Ranch Santa Margarita, CA. incorporated in the year 2000. As of the census of 2000, there were 47,214 people, 16,253 households, and 12,417 families residing within the city. The population density was 1,485.7/km² (3,847.6/mi²). There were 16,515 housing units at an average density of 519.7/km² (1,345.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 81.59% White, 1.75% African American, 0.42% Native American, 7.40% Asian, 0.21% Pacific Islander, 4.49% from other races, and 4.15% from two or more races. Hispanic of any race were 13.00% of the population.
According to a recent estimates, the median income for a household in the city was $95,000, and the median income for a family was $110,800. Males had a median income of $61,314 versus $40,799 for females. The per capita income for the city was $31,531. About 1.5% of families and 2.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.1% of those under age 18 and 4.2% of those age 65 or over. Most of the neighborhoods in RSM are maintained by larger homeowner's associations including Melinda Heights, town center, Dove Canyon, Rancho Cielo, Robinson Ranch, and Trabuco Highlands. Dove Canyon, Trabuco Highlands, Robinson Ranch, and Rancho Cielo were all established before Rancho Santa Margarita was an incorporated community. East of Plano Tabuco Road is designated with a Trabuco Canyon zip code even though the area falls within the City of Rancho Santa Margarita boundary.
In the city of Rancho Santa Margarita, the population was distributed with 33.6% under the age of 18, 5.7% from 18 to 24, 41.4% from 25 to 44, 15.9% from 45 to 64, and 3.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.9 males.
There were 16,253 households out of which 51.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.7% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.6% were non-families. 17.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.90 and the average family size was 3.35.
Rancho Santa Margarita has some of the lowest crime rates in the Nation, with one homicide in 2004, two in 2003, one in 2002, zero for 2001 and 2000. The City contracts with the sheriff for protection. Dove Canyon is gated and employs security guards and also gets sheriff's patrols. With the year round perfect weather, higher median household income, very low crime rate and award winning public school district, it is no wonder that CNN Money Magazine named Rancho Santa Margarita as one of the best places to live!
Most of the schools are in the Capistrano Valley Unified School district, and some are in the Saddleback Valley School district. These are two of the highest-scoring districts in the county. Tijeras Elementary was opened in 2000, Tesoro High School in 2001.