San Diego County, California facts for kids
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San Diego County
|County of San Diego|
Location in the U.S. state of California
California's location in the United States
|Country||United States of America|
|Formed||February 18, 1850|
|County seat||San Diego|
|Largest city||San Diego|
|• Body||Board of Supervisors|
|• Total||4,526 sq mi (11,720 km2)|
|• Land||4,207 sq mi (10,900 km2)|
|• Water||319 sq mi (830 km2)|
|Highest elevation||6,536 ft (1,992 m)|
| • Estimate
|• Density||729.01/sq mi (281.474/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-8 (Pacific Time Zone)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-7 (Pacific Daylight Time)|
|Area codes||442/760, 619, 858, and 949|
|GNIS feature ID||277301|
San Diego County is a county in the southwestern corner of the state of California, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 3,095,313. making it California's second-most populous county and the fifth-most populous in the United States. Its county seat is San Diego, the eighth-most populous city in the United States. It is the south-westernmost county in the 48 contiguous United States.
San Diego County comprises the San Diego-Carlsbad Metropolitan Statistical Area. The San Diego-Carlsbad, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area is the 17th most populous metropolitan statistical area and the 18th most populous primary statistical area of the United States as of July 1, 2012. San Diego is also part of the San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area shared between the United States and Mexico. Greater San Diego ranks as the 38th largest metropolitan area in the Americas.
San Diego County has 70 miles (110 km) of coastline. Most of the county has a mild Mediterranean climate to semiarid climate, though there are mountains that receive frost and snow in the wintertime.
There are also 16 naval and military installations of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Coast Guard in San Diego County. These include the Naval Base San Diego, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, and Naval Air Station North Island.
From north to south, San Diego County extends from the southern borders of Orange County and Riverside County to the Mexico–United States border and Baja California. From west to east, San Diego County stretches from the Pacific Ocean to its boundary with Imperial County.
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The area which is now San Diego County has been inhabited for more than 10,000 years by Kumeyaay (also called Diegueño), Luiseño, Cupeño and Cahuilla Indians.
In 1542, the Portuguese-born explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, sailing for Spain, claimed San Diego Bay for the Spanish Empire, and he named the site San Miguel. In November 1602, Sebastián Vizcaíno surveyed the harbor and what are now Mission Bay and Point Loma and named the area for Saint Didacus, a Spaniard more commonly known as San Diego. European settlement in what is now San Diego County began with the founding of the San Diego Presidio and Mission San Diego de Alcalá by Spanish soldiers and clerics in 1769. This county was part of Alta California under the Viceroyalty of New Spain until the Mexican declaration of independence. From 1821 through 1848 this area was part of Mexico.
San Diego County became part of the United States as a result of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, ending the U.S.-Mexican War. This treaty designated the new border as terminating at a point on the Pacific Ocean coast which would result in the border passing one Spanish league south of the southernmost portion of San Diego Bay, thus ensuring that the United States received all of this natural harbor.
San Diego County was one of the original counties of California, and it was created at the time of California statehood in 1850.
At the time of its establishment in 1850, San Diego County was relatively large, and included all of southernmost California which was south and east of Los Angeles County. As such it included areas of what are now Inyo County and San Bernardino County, as well as all of what is now Riverside County and Imperial County.
During the later part of the 19th century, there were numerous changes in the boundaries of San Diego County, when various areas became separated for the counties mentioned above. The most recent changes were the establishments of Riverside County in 1893 and Imperial County in 1907. Imperial County was also the last county to be established in California, and after this division, San Diego no longer extended from the Pacific Ocean to the Colorado River, and it no longer covered the entire border between California and Mexico.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has an area of 4,526 square miles (11,720 km2), of which 4,207 square miles (10,900 km2) is land and 319 square miles (830 km2) (7.0%) is water. The county is larger in area than the combined states of Rhode Island and Delaware.
