and is uniform worldwide.


The most recent city population of 85,858 individuals with a median age of 37.8 age the population dropped by -5.05% in Lake Forest, Orange County, California population since 2000 and are distributed over a density of 5,100 residents per square mile of area (2,000/km²). There are average 2.96 people per household in the 18,594 households with an average household income of $83,967 a year. The unemployment rate in Alabama is 6.70% of the available work force and has dropped -5.07% over the most recent 12-month period and the projected change in job supply over the next decade based on migration patterns, economic growth, and other factors will increase by 23.16%. The number of physicians in Lake Forest per 100,000 population = 253.3.


The annual rainfall in Lake Forest = 12.8 inches and the annual snowfall = 0 inches. The annual number of days with measurable precipitation (over .01 inch) = 34. The average number of days per year that are predominantly sunny = 279. 84 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily high temperature for the month of July and 40.5 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily low temperature for the month of January. The Comfort Index (higher=better) is 54, where higher values mean a more pleasant climate. The Comfort Index measure recognizes that humidity by itself isn't the problem. (Have you noticed nobody ever complains about the weather being 'cold and humid?) It's in the summertime that we notice the humidity the most, when it's hot and muggy. Our Comfort Index uses a combination of afternoon summer temperature and humidity to closely predict the effect that the humidity will have on people.

Median Home Cost

The percentage of housing units in Lake Forest, Orange County, California which are owned by the occupant = 69.81%. A housing unit is a house, apartment, mobile home, or room occupied as separate living quarters. The average age of homes = 29 years with median home cost = $326,400 and home appreciation of -11.17%. This is the value of the years most recent home sales data. Its important to note that this is not the average (or arithmetic mean). The median home price is the middle value when you arrange all the sales prices of homes from lowest to highest. This is a better indicator than the average, because the median is not changed as much by a few unusually high or low values. The property tax rate of $7.36 shown here is the rate per $1,000 of home value. If for simplification for example the tax rate is $14.00 and the home value is $250,000, the property tax would be $14.00 x ($250,000/1000), or $3500. This is the 'effective' tax rate.


The local school district spends $4,918 per student. There are 23.5 students for each teacher in the school, 7166 students for each Librarian and 1414 students for each Counselor. 10.13% of the area’s population over the age of 25 with an Associate Degree or other 2-year college degree, 23.99% with a master’s degree, Ph.D. or other advanced college degree and 9.74% with high school diplomas or high school equivalency degrees (GEDs).

  • Lake Forest's population in Orange County, California of 2,384 residents in 1900 has increased 36,01-fold to 85,858 residents after 120 years, according to the official 2020 census.

    Approximately 50.57% female residents and 49.43% male residents live in Lake Forest, Orange County, California.

    As of 2020 in Lake Forest, Orange County, California are married and the remaining 40.63% are single population.

  • 27.7 minutes is the average time that residents in Lake Forest require for a one-way commute to work. A long commute can have different effects on health. A Gallup poll in the US found that in terms of mental health, long haul commuters are up to 12 percent more likely to experience worry, and ten percent less likely to feel well rested. The Gallup poll also found that of people who commute 61­–90 minutes each day, a whopping one third complained of neck and back pain, compared to less than a quarter of people who only spend ten minutes getting to work.

    79.22% of the working population which commute to work alone in their car, 12.23% of the working population which commutes to work in a carpool, 1.43% of the population that commutes using mass transit, including bus, light rail, subway, and ferry. 4.11% of the population that has their home as their principal place of work.

  • Of the total residential buildings in Lake Forest, Orange County, California, 69.81% are owner-occupied homes, another 27.65% are rented apartments, and the remaining 2.55% are vacant.

  • The 43.74% of the population in Lake Forest, Orange County, California who identify themselves as belonging to a religion are distributed among the following most diverse religions.

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