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San Diego County
County of San Diego
Mission San Diego de Alcalá - church.jpg
Torrey Pines State Park Valley.jpg
Bolder field, jacumba.....jpg
Flag of San Diego County
Official seal of San Diego County
Location in the state of California
Location in the state of California
Country United States
State California
Formed February 18, 1850
Named for San Diego de Alcalá
County seat San Diego
Largest city San Diego
 • Type Council–manager
 • Body Board of Supervisors
 • Total 4,260.9 sq mi (11,036 km2)
 • Land 3,942 sq mi (10,210 km2)
 • Water 319 sq mi (830 km2)
Highest elevation
6,536 ft (1,992 m)
 • Total 3,298,634
 • Density 837/sq mi (323/km2)
Time zone UTC– 08:00 (Pacific Time Zone)
 • Summer (DST) UTC– 07:00 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Area codes 442/760, 619/858, and 949
FIPS code 06-073
GDP $219 billion
GDP per capita $65,602

San Diego County, officially the County of San Diego, is a county in the southwestern corner of the state of California, in the United States. As of the 2020 census, the population was 3,298,634, making it California's second-most populous county and the fifth-most populous in the United States. Its county seat is San Diego, the second-most populous city in California and the eighth-most populous city in the United States. It is the southwesternmost county in the 48 contiguous United States, and is a border county. It is also home to 18 Native American tribal reservations, the most of any county in the United States.

San Diego County comprises the San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which 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 County is also part of the San Diego–Tijuana transborder metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area shared between the United States and Mexico.

San Diego County has more than 70 miles (113 km) of coastline. This forms the most densely populated region of the county, which has a mild Mediterranean to semiarid climate and extensive chaparral vegetation, similar to the rest of the western portion of southern California. Precipitation and temperature extremes increase to the east, with mountains that receive frost and snow in the winter. These lushly forested mountains receive more rainfall than average in southern California, while the desert region of the county lies in a rain shadow to the east, which extends into the Desert Southwest region of North America.

There are 16 military installations, of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Coast Guard in San Diego County. These include Naval Base San Diego, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Naval Air Station North Island, and Coast Guard Air Station San Diego.

From north to south, San Diego County extends from the southern borders of Orange and Riverside Counties to the Mexico-U.S. border and the Baja California municipalities of Tijuana and Tecate. From west to east, San Diego County stretches from the Pacific Ocean to its boundary with Imperial County, which separated from it in 1907. Since 2010, statewide droughts in California have further strained San Diego County's water security.


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.


San Diego-Tijuana JPLLandsat
Many of the cities seen from the sky as part of the San Diego-Tijuana metropolitan area.

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.

Adjacent counties and municipalities

Counties adjacent to San Diego County, California
4.3LasPlayasSunset1 copy 1
Beach at Border State Park; San Diego is on the right while Tijuana is on the left.
Border Mexico USA
Border fence between Tijuana (right) and San Diego's border patrol offices (left)

National protected areas

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


There are 236 mountain summits and peaks in San Diego County including:

Bays and lagoons




Since at least 2014, San Diego County is the fifth most populous county in the United States. In 2000, only about 3% of San Diego County residents left the county for work while 40,000 people commuted into the metropolitan area.

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 798
1860 4,324 441.9%
1870 4,951 14.5%
1880 8,018 61.9%
1890 34,987 336.4%
1900 35,090 0.3%
1910 61,665 75.7%
1920 112,248 82.0%
1930 209,659 86.8%
1940 289,348 38.0%
1950 556,808 92.4%
1960 1,033,011 85.5%
1970 1,357,854 31.4%
1980 1,861,846 37.1%
1990 2,498,016 34.2%
2000 2,813,833 12.6%
2010 3,095,313 10.0%
2020 3,298,634 6.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010 2020

2020 census

San Diego County, California – Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 1,500,047 1,422,205 48.46% 43.11%
Black or African American alone (NH) 146,600 145,014 4.74% 4.40%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 14,098 12,841 0.46% 0.39%
Asian alone (NH) 328,058 400,589 10.60% 12.14%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 13,504 12,991 0.44% 0.39%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 6,715 18,125 0.22% 0.55%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 94,943 167,240 3.07% 5.07%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 991,348 1,119,629 32.03% 33.94%
Total 3,095,313 3,298,634 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.

