|San Diego County and the state of California|
|• Total||27.426 sq mi (71.033 km2)|
|• Land||27.426 sq mi (71.033 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2) 0%|
|Elevation||1,312 ft (400 m)|
|• Density||340/sq mi (130/km2)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
|Area code(s)||760, 442|
|GNIS feature ID||1661616|
Valley Center is located at .
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 27.4 square miles (71 km2), all land.
Valley Center is home to the Hellhole Canyon Preserve which is a 1,907 acre preserve that offers 13.5 miles of moderate to advanced trail opportunities.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Valley Center had a population of 9,277. The population density was 338.3 people per square mile (130.6/km²). The racial makeup of Valley Center was 6,785 (73.1%) White, 84 (0.9%) African American, 188 (2.0%) Native American, 295 (3.2%) Asian, 16 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 1,484 (16.0%) from other races, and 425 (4.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2,581 persons (27.8%).
The Census reported that 9,243 people (99.6% of the population) lived in households, 27 (0.3%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 7 (0.1%) were institutionalized.
There were 3,000 households, out of which 1,120 (37.3%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 2,035 (67.8%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 212 (7.1%) had a female householder with no husband present, 142 (4.7%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 127 (4.2%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 21 (0.7%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 462 households (15.4%) were made up of individuals and 193 (6.4%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.08. There were 2,389 families (79.6% of all households); the average family size was 3.38.
The population was spread out with 2,250 people (24.3%) under the age of 18, 827 people (8.9%) aged 18 to 24, 1,942 people (20.9%) aged 25 to 44, 3,094 people (33.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 1,164 people (12.5%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.1 years. For every 100 females there were 100.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.4 males.
There were 3,228 housing units at an average density of 117.7 per square mile (45.4/km²), of which 2,419 (80.6%) were owner-occupied, and 581 (19.4%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.7%; the rental vacancy rate was 2.8%. 7,364 people (79.4% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 1,879 people (20.3%) lived in rental housing units.
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,323 people, 2,415 households, and 1,919 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 250.1 inhabitants per square mile (96.6/km²). There were 2,517 housing units at an average density of 86.0 per square mile (33.2/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 85.69% White, 0.52% African American, 2.84% Native American, 1.35% Asian, 0.19% Pacific Islander, 6.45% from other races, and 2.96% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16.50% of the population.
There were 2,415 households out of which 38.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 68.4% were married couples living together, 6.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.5% were non-families. 15.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.01 and the average family size was 3.33.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 29.6% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 25.2% from 25 to 44, 27.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 102.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.1 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $64,649, and the median income for a family was $68,388. Males had a median income of $50,440 versus $35,199 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $24,071. About 5.8% of families and 6.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.7% of those under age 18 and 13.6% of those age 65 or over.
In the state legislature Valley Center is located in the 36th Senate District, represented by Republican Joel Anderson, and in the 75th Assembly District, represented by Republican Marie Waldron. Federally, Valley Center is located in California's 50th congressional district, and is represented by Republican Duncan D. Hunter.
Valley Center is a community in transition from a small rural town to a suburban "bedroom" community. This transition has been underway for several years. This has resulted in some agriculture, such as large fruit orchards, giving way to housing development. Historically, the growth of Valley Center has been slowed by lower densities including a minimum of 2 acres (8,100 m2) being required for most parcels. However, in recent years this lower density has attracted richer folks to build many new large estate and ranch homes, thus making the community more desirable. However, with San Diego County's GP2020 Plan, currently being discussed, the densities in a few areas of Valley Center will be changed from a minimum of 2 acres (8,100 m2) per parcel to much higher densities, and local residents may not be able to stop developers. The result may be rows of apartment complexes and packed housing units, particularly in the town's central area. Even with current growth it is reasonable to characterize the town as "semi-rural".
Some changes in the community can be attributed to the expansion of Indian casinos in the area. There are currently two major casinos in the vicinity of Valley Center - Harrah's Rincon and Valley View; both were opened in 2001-02, bringing traffic and jobs to what used to be an out-of-the-way agricultural town. High traffic necessitated highway improvements, partially paid by casino contributions.
Despite these changes, there are still no chain department stores in the community; residents do their shopping in smaller "mom and pop" stores, and drive to Escondido.
Traditionally, the town and the surrounding areas have largely been dedicated to agricultural uses. Various commercial crops include oranges, lemons, and avocados. More recently farmers have taken up other crops, including ornamental floral products such as lavender. Additionally, there is a thriving animal farming industry including egg-producing hens and llamas.
Valley Center was the site of the capture of the largest California Grizzly Bear in history. In 1866, a grizzly weighing 2,200 pounds was killed in the area. Although the town had been settled in 1845 and homesteaded in 1862, it had no formal name until the famous 1866 bear incident. The notoriety surrounding the event gave Valley Center its original name of Bear Valley. The name was subsequently changed to Valley in 1874, to Valley Centre in 1878 and, finally, to Valley Center in 1887. An exhibit of the bear is on display at the Valley Center History Museum.
Valley Center Historical Society celebrated 150 Years of Valley Center in 2012. Valley Center, was settled shortly after President Lincoln signed the Homestead Act on May 20, 1862. Celebrations were held throughout the year of 2012, with the main event during the annual Western Days weekend.
Once a year, parts of the town are closed down for an event known as Valley Center Western Days. This event is traditionally held over the Memorial Day weekend and consists of a community parade, a festival at the Valley Center Community Center and the Valley Center Stampede Rodeo. For the weeks leading up to the event, local organizations put on western-themed events and fundraisers.