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Aliso Viejo, California

Coordinates: 33°34′30″N 117°43′32″W / 33.57500°N 117.72556°W / 33.57500; -117.72556
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Aliso Viejo, California
The Aliso Viejo Town Center
The Aliso Viejo Town Center
Flag of Aliso Viejo, California
Official seal of Aliso Viejo, California
Etymology: Spanish for "Old Alder Tree"
"Live, Work, Learn, Shop and Play."[1]
Location of Aliso Viejo within Orange County, California
Location of Aliso Viejo within Orange County, California
Aliso Viejo is located in California
Aliso Viejo
Aliso Viejo
Location in California
Aliso Viejo is located in the United States
Aliso Viejo
Aliso Viejo
Aliso Viejo (the United States)
Aliso Viejo is located in North America
Aliso Viejo
Aliso Viejo
Aliso Viejo (North America)
Coordinates: 33°34′30″N 117°43′32″W / 33.57500°N 117.72556°W / 33.57500; -117.72556
CountryUnited States
IncorporatedJuly 1, 2001[2]
 • TypeCouncil-Manager
 • MayorRichard Hurt
 • Mayor Pro TemMike Munzing
 • Council members
  • Tiffany Ackley
  • Ross Chun
  • Max Duncan
 • City ManagerDavid Doyle
 • Total6.93 sq mi (17.94 km2)
 • Land6.93 sq mi (17.94 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)  0%
Elevation410 ft (125 m)
 • Total52,176
 • Density7,533.35/sq mi (2,908.80/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
92656, 92698
Area code949
FIPS code06-00947
GNIS feature IDs252532, 2409683

Aliso Viejo (Spanish for "Old Sycamore") is a city in the San Joaquin Hills of southern Orange County, California. It had a population of 52,176 as of the 2020 census, up from 47,823 as of the 2010 census. It became Orange County's 34th city on July 1, 2001, the only city in Orange County to be incorporated since 2000. It is bordered by the cities of Laguna Beach on the west and southwest, Laguna Hills on the east, Laguna Niguel on the southeast, and Laguna Woods on the north. It is similarly named to another nearby city, Mission Viejo.



The Acjachemen are the Indigenous people of Aliso Viejo, who lived in the area for thousands of years. The people established numerous villages along Aliso Creek. With the arrival of settlers, the Acjachemen village sites would later become the southern areas of the Moulton Ranch.[5]

The planned community of Aliso Viejo's original 6,600 acres (2,700 ha) were once part of the 26,000-acre (11,000 ha) Moulton Ranch, owned by the Moulton family, who took title in the 1890s to land originally granted to Juan Avila by the Mexican government in 1842. Over the years, portions of the ranch were sold and became Leisure World, Laguna Hills and Laguna Niguel.[6]

In 1976, the Mission Viejo Company purchased the remaining 6,600 acres to create a new planned community – Aliso Viejo – with a master plan for 20,000 homes for a planned population of 50,000. The master plan was approved by the Orange County in 1979, and homes were first offered for sale in March 1982. Aliso Viejo's first family moved in that November. As part of the project, 2,600 acres (1,100 ha) were dedicated to Orange County as part of the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, and 800 acres (320 ha) were set aside for local parks, recreation, schools and community facilities.[6]

The Aliso Viejo Community Association (AVCA) was set up to manage the local parks and community open space. It was the first community-wide association of its kind in California and has the unique ability to provide a full range of community services and facilities.[6]

Aliso Viejo was the first planned community in California to plan a balance between the projected resident work force and the number of projected jobs within its borders. Pacific Park, the centrally located 900-acre (360 ha) business park and town center, was expected to ultimately provide more than 22,000 jobs. Every home in Aliso Viejo was located within 1+12 miles (2.4 km) of Pacific Park, to encourage live-and-work opportunities.[6]



Aliso Viejo had been an unincorporated community since 1979, and incorporated as a city in 2001 due to the efforts of the Aliso Viejo Cityhood 2000 Committee, which was responsible for introducing an initiative on the ballot for the 2001 special election. Voters passed the initiative with 93.3% in favor of incorporation.[7] Carmen Vali-Cave, the co-founder and president of the committee, became the new city's first mayor.