Racial and Ethnic Composition since 1960

Racial composition 2020 2010 2000 1990 1980 1970 1960
White (non-Hispanic) 43.1% 48.5% 55.0% 65.3% 73.8%
Hispanic or Latino 33.9% 32.0% 26.7% 20.4% 14.7% 12.8%
Asian (non-Hispanic) 12.1% 10.6% 8.8% 7.9% 1.1%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 4.4% 4.7% 5.7% 6.3% 5.6% 4.5% 3.8%
Native American (non-Hispanic) 0.4% 0.5% 0.8% 0.8% 0.3%
Pacific Islander (non-Hispanic) 0.4% 0.4% 0.5%
Mixed Race (non-Hispanic) 5.1% 3.1% 4.7%
Population, race, and income (2011)
Total population 3,060,849
  White 2,182,604 71.3%
 Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 967,858 31.6%
  Asian 333,314 10.9%
  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
Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 798
1860 4,324 441.9%
1870 4,951 14.5%
1880 8,018 61.9%
1890 34,987 336.4%
1900 35,090 0.3%
1910 61,665 75.7%
1920 112,248 82.0%
1930 209,659 86.8%
1940 289,348 38.0%
1950 556,808 92.4%
1960 1,033,011 85.5%
1970 1,357,854 31.4%
1980 1,861,846 37.1%
1990 2,498,016 34.2%
2000 2,813,833 12.6%
2010 3,095,313 10.0%
2020 3,298,634 6.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2018 2020 census


The 2010 United States Census reported that San Diego County had a population of 3,095,313. The racial makeup of San Diego County was 1,981,442 (64.0%) White, 158,213 (5.1%) African American, 26,340 (0.9%) Native American, 336,091 (10.9%) Asian (4.7% Filipino, 1.6% Vietnamese, 1.4% Chinese, 3.2% Other Asian), 15,337 (0.5%) Pacific Islander, 419,465 (13.6%) from other races, and 158,425 (5.0%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 991,348 people (32.0%). Including those of mixed race, the total number of residents with Asian ancestry was 407,984.

As of 2009, the racial makeup of the county was 79.4% White American, 5.6% Black or African American, 1% Native American, 10.4% Asian, 0.5% Pacific Islander, 10.3% from other races, and 3.6% from two or more races. 31.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

67.0% spoke only English at home; 21.9% spoke Spanish, 3.1% Tagalog and 1.2% Vietnamese.

Other demographics

As of 2018 Census Bureau estimates, there were 3,343,364 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.

In 2012, it was estimated that there were 198,000 unauthorized immigrants; the origin of the plurality of them is Mexico.

In 2018, the median household income was $70,824; most people spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs. In August of that year, the median home price was $583,000; this is lower than the median home price in Los Angeles, and Orange counties.


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.


According to a Point-In-Time count taken for the San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless, there were 8,576 homeless individuals on January 6, 2018, a 6% decrease from 2017. 3,586 were sheltered, and 4,990 were not. 4,912 (75.3%) were in the City of San Diego. North County Inland had 1,153 (13.4%), North County Coastal with 822 homeless (9.6%), 602 (7%) were found in South County, and 1,087 (12.7%) in East County.


According to the Pew Research Center as of 2014, 68% of adults in the county are Christian, of whom 32% are Catholic. 27% were unaffiliated, and 5% adhered to a Non-Christian faith. According to the University of Southern California, in 2010, the largest faith in the county was Catholicism, followed by Nondenominational Christians, and Mormons.

In 2014, the county had 978 religious organizations, the seventh most out of all US counties.

Immigration Data

In 2014 according to Pew Research Center, there are about 170,000 illegal aliens living in the region. In 2018, the United States Border Patrol caught an average of over a hundred individuals crossing the border illegally each day.


