With approximately 139,000 residents according to a 2006 U.S. Census Bureau estimate, Palmdale is the largest desert city in California. Located high in the Mojave Desert on the edge of Los Angeles County, Palmdale is known for its sparse rainfall and broiling hot summers, when temperatures often exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The city is close to the San Andreas Fault, making it especially prone to earthquakes. But residents of Palmdale take pride in their community, an attitude embodied in the city's motto, "A Place to Call Home."
Lured by relatively cheap home and rental prices, former Los Angeles residents have made Palmdale the site of an exurban exodus. Palmdale is also a particularly diverse community, both economically and culturally.
Palmdale's downtown, near Sierra Highway and E. Palmdale Blvd. is the place to go for municipal buildings and the library, as well as the Metrolink Station on Sierra. Retailing centers around the Antelope Valley Mall on W. Rancho Vista Blvd. near the Antelope Valley Freeway. Neighborhoods in the Palmdale area range from 1950s and 1960s tract homes to newer master-planned communities. Some of the main housing developments in the area include Quartz Hill toward Lancaster, and Desert View Highlands, near 10th St. W. and W. Palmdale Blvd.
Average commuting times for Palmdale residents are among the highest in the country. In 2005, as a means of mitigating road congestion and travel delays, the city completed construction on a commuter rail Metrolink train, which runs from Palmdale to Los Angeles and other communities in the metropolitan area. There is also a commuter bus service, and the city is developing a system of bicycle lanes to promote non-motorized travel. The Antelope Valley Freeway is the main route in and out; it connects with the 5 south of Newhall for the ride into Los Angeles.
Palmdale residents work a range of skilled labor and white-collar jobs. Many of the city's residents work in Los Angeles or other nearby cities, and thousands work in the Antelope Valley's many aerospace businesses, including:
Both companies have researched and tested space shuttles, stealth planes, and fighter aircrafts in the Palmdale area. They have chosen to call the area home because of its proximity of Edwards Air Force Base, which sits on the border of Los Angeles County and Kern County.
Palmdale residents have several local choices for higher education, including:
Newspapers serving Palmdale include:
More than a dozen radio stations serve Palmdale, including:
Television stations serving Palmdale include: