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George H. Peck owned a lot of the land that became part of the north section of Manhattan Beach. A coin flip decided the town’s name. Around 1902, the beach suburb was named “Manhattan” after developer Stewart Merrill’s home, the New York City borough of Manhattan. “Beach” was appended to the city’s name in 1927 at the behest of the postmaster.
The land in Manhattan Beach was formerly sand dunes. During the 1920s and 1930s, builders leveled uneven sandy sites and some excess sand was sold and shipped to Waikiki, Hawaii, to convert their reef and rock beach into a sandy beach. The sand was also used to build the Los Angeles Coliseum and portions of the Pacific Coast Highway.
Many high profile individuals in the sports and entertainment industry live in Manhattan Beach due to its oceanfront desirability, top performing school district, and commuting distance to Los Angeles. GQ Magazine named Manhattan Beach one of the nation’s six best beaches in their July 2014 issue.
The city has a total area of 4.9 square miles (13 km2). Manhattan Beach features 2.1 miles (3.4 km) of ocean frontage.
The Census reported that 35,107 people (99.9% of the population) lived in households, 28 (0.1%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.
There were 14,038 households, out of which 4,735 (33.7%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 7,583 (54.0%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 892 (6.4%) had a female householder with no husband present, 438 (3.1%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 695 (5.0%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 85 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 3,627 households (25.8%) were made up of individuals and 1,078 (7.7%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50. There were 8,913 families (63.5% of all households); the average family size was 3.10.
The population was spread out with 8,725 people (24.8%) under the age of 18, 1,740 people (5.0%) aged 18 to 24, 9,532 people (27.1%) aged 25 to 44, 10,681 people (30.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 4,457 people (12.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.9 years. For every 100 females there were 100.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.2 males. There were 14,929 housing units at an average density of 3,787.9 per square mile (1,462.5/km²), of which 9,420 (67.1%) were owner-occupied, and 4,618 (32.9%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0.8%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.3%. 25,587 people (72.8% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 9,520 people (27.1%) lived in rental housing units.
According to the 2010 United States Census, Manhattan Beach had a median household income of $139,259, with 3.4% of the population living below the federal poverty line.