USS Decatur (DDG-73)
USS Decatur (DDG-73)

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.

U.S. Navy

  • 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

U.S. Coast Guard

  • Coast Guard Air Station 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.


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:

Club Sport Since League Venue (capacity) Attendance
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


Major highways

  • I-5 (CA).svg Interstate 5
  • I-8 (CA).svg Interstate 8
  • I-15 (CA).svg Interstate 15
  • I-805 (CA).svg Interstate 805
  • California 11.svg State Route 11
  • California 15.svg State Route 15
  • California 52.svg State Route 52
  • California 54.svg State Route 54
  • California 56.svg State Route 56
  • California 67.svg State Route 67
  • California 75.svg State Route 75
  • California 76.svg State Route 76
  • California 78.svg State Route 78
  • California 79.svg State Route 79
  • California 94.svg State Route 94
  • California 125.svg State Route 125
  • California 163.svg State Route 163
  • California 188.svg State Route 188
  • California 282.svg State Route 282
  • California 905.svg State Route 905

Border crossings to Mexico

  • San Ysidro Port of Entry
  • Otay Mesa Port of Entry
  • Otay Mesa East Port of Entry (projected opening 2024)
  • Tecate Port of Entry


Light rail and local transit

The Port of San Diego

  • Embarcadero (San Diego)


City of San Diego

  • San Diego International Airport (SAN) a.k.a. Lindbergh Field
  • Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport (MYF)
  • Brown Field Municipal Airport (SDM) (formerly East Field, NAAS Otay Mesa, and NAAS Brown Field)


  • McClellan-Palomar Airport (CRQ) a.k.a. Palomar Airport or Carlsbad Airport

El Cajon


Unincorporated San Diego County

  • Agua Caliente Airport (L54)
  • Borrego Valley Airport (L08)
  • Fallbrook Community Airpark (L18)
  • Jacumba Airport (L78)
  • Ocotillo Airport (L90)
  • Ramona Airport (RNM)


North County San Diego
North County communities. Coastal cities are in dark blue, unincorporated coastal communities are in light blue. Inland cities are in dark yellow, unincorporated inland communities are in light yellow. Parts of northern San Diego are sometimes considered part of North County, as are much of the white areas north of the city.
East County San Diego
East County communities in red. In dark red are the cities and towns of Santee and El Cajon which mark the western edge of East County. Unincorporated communities are in light red, including Lakeside and Alpine.
South Bay Communities San Diego
South Bay communities of San Diego County. The cities and towns of National City, Chula Vista, and Imperial Beach are in dark orange. The unincorporated community of Bonita is in light orange. San Ysidro and Otay Mesa, neighborhoods of the city of San Diego, are in pink.


Largest cities, 2010 Census
City Population
San Diego
Chula Vista
El Cajon
San Marcos
National City
La Mesa

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Indian reservations

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.