San Diego County has a varied topography. On its western side is 70 miles (110 km) of coastline. Most of San Diego between the coast and the Laguna Mountains consists of hills, mesas, and small canyons. Snow-capped (in winter) mountains rise to the northeast, with the Sonoran Desert to the far east. Cleveland National Forest is spread across the central portion of the county, while the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park occupies most of the northeast.
Although the county's western third is primarily urban, the mountains and deserts in the eastern two-thirds are primarily of undeveloped backcountry. Most of these backcountry areas are home to a native plant community known as chaparral. San Diego County contains more than a million acres (4,000 km²) of chaparral, twice as much as any other California county.
North San Diego County is known as North County; the exact geographic definitions of "North County" vary, but it includes the northern suburbs and sometimes certain northern neighborhoods of the City of San Diego.
The eastern suburbs are collectively known as East County, though most still lie in the western third of the county. The southern suburbs and southern detached portion of the city of San Diego, extending to the Mexican border, are collectively referred to as South Bay.
Periodically the area has been subject to wildfires that force thousands to evacuate. The most recent are the May 2014 San Diego County wildfires; before them was the Witch Creek Fire in 2007 and the Cedar Fire in 2003. California defines a fire season in which fires are most likely to occur, usually between late July and late October (which are the driest months of the area). Signs posted in numerous spots of the county provide information on the level of threats from fires based on weather conditions.
Under the Köppen climate classification system, the San Diego area straddles areas of Mediterranean climate (CSa) to the north and semi-arid climate (BSh) to the south and east. As a result, it is often described as "arid Mediterranean" and "semi-arid steppe". San Diego's climate is characterized by warm, dry summers and mild winters with most of the annual precipitation falling between November and March. The city has mild, mostly dry weather, with an average of 201 days above 70 °F (21 °C) and low rainfall (9–13 inches (23–33 cm) annually). Summer temperatures are generally warm, with average highs of 70–78 °F (21–26 °C) and lows of 55–66 °F (13–19 °C). Temperatures exceed 90 °F (32 °C) only four days a year. Most rainfall occurs from November to April. Winter temperatures are mild, with average high temperatures of 66–70 °F (19–21 °C) and lows of 50–56 °F (10–13 °C).
The climate in the San Diego area, like much of California, often varies significantly over short geographical distances resulting in microclimates. In San Diego's case this is mainly due to the city's topography (the Bay, and the numerous hills, mountains, and canyons). Frequently, particularly during the "May gray/June gloom" period, a thick marine layer will keep the air cool and damp within a few miles of the coast, but will yield to bright cloudless sunshine approximately 5–10 miles (8.0–16.1 km) inland. This happens every year in May and June. Even in the absence of June gloom, inland areas tend to experience much more significant temperature variations than coastal areas, where the ocean serves as a moderating influence. Thus, for example, downtown San Diego averages January lows of 50 °F (10 °C) and August highs of 78 °F (26 °C). The city of El Cajon, just 10 miles (16 km) northeast of downtown San Diego, averages January lows of 42 °F (6 °C) and August highs of 88 °F (31 °C).
Rainfall along the coast averages about 10 inches (25 cm) of precipitation annually, which occurs mainly during the cooler months of December through April. Though there are few wet days per month during the rainy period, rainfall can be heavy when it does occur. However, the rainfall is greater in the higher elevations of San Diego. Some of the higher areas of San Diego can receive 11–13 inches (28–33 cm) of rain a year.
