Close to the 19th Century, The Palos Verdes Peninsula was uninhabited, with the exception of sheepherders and their flocks. There were no fences, trees, roads or structures. In the early 1900s, the Peninsula had cattle ranch and farming areas. Japanese families farmed the moist southern slopes with beans, peas, tomatoes and the manager of the cattle ranch farmed the dryer northern slopes with barley and grain.
In July 1953, Frank A. Vanderlip's eldest son, Frank Jr., was president of the Palos Verdes Corporation that controlled the family's remaining undeveloped acreage. Since 1944, the Great Lakes Carbon Corporation had leased a 300 acre tract of land on the north side for mining. For two years, the Great Lakes Carbon Corporation have been attempting to purchase this property from the Vanderlip family. Frank Vanderlip Jr. agreed to sell, only if the Great Lakes purchased all of the stocks in the Palos Verdes Corporation. The plans for mining quickly vanished and a group of well known architects and engineers were hired to create a develop property.
The idea of a fourth city was first advanced in 1962 as an answer to controlling the unbridled development. The efforts were not able to get off ground. In spite of the protest from homeowners, adjacent cities, and the local school district. An election was held in August 1973. A majority of 5 to 1 voted in favor of the incorporation. At the same time, voters elected five city council members out of a field of 24 candidates.
In the 2000 census, there were 41,145 people 15,256 households and 12,220 families residing in Palos Verdes. The racial makeup of Palos Verdes was 67.23% White, 1.98% African American, 0.15% Native American, 25.9% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander 1.21% from other races, and 3.39% from two or more races. Hispanic and Latino race were 5.68% of the population.
There were 15,256 households out of which 32.6% had children under the age of 18. 70.8% were married couple, 6.8% had a female householder with no husband, and 19.9% were non-families, 16.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.6% had some living alone who was 65 or older.
The median income for a households in the city was $95,503 and the median income for a family was $105,586. Males had a median of $80,617 and females income was $46,665. The per capita income for the city was $46,250. About 2.0% of families and 2.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.0% of those under 18 and 2.6% of those 65 or older.