Population ranking

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
2 Chula Vista City 243,916
3 Oceanside City 167,086
4 Escondido City 143,911
5 Carlsbad City 105,328
6 El Cajon City 99,478
7 Vista City 93,834
8 San Marcos City 83,781
9 Encinitas City 59,518
10 National City City 58,582
11 La Mesa City 57,065
12 Santee City 53,413
13 Poway City 47,811
14 La Presa CDP 34,169
15 Fallbrook CDP 30,534
16 Spring Valley CDP 28,205
17 Imperial Beach City 26,324
18 Lemon Grove City 25,320
19 Rancho San Diego CDP 21,208
20 Lakeside CDP 20,648
21 Winter Gardens CDP 20,631
22 Ramona CDP 20,292
23 Coronado City 18,912
24 Casa de Oro-Mount Helix CDP 18,762
25 Bostonia CDP 15,379
26 Alpine CDP 14,236
27 Solana Beach City 12,867
28 Bonita CDP 12,538
29 Camp Pendleton South CDP 10,616
30 San Diego Country Estates CDP 10,109
31 Valley Center CDP 9,277
32 Jamul CDP 6,163
33 Eucalyptus Hills CDP 5,313
34 Camp Pendleton North CDP 5,200
35 Lake San Marcos CDP 4,437
36 Del Mar City 4,161
37 Bonsall CDP 3,982
38 Harbison Canyon CDP 3,841
39 Hidden Meadows CDP 3,485
40 Borrego Springs CDP 3,429
41 Fairbanks Ranch CDP 3,148
42 Rancho Santa Fe CDP 3,117
43 Granite Hills CDP 3,035
44 Campo CDP 2,684
45 Crest CDP 2,593
46 Rainbow CDP 1,832
47 Pine Valley CDP 1,510
48 Julian CDP 1,502
49 Descanso CDP 1,423
50 Pala Indian Reservation AIAN 1,315
51 Rincon Reservation AIAN 1,215
52 San Pasqual Reservation AIAN 1,097
53 Potrero CDP 656
54 Barona Reservation AIAN 640
55 Jucumba Hot Springs CDP 561
56 Viejas Reservation AIAN 520
57 La Jolla Reservation AIAN 476
58 Campo Indian Reservation AIAN 362
59 Santa Ysabel Reservation AIAN 330
60 Boulevard CDP 315
61 Sycuan Reservation AIAN 211
62 Pauma and Yuima Reservation AIAN 206
t-63 Los Coyotes Reservation AIAN 98
t-63 Mesa Grande Reservation AIAN 98
64 Manzanita Reservation AIAN 78
65 Mount Laguna CDP 57
66 La Posta Indian Reservation AIAN 55


San Diego County and Imperial County are part of the Southern Border Region, one of nine such regions. As a regional economy, the Southern Border Region is the smallest but most economically diverse region in the state. However, the two counties maintain weak relations and have little in common aside from their common border. The region has a high cost of living. This includes the highest cost of water in the United States. As of 2018, San Diego County is within the top ten highest cost of rent in the United States; this has led to people moving out of the county.


San Diego County's agriculture industry was worth $1.85 billion in 2013, and is one of the top five egg producing counties in the United States. In 2013, San Diego County also had the most small farms of any county in the United States, and had the 19th largest agricultural economy of any county in the United States. According to the San Diego Farm Bureau, San Diego County is the United States' leading producer of avocados and nursery crops. Until the early 20th century, San Diego County had a thriving wine industry; however the 1916 Charles Hatfield flood was the beginning of the end of the industry which included the destruction of the Daneri winery in Otay Valley. As of October 2016, there are roughly one hundred vineyards and wineries in San Diego County.


The county has been called "the Craft Beer Capital of America". Brewing has been one of the fastest-growing business sectors with local breweries ranking among the 50 largest craft brewers in the United States and breweries that are consistently rated among the top breweries in the world.


Horton Plaza
Horton Plaza, before its demolition in 2020

Tourism plays a large part in the economics of the San Diego metropolitan area. Tourists are drawn to the region for a well rounded experience, everything from shopping to surfing as well as its mild climate. Its numerous tourist destinations include Westfield UTC, Seaport Village, Westfield Mission Valley and Fashion Valley Mall for shopping. SeaWorld San Diego and Legoland California as amusement parks. Golf courses such as Torrey Pines Golf Course and Balboa Park Golf Course. Museums such as the San Diego Museum of Man, San Diego Museum of Art, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, San Diego Natural History Museum, USS Midway Museum, and the San Diego Air and Space Museum. Historical places such as the Gaslamp Quarter, Balboa Park and Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Wildlife refuges, zoos, and aquariums such as the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, San Diego Zoo's Safari Park, San Diego Zoo and San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park. Outdoor destinations include the Peninsular Ranges for hiking, biking, mountainboarding and trail riding. Surfing locations include Swami's, Stone Steps Beach, Torrey Pines State Beach, Cardiff State Beach, San Onofre State Beach and the southern portion of Black's Beach.