|Climate data for San Diego Int'l Airport (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1874–present)|
|Record high °F (°C)||88
|Average high °F (°C)||65.1
|Average low °F (°C)||49.0
|Record low °F (°C)||25
|Rainfall inches (mm)||1.98
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.01 in)||6.7||7.1||6.5||4.0||1.4||0.8||0.7||0.4||1.2||2.8||4.1||5.8||41.5|
|Source: NOAA (sun and relative humidity 1961–1990)|
Adjacent counties and municipalities
National protected areas
- Cabrillo National Monument
- Cleveland National Forest (part)
- San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which includes
There are 7 official wilderness areas in San Diego County that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Four of these are integral parts of Cleveland National Forest, whereas three are managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Some of these extend into neighboring counties (as indicated below):
- Otay Mountain Wilderness (BLM)
- Pine Creek Wilderness (Cleveland National Forest)
- Hauser Wilderness (Cleveland National Forest)
- Carrizo Gorge Wilderness (BLM)
- Sawtooth Mountains Wilderness (BLM)
- Agua Tibia Wilderness (Cleveland National Forest) partly in Riverside County
- San Mateo Canyon Wilderness (Cleveland National Forest) mostly in Riverside County
State parks and protected areas
- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (part)
- Torrey Pines State Reserve
- Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
- Palomar Mountain State Park
- San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park
- Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
- Border Field State Park
- Tijuana River Natural Estuarine Research Reserve
- San Onofre State Beach
- Moonlight State Beach
- Carlsbad State Beach
- South Carlsbad State Beach
- Leucadia State Beach
- San Elijo State Beach
- Cardiff State Beach
- Torrey Pines State Beach
- Silver Strand State Beach
There are 236 mountain summits and peaks in San Diego County including:
Bays and lagoons
- Lake Cuyamaca
- Lake Hodges
- Santee Lakes
- Sweetwater Reservoir
- Otay Lakes
- Lake Wohlford
- El Capitan Reservoir
- Sutherland Reservoir
- Lake Henshaw
- Lake Murray
- San Vicente Reservoir
- Lake Jennings
- Barrett Reservoir
- Natural Rock Tanks
- Little Laguna Lake
- Big Laguna Lake
- Big Lake
- Twin Lakes
- Jean, Lake
- Lost Lake
- Swan Lake
- Lake Miramar
- Lake Poway
- Dixon Lake
- San Diego River
- San Luis Rey River
- San Dieguito River
- Sweetwater River (California)
- Otay River
- Tijuana River
- Santa Margarita River
Half of the county's population lives in San Diego and Chula Vista. In 2000, only about 3% of San Diego County residents left the county for work while 40,000 people commuted into the metropolitan area.
|Population, race, and income (2011)|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||967,858||31.6%|
|Black or African American||154,076||5.0%|
|American Indian or Alaska Native||20,597||0.7%|
|Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander||14,266||0.5%|
|Some other race||220,000||7.2%|
|Two or more races||135,992||4.4%|
|Per capita income||$30,955|
|Median household income||$63,857|
|Median family income||$74,633|
|U.S. Decennial Census
As of 2009 Census Bureau estimates, there were 3,053,793 people, 1,067,846 households, and 663,449 families residing in the county. The population density was 670 people per square mile (259/km²). There were 1,142,245 housing units at an average density of 248 per square mile (96/km²).
In 2000 there were 994,677 households out of which 33.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.7% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.3% were non-families. 24.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.29.
As of 2000, in the county the population was spread out with 25.7% under the age of 18, 11.30% from 18 to 24, 32.0% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 101.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.7 males.
According to the 2000 Census, the median income for a household in the county was $47,067, and the median income for a family was $53,438. Males had a median income of $36,952 versus $30,356 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,926. About 8.9% of families and 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.5% of those under age 18 and 6.8% of those age 65 or over.
Much of the county's high-income residents are concentrated in the northern part of the city of San Diego. The San Diego metropolitan area has two places with both a population of over 50,000 and a per capita income of over $40,000: Carlsbad and Encinitas.
The county's largest continuous high-income urban area is a triangle from a first point on the northern edge of Carlsbad, a second point southeast of Escondido, and a third point on the southern edge of La Jolla. It contains all or most of the cities of Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar, and Poway in addition to a substantial portion of northern San Diego.
San Diego is the headquarters of the U.S. Navy's Eleventh Naval District and is the Navy's principal location for West Coast and Pacific Ocean operations. Naval Base San Diego, California is principal home to the Pacific Fleet (although the headquarters is located in Pearl Harbor). NAS North Island is located on the north side of Coronado, and is home to Headquarters for Naval Air Forces and Naval Air Force Pacific, the bulk of the Pacific Fleet's helicopter squadrons, and part of the West Coast aircraft carrier fleet.
