Community Profile: Palm Desert

Community profiles provide insight and information to the nine cities and unincorporated places in the Coachella Valley. The profiles provide precise, relevant data at the community level in combination with interactive maps and visualizations to help community members learn about the most important issues facing their communities and to help policy makers make informed decisions for their constituents. Community profiles are updated annually with the latest data, with new profiles released on a regular basis.

Palm Desert is located between the cities of Palm Springs and Indio in Riverside County southeast of the San Bernardino Mountains. Originally incorporated in 1973, it is one of the largest cities in the Coachella Valley. Palm Desert is home to many resorts, golf courses, spas, and shops utilized by residents and a large annual population of tourists. Palm Desert is also home to the highest number of housing units, healthcare institutions, financial institutions and nonprofit organizations in the Coachella Valley. The median income in the city is $57,578, just above the average for other places in the Coachella Valley ($53,539). 
The majority of the population in Palm Desert is White (65%) and almost half of the city's population is over the age of 55, much higher than the average age in California. The city has a low number of immigrants and non-English speaking households when compared to other Coachella Valley communities. 
Explore the visualizations below to learn more about demography, housing and social connectedness in Palm Desert and how the city compares to the state, county and other places in the Coachella Valley. 


Palm Desert is the third largest city in the Coachella Valley with a population of 52,124. The city stretches across 27.02 square miles.
The average household size in Palm Desert is 2.15 people, and 43% of the total 24,114 households in the city are made up of non-family households (individuals living alone or with non-relatives) - above average for the Coachella Valley.

Age Distribution

Palm Desert has a median age of 53 years old, relatively older than the state median age of 36 years old and the national median age of 38 years old.
34% of the city is over the age of 65, which is high for the Coachella Valley region, the state of California and the nation.

Race & Ethnicity

Palm Desert has the fifth largest White population in the Coachella Valley with White people making up 65% of the city's population. Compared to other Coachella Valley communities, Palm Desert also has a relatively large Asian population and a relatively small Hispanic Population. 


Just over 21% of the Palm Desert population are immigrants, which is below average for the Coachella Valley and the state of California. Select a community to the right of the chart to see how the size of its immigrant population compares to Palm Desert. 
51% of Palm Desert's immigrants are citizens, a relatively high rate compared to many other communities in the Coachella Valley. 

Housing/Real Estate

Housing Units

There are 39,800 housing units in Palm Desert, making up 16% of the total housing units in Coachella Valley cities and places. Hover over each box to see how Palm Desert compares to other communities in the Coachella Valley.

Median Rent Price

Median gross rent in Palm Desert is $1,260, which is 11% above the average for the Coachella Valley.

Rent Burden

Almost 50% of the population in Palm Desert was rent burdened in 2018, below the average rates for the Coachella Valley and California.
Select a community to the right of the graph to see how rent burden rates compare to Palm Desert.

Overcrowded Households

4% of households in Palm Desert have more than one person per one room of their housing unit, below average for the county's overcrowding rate of 7%.

Housing Stability

85% of households in Palm Desert are living in the same housing unit as they were one year ago, just slightly below average for the county's stability rate of 87%. 


Homeownership rates are beginning to slowly increase in Palm Desert after a period of steady decline according to most recent group of 5-year estimates. 62% of households are homeowners, above average for the state of California, but slightly below the national and Coachella Valley averages.
Select a community to the right of the graph to see how home-ownership rates compare to Palm Desert.

Social Connectedness

Linguistic Isolation

4% of the households in Palm Desert are limited-English speaking households. This is relatively low compared to the average across other Coachella Valley places where 15% of households are limited-English speaking. 

Erika Van Sickel
Erika received her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Barbara then worked at an environmental nonprofit organization in San Diego. She is currently pursuing a master’s in planning at USC with a concentration in design and a certificate in real estate development. Erika is also assisting to investigate rent burden and the resulting sacrifices residents are forced to make. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time outdoors and is a yoga and coffee enthusiast.

Sources Notes: All data in this community profile come from the 2018 5-year estimates of the American Community Survey. Income and rent amounts are shown in 2018 dollars for all years.
Photo Credit: Noe Montes