The seal of the city of Aliso Viejo was adopted in 2001 at incorporation. The seal features several mountains, a sunset, a tree, and several buildings. Also, the seal features the slogan "July 2001", in celebration of the city's incorporation date.

Aliso Viejo is a general law city with a council-manager system of government. Day-to-day operations are handled by a professional city manager overseen by a volunteer city council. The City Council of Aliso Viejo consists of five members serving staggered four-year terms. Each year, the Council votes for its next Mayor and Mayor pro tem. The current City Council consists of Mayor Mike Munzing, Mayor Pro-Tem Tiffany Ackley, and Council Members David C. Harrington, Ross Chun, and William Phillips .

Clock tower of the Aliso Viejo Library

State and federal representation


In the California State Legislature, Aliso Viejo is in the 37th Senate District, represented by Democrat Dave Min, and in the 72nd Assembly District, represented by Republican Diane Dixon.[8]

In the United States House of Representatives, Aliso Viejo is in California's 40th congressional district, represented by Republican Young Kim.[9]



Aliso Viejo is a swing city at the presidential level. According to the California Secretary of State, as of October 22, 2018, Aliso Viejo has 27,699 registered voters. Of those, 9,210 (33.25%) are registered Republicans, 8,800 (31.77%) are registered Democrats, and 8,388 (30.28%) have declined to state a political party/are independents.[10]

Aliso Viejo city vote
by party in presidential elections
Year Democratic Republican Third Parties
2020[11] 56.48% 15,754 41.30% 11,519 2.22% 619
2016[12] 51.63% 10,968 40.99% 8,708 7.37% 1,566
2012[13] 47.27% 9,430 50.09% 9,991 2.64% 527
2008[14] 52.65% 10,645 45.54% 9,207 1.81% 366
2004[15] 40.73% 7,648 58.39% 10,964 0.88% 166



Aliso Viejo is located at 33°34′30″N 117°43′32″W / 33.57500°N 117.72556°W / 33.57500; -117.72556 (33.575096, -117.725431)[16] in the San Joaquin Hills of Orange County. According to the Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.5 square miles (19 km2), all of which is land. Aliso Viejo is one of several cities bordering Aliso and Wood Canyons Regional Park. Aliso Creek forms part of the city's boundary with Laguna Niguel to the south, and Wood Canyon Creek forms part of the city's western boundary. Much of the city rests on the east slope of the San Joaquin Hills, which are a coastal mountain range extending for about 15 miles (24 km) along the Pacific coast.


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[17]



The 2020 United States Census reported a population of 52,176. The racial makeup was 68.3% White, 2.7% African American, 15.4% Asian, and 18.8% Hispanic or Latino of any race.[18]



The 2010 United States Census[19] reported that Aliso Viejo had a population of 47,823. The population density was 6,400.4 inhabitants per square mile (2,471.2/km2). The racial makeup of Aliso Viejo was 34,437 (89.0%) White (77.8% Non-Hispanic White),[20] 967 (2.0%) African American, 151 (0.1%) Native American, 6,996 (14.6%) Asian, 89 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 2,446 (5.1%) from other races, and 2,737 (5.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8,164 persons (17.1%).

The Census reported that 47,354 people (99.0% of the population) lived in households, 450 (0.9%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 19 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 18,204 households, out of which 7,095 (39.0%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 9,358 (51.4%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 1,966 (10.8%) had a female householder with no husband present, 791 (4.3%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 987 (5.4%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 206 (1.1%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 4,416 households (24.3%) were made up of individuals, and 638 (3.5%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60. There were 12,115 families (66.6% of all households); the average family size was 3.16.

The population was spread out, with 12,395 people (25.9%) under the age of 18, 3,739 people (7.8%) aged 18 to 24, 17,138 people (35.8%) aged 25 to 44, 12,003 people (25.1%) aged 45 to 64, and 2,548 people (5.3%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35.1 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.2 males.

There were 18,867 housing units at an average density of 2,525.1 per square mile (974.9/km2), of which 11,049 (60.7%) were owner-occupied, and 7,155 (39.3%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.2%; the rental vacancy rate was 3.6%. 29,819 people (62.4% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 17,535 people (36.7%) lived in rental housing units.