The Naval Special Warfare Center is the primary training center for SEALs, and is also located on Coronado. The area contains five major naval bases and the U.S. Marines base Camp Pendleton. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is the major West Coast base of the United States Marine Corps and serves as its prime amphibious training base. It is located on the Southern California coast, bordered by Oceanside to the south, San Clemente to the north, and Fallbrook to the east.
- Naval Base San Diego, also known as 32nd Street Naval Station
- Naval Amphibious Base Coronado
- Naval Air Station North Island
- Naval Base Point Loma, which includes the Submarine Base and the Fleet Antisubmarine Warfare Training Center
- Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR)
- Naval Medical Center San Diego, also known as Bob Wilson Naval Hospital and Balboa Naval Hospital
U.S. Marine Corps
- Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
- Marine Corps Air Station Miramar
- Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego
U.S. Coast Guard
- Coast Guard Air Station San Diego
- See also: Culture of San Diego
The culture of San Diego is influenced heavily by American and Mexican cultures due to its position as a border town, its large Hispanic population, and its history as part of Spanish America and Mexico. The area's longtime association with the U.S. military also contributes to its culture. Present-day culture includes many historical and tourist attractions, a thriving musical and theatrical scene, numerous notable special events, a varied cuisine, and a reputation as one of America's premier centers of craft brewing.
- See also: Sports in San Diego
The most popular sports team in the San Diego metropolitan area is a major professional sports teams — the MLB's Padres — and the college sports teams of the San Diego State Aztecs. The following table shows all sports teams in the San Diego metropolitan area that average over 8,000 fans per game:
|San Diego State Aztecs||Football||1921||NCAA D1 (Mtn West)||Qualcomm Stadium (71,000)||32,406|
|San Diego Padres||Baseball||1969||Major League Baseball||Petco Park (41,200)||27,103|
|San Diego State Aztecs||Basketball||1921||NCAA D1 (Mtn West)||Viejas Arena (12,400)||12,414|
|San Diego Gulls||Ice hockey||2015||AHL (Pacific)||Valley View Casino Center (12,920)||8,675|
|San Diego Breakers||Rugby||2016||PRO Rugby||Torero Stadium (6,000)||—|
Sites of interest
- Mount Laguna Observatory, owned and primarily operated by San Diego State University
- Palomar Observatory, owned and primarily operated by the California Institute of Technology
- The Ramona Valley wine-producing region, located 28 miles (45 km) northeast of the City of San Diego
- San Diego Zoo Safari Park, formerly known as the San Diego Wild Animal Park, 35 miles (56 km) north of the San Diego Zoo and east of Escondido
- Sea World of San Diego, on Mission Bay.
- Mission Bay Recreation Area, including Fiesta Island, a sheltered bay popular for water sports, also known for the annual Over the line tournament.
- Mission San Diego de Alcala, the first of California's 21 Spanish missions. It is an operating Roman Catholic parish and also is open for historical interest tours during the week. It is located near the interchange of Interstates 8 and 15.
- Mission San Luis Rey, founded on June 13, 1798 by Padre Fermín Lasuén. It is the 18th of the Spanish missions established in California. It is an operating Roman Catholic parish and is open every day for historical interest tours. It is located near Route 76 in the Oceanside area.
- Balboa Park, with numerous museums and other cultural locations, located just north of Downtown San Diego.
- San Diego Zoo, located in Balboa Park
- Presidio Park, located on a bluff directly above Old Town, a city historic park on the site of the San Diego Presidio, the first European settlement in California.
- San Diego Bay contains the aircraft carrier USS Midway now used as a memorial ship and as a floating museum, and the eight floating museum ships of the San Diego Maritime Museum. Harbor cruises, sailing, and sport fishing are also available.
- LEGOLAND California Resort is a "LEGO" themed resort in Carlsbad.
- Alta Vista Gardens is a Botanical Garden in Vista, California dedicated to bringing together 'People, Nature & Art'.