The region is host to the second largest cruise ship industry in California which generates an estimated $2 million annually from purchases of food, fuel, supplies, and maintenance services. In 2008 the Port of San Diego hosted 252 ship calls and more than 800,000 passengers.


The most popular sports team in the San Diego metropolitan area is Major League Baseball (MLB)'s San Diego Padres. The college sports teams of the San Diego State Aztecs are also locally popular.

Major professional team

Club Sport Since League Venue (capacity)
San Diego Padres Baseball 1969 Major League Baseball (MLB) Petco Park (40,209)

Other highest-level professional teams

Club Sport Since League Venue (capacity) Titles
San Diego Wave FC Soccer (women's) 2022 National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) Torero Stadium (6,000)
San Diego Seals Lacrosse 2017 National Lacrosse League (NLL) Pechanga Arena (12,920)
San Diego Legion Rugby union 2018 Major League Rugby (MLR) SDSU Sports Deck (3,000)
San Diego Sockers Indoor soccer 1978 Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) Pechanga Arena (12,000) 15
San Diego Strike Force Indoor football 2019 Indoor Football League (IFL) Pechanga Arena (12,000)
San Diego Aviators Tennis 2014 World TeamTennis (WTT) Omni La Costa Court (2,100) 1 (2016)
San Diego Growlers Ultimate 2015 American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) varies
San Diego Lions Australian football 1997 United States Australian Football League (USAFL) varies 2 (2001, 2006)
San Diego Yacht Club Sailing 1886 America's Cup varies 3 (1987, 1988, 1992)
San Diego Swell Rugby league TBD North American Rugby League (NARL) TBD

Minor league professional teams

Club Sport Since League Venue (capacity) Competition


San Diego Gulls Ice hockey 1966 American Hockey League (AHL) Pechanga Arena (12,920) 2
San Diego Loyal SC Soccer 2020 USL Championship (USLC) Torero Stadium (6,000) 2
Albion SC San Diego Soccer 2019 National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) varies 3

College teams

The San Diego State Aztecs (MW), the San Diego Toreros (WCC), and the UC San Diego Tritons (BWC) are NCAA Division I teams. The Cal State San Marcos Cougars (CCAA) and Point Loma Nazarene Sea Lions (PacWest) are members of NCAA Division II, while the San Diego Christian Hawks (GSAC) and Saint Katherine Firebirds (CalPac) are a member of the NAIA.

Club University Enrollment League Primary conference
San Diego State Aztecs San Diego State University 34,828 NCAA Division I (FBS) Mountain West Conference
San Diego Toreros University of San Diego 8,328 NCAA Division I (FCS) West Coast Conference
UC San Diego Tritons University of California, San Diego 38,798 NCAA Division I Big West Conference
Cal State San Marcos Cougars California State University San Marcos 13,893 NCAA Division II California Collegiate Athletic Association
Point Loma Nazarene Sea Lions Point Loma Nazarene University 3,480 NCAA Division II Pacific West Conference
San Diego Christian Hawks San Diego Christian College 681 NAIA Golden State Athletic Conference
Saint Katherine Firebirds University of Saint Katherine 300 NAIA California Pacific Conference


San Diego County contains three public state universities: University of California, San Diego; San Diego State University; and California State University, San Marcos. Major private universities in the county include University of San Diego (USD), Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU), Alliant International University (AIU), and National University. It also includes three law schools, USD School of Law, California Western School of Law, and Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

Within the county there are 24 public elementary school districts, 6 high school districts, and 12 unified school districts. There are also 5 community college districts.

There are two separate public library systems in San Diego County: the San Diego Public Library serving the city of San Diego, and the San Diego County Library serving all other areas of the county. In 2010 the county library had 33 branches and two bookmobiles; circulated over 10.7 million books, CDs, DVDs, and other material formats; recorded 5.7 million visits to library branches; and hosted 21,132 free programs and events. The San Diego County Library is one of the 25 busiest libraries in the nation as measured by materials circulated.

Community College Districts

  • Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District
  • MiraCosta Community College District
  • Palomar Community College District
  • San Diego Community College District
  • Southwestern Community College District

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