As of the census[21] of 2000, there were 40,166 people, 16,147 households, and 10,689 families residing in what was, at the time, a Census Designated Place (CDP). The population density was 3,927.7 inhabitants per square mile (1,516.5/km2). There were 16,608 housing units at an average density of 1,624.0 per square mile (627.0/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 78.16% White, 10.99% Asian, 2.06% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.22% Pacific Islander, 3.51% from other races, and 4.66% from two or more races. 11.65% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 16,147 households, out of which 37.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.7% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 23.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 1.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.01.

The population was distributed with 26.1% under the age of 18, 5.5% from 18 to 24, 48.8% from 25 to 44, 16.3% from 45 to 64, and 3.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.4 males.

According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the CDP was $92,280, and the median income for a family was $99,853.[22] Males had a median income of $61,316 versus $44,190 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $35,244. About 2.3% of families and 2.8% of the population lived below the poverty line, including 3.5% of those under age 18 and 2.8% of those age 65 or over.



Companies located in Aliso Viejo include:

Top employers


According to the city's 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[23] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of employees
1 United Parcel Service 1,000
2 Pacific Life 811
3 Capistrano Unified School District 679
4 Fluor 630
5 Quest Software 600
6 QLogic 490
7 Renaissance Hotels ClubSport Aliso Viejo 259
8 Pepsi Beverages Company 215
9 Smith Micro Software 200
10 Merit Property Management 199
11 Buy.com 185
12 Lennar 175
13 Target Corporation 170
14 Bausch & Lomb 160
15 Ambry Genetics 777
16 The Covington 153
17 LenSx Laser 150
18 Lowe's 130

Points of interest

  • The Aliso Viejo Library, a branch of the Orange County Public Library system, opened on January 31, 1998.[24]
  • Aliso Viejo Golf Course was designed by Nicklaus Design in 1999 and became the Aliso Viejo Country Club with a redesign in 2005.[25]
  • Soka University of America was dedicated on May 3, 2001, with a 103-acre campus and 18 buildings, a $250 million (land and construction) project.[26]
  • Soka Performing Arts Center, a 1,000-seat concert hall with acoustics designed by Yasuhisa Toyota (who also designed Walt Disney Concert Hall); opened in September 2011.[27]

Sports teams




"Dihydrogen monoxide" incident


Aliso Viejo city officials famously came close to banning polystyrene cups in 2004 after a paralegal working for the city discovered the dhmo.org parody website and learned that they contain "dihydrogen monoxide", failing to realize that this is simply an alternative name for water.[28]

William Freund murder-suicide


In October 2005, the city gained national media attention once again when 19-year-old resident William Freund donned a cape and mask, and murdered two of his neighbors, 22-year-old Christina Smith and her father Vernon, before killing himself.[29][30] Freund had Asperger syndrome and posted on an Internet message board for people with the disorder, in which he talked of suicide and acts of violence.[31] On November 17, 2006, the family of the two victims sued Freund's parents for "wrongful death and emotional distress."[32] Freund lived with his parents at the time of the shooting and had a history of mental disorders including Asperger syndrome and attention deficit disorder, but the court ruled that Freund's parents were not liable for his actions because he was an adult at the time and the attacks were unforeseen.[33]

School dance ban


In September 2006, Charles Salter, the principal of Aliso Niguel High School, Aliso Viejo's high school, gained widespread media attention when he banned all school dances until further notice. Salter came under fire for his decision. The decision was based on the school's "Welcome Back Dance", at which several students arrived intoxicated, while others engaged in "freak dancing", which Salter views as inappropriate at a school dance. At the end of the month, Salter stood his ground and cancelled the school's annual Homecoming Dance, which gained both Salter and the school notoriety.[34] A story on the school was featured on the national television program, Geraldo at Large and the BBC also covered the dance ban. In late November, it was announced that the dances would return to the school, but under new rules that banned "freak dancing".[35]

Proposed mail distribution center


In 2008–early 2009, Aliso Viejo residents were protesting the United States Postal Service's plan to build a large mail distribution facility. The proposed facility would have up to 500 employees and USPS trucks traveling over residential streets 24 hours per day. Residents were concerned about damage to city streets, traffic and the trucks traveling through city neighborhoods. On March 9, 2009, the USPS announced that it would not move forward with plans to build the distribution facility due to the economic outlook at the time.[36]