Border crossings to Mexico
- San Ysidro Border Crossing
- Otay Mesa Border Crossing
- Tecate Border Crossing
- AMTRAK (Pacific Surfliner)
- The Coaster
- San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway
- San Diego and Imperial Valley Railroad
Light rail and local transit
The Port of San Diego
- Embarcadero (San Diego)
- Lindbergh Field (San Diego International Airport) (SAN)
- Montgomery Field, (MYF)
- McClellan-Palomar Airport, (CLD or CRQ) a.k.a. Palomar Airport or Carlsbad Airport
- Gillespie Field, (SEE) in El Cajon
- Agua Caliente Airport
- Borrego Valley Airport
- Fallbrook Airport
- Oceanside Municipal Airport
- Ocotillo Airport
- Ramona Airport, (RNM)
- Brown Field Municipal Airport, (SDM) (formerly East Field, NAAS Otay Mesa, and NAAS Brown Field)
- Borrego Springs
- Camp Pendleton North
- Camp Pendleton South
- Casa de Oro-Mount Helix
- Eucalyptus Hills
- Fairbanks Ranch
- Granite Hills
- Harbison Canyon
- Hidden Meadows
- Jacumba Hot Springs
- Lake San Marcos
- La Presa
- Mount Laguna
- Pine Valley
- Rancho San Diego
- Rancho Santa Fe
- San Diego Country Estates
- Spring Valley
- Valley Center
- Winter Gardens
- 4S Ranch
- Barrett Junction
- Blossom Valley
- Del Dios
- De Luz
- Elfin Forest
- Flinn Springs
- Four Corners
- Harmony Grove
- Lincoln Acres
- Live Oak Springs
- Oak Grove
- Ocotillo Wells
- Pauma Valley
- Pine Hills
- San Luis Rey
- Santa Ysabel
- Shelter Valley
- Tierra del Sol
- Warner Springs
- Whispering Pines
San Diego County has 18 federally recognized Indian reservations, more than any other county in the United States. Although they are typical in size to other Indian reservations in California (many of which are termed "Rancherías"), they are relatively tiny by national standards, and all together total 200.2 square miles (518.5 km²) of area.
- Barona Indian Reservation
- Campo Indian Reservation
- Capitan Grande Reservation
- Ewiiaapaayp Indian Reservation
- Inaja and Cosmit Indian Reservation
- Jamul Indian Village
- La Jolla Indian Reservation
- La Posta Indian Reservation
- Los Coyotes Indian Reservation
- Manzanita Indian Reservation
- Mesa Grande Indian Reservation
- Pala Indian Reservation
- Pauma and Yuima Indian Reservation
- Rincon Indian Reservation
- San Pasqual Indian Reservation
- Santa Ysabel Indian Reservation
- Sycuan Indian Reservation
- Viejas Indian Reservation
The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of San Diego County.
† county seat
|Rank||City/Town/etc.||Municipal type||Population (2010 Census)|
|1||† San Diego||City||1,307,402|
|19||Rancho San Diego||CDP||21,208|
|24||Casa de Oro-Mount Helix||CDP||18,762|
|29||Camp Pendleton South||CDP||10,616|
|30||San Diego Country Estates||CDP||10,109|
|34||Camp Pendleton North||CDP||5,200|
|35||Lake San Marcos||CDP||4,437|
|42||Rancho Santa Fe||CDP||3,117|
|50||Pala Indian Reservation||AIAN||1,315|
|52||San Pasqual Reservation||AIAN||1,097|
|55||Jucumba Hot Springs||CDP||561|
|57||La Jolla Reservation||AIAN||476|
|58||Campo Indian Reservation||AIAN||362|
|59||Santa Ysabel Reservation||AIAN||330|
|62||Pauma and Yuima Reservation||AIAN||206|
|t-63||Los Coyotes Reservation||AIAN||98|
|t-63||Mesa Grande Reservation||AIAN||98|
|66||La Posta Indian Reservation||AIAN||55|
Images for kids
Beach at Border State Park; San Diego is on the right while Tijuana is on the left.
San Diego County, California Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.