Emergency services


Fire protection in Aliso Viejo is provided by the Orange County Fire Authority with ambulance service by Care Ambulance. Law enforcement is provided by the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Aliso Niguel High School
Founders Hall of Soka University of America



Public K–12


A tiny portion of the city, the Bells Vireo neighborhood of El Toro Road, are contracted out to the Laguna Beach Unified School District in Laguna Beach. Due to the city's inaccessibility at times, students who live in that portion may choose to attend the Capistrano Unified School District, which includes these schools:


  • Canyon Vista Elementary School
  • Don Juan Avila Elementary School
  • Oak Grove Elementary School
  • Wood Canyon Elementary School

Middle school

High school

Private K–12

  • VanDamme Academy
  • St. Mary and All Angels School
  • Aliso Viejo Christian School

Higher education


Notable people



  1. ^ "About" Archived March 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine on the City of Aliso Viejo website
  2. ^ "California Cities by Incorporation Date". California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions. Archived from the original (Word) on November 3, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  3. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  4. ^ "Aliso Viejo". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved February 23, 2015.
  5. ^ Bunyan, Bob (2011). Aliso Viejo. Aliso Viejo Community Foundation. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Pub. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-7385-7424-0. OCLC 727702144.
  6. ^ a b c d "Aliso Viejo ... for today and tomorrow" Mission Viejo Company
  7. ^ "The County of Orange California". July 10, 2013. Archived from the original on July 10, 2013. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  8. ^ "California Districts". UC Regents. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
  9. ^ "California's 40th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC.
  10. ^ "CA Secretary of State – Report of Registration – October 22, 2018" (PDF). ca.gov. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  11. ^ "Votes cast" (PDF). www.ocvote.com. Retrieved January 18, 2021.
  12. ^ "Votes cast" (PDF). www.ocvote.com. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  13. ^ "Votes cast" (PDF). www.ocvote.com. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  14. ^ "Votes cast" (PDF). www.ocvote.com. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  15. ^ "Votes cast" (PDF). www.ocvote.com. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  16. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  17. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  18. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Aliso Viejo city, California". www.census.gov. Retrieved August 17, 2022.
  19. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Aliso Viejo city". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  20. ^ "State & County QuickFacts: Aliso Viejo (city), California". Archived from the original on March 29, 2015. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  21. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  22. ^ American FactFinder. Factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved on September 19, 2013.
  23. ^ City of Aliso Viejo CAFR[permanent dead link]
  24. ^ MESSINA, FRANK (January 31, 1998). "Library Officially Opens to Public". LA Times. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  25. ^ ClubCorp. "History". Aliso Viejo Country Club. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  26. ^ "A Proud Heritage -". www.soka.edu. Archived from the original on November 6, 2017. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  27. ^ "Soka.edu". Archived from the original on June 4, 2014. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  28. ^ "Local officials nearly fall for H2O hoax." NBC News. March 15, 2004. Retrieved on September 4, 2008.
  29. ^ Yoshino, Kimi; Tran, Mai; Berthelsen, Christian (November 1, 2005). "Killer Sought Solace Online". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  30. ^ Connelly, Laylan (November 3, 2005). "Tragedy's aftermath". Orange County Register. Anaheim, Calif. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  31. ^ Maugh, Thomas (November 3, 2005). "An Obscure Disorder Leaves Tragic Mystery". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved January 21, 2022.
  32. ^ Tran, Mai (November 18, 2006). "Relatives sue over shotgun slayings". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  33. ^ , Text.
  34. ^ Hernandez, Salvador. "Homecoming dance gets boot." The Orange County Register. September 29, 2006. Retrieved on March 18, 2007.
  35. ^ Hernandez, Salvador. "School dances return under new rules." The Orange County Register. November 29, 2006. Retrieved on March 18, 2007.
  36. ^ Evezich, Lois (March 3, 2009). "Postal Service Facility a No-Go". The Orange County Register.
  37. ^ "Bon Voyage | Biography, Albums, Streaming Links". AllMusic.