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Discover San Diego County

San Diego County is the second most populous county in California and the fifth most populous county in the United States. The City of San Diego is the county seat and is the second-most populous city in California, and the eighth-most populous city in the United States (per data from the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau). The county includes 8 major military installations, 18 cities, many communities, and 18 Native American tribal reservations.

Residents enjoy 31 beaches along the Pacific Ocean, 340+ county parks, 13 state parks, major league baseball, museums, one of the largest zoos in the world, tourist attractions, and a wide range of outdoor activities in an idyllic climate. The temperature of the region will vary from 37ºF-90ºF over the course of the year but rarely falls below 29ºF or rises above 98ºF. The county is served by over 30 hospitals and 6 trauma centers. 

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The population of San Diego County, California was 3,298,634 in 2020 according to the United States Census Bureau, and the population estimate for 2021 was 3,286,069.

According to the Census Bureau, some recent statistics for San Diego County include:

  • An approximate growth rate of -0.4% from 2020-2021
  • Approximately 58.1% of the population are aged 18-64 years
  • Approximately 27% of the population is under 18 years


Some recent housing data from the Census Bureau indicates that:

  • There were 1,139,899 households with 2.81 persons per household from 2017 to 2021
  • There were 1,237,638 housing units as of July 1, 2021
  • The owner-occupied housing unit rate from 2017 to 2021 was 54.1%
  • The median gross rent from 2017 to 2021 was $1,842

Income & Employment 

Income Data

The median household income between 2017 and 2021 was $88,240 (in 2021 dollars) and the employment rate was 1,333,731 in 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Top Employers 

For investors looking to purchase multi-family units, apartment buildings, and other commercial properties in San Diego County, knowing the top employers in the area can be invaluable information when it comes to deciding what an ideal property location is.

Currently, the top employers of San Diego County include U.C. San Diego (~35,802 employees), Sharp Healthcare (~19,468 employees), the County of San Diego (~17,954 employees), and the City of San Diego (~11,820 employees). Other top employers (with workforces ranging from 5,063-6,745) include General Atomics and affiliated companies, San Diego State University, Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, San Diego Community College District, YMCA of San Diego County, and Sempra Energy. 


Currently, drivers in San Diego County rely on 4 interstate highways and 16 state highways because cars are the dominant mode of transportation.

Other modes of public transportation include:

  • Public Transit Bus: San Diego County is served by MTS within 570 square miles of the urbanized areas of the county. There are almost 100 fixed bus routes. Transit rates start at $2.50 for a single fare, $1.25 for a reduced fare, $6 for an Adult 1-Day Pass, $3 for a reduced fare Adult 1-Day Pass, $70 for a Regional Adult Month Pass, and $23 for a Regional Reduced Fare Month Pass in 2023, bus and rail.
  • Public Transit Rail (commuter, light rail, and trolley): San Diego County is served by MTS with 62 stations and 65 miles of rail. Transit rates are listed above.
  • Commercial Airport: San Diego International Airport is the major commercial airport. Total passengers in 2021 were 15.6 million. The county manages 8 airports, airstrips, and an airpark. 

Shopping Centers

The county includes a variety of outdoor shopping areas, neighborhood shopping, boutiques, outlet centers, and major department stores. Popular outdoor shopping malls include Fashion Valley in Mission Valley (1,720,533 square feet of area with shops such as Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Apple, Gucci, and Tiffany & Co.) and Westfield Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego (with Macy’s) and Westfield UTC (with 169 stores including 9 luxury retailers).

Outlet shoppers look for bargains at Carlsbad Premium Outlets in Carlsbad (with over 85 designer and name-brand outlets), Las Americas Premium Outlets located 20 minutes south of downtown San Diego (with 125 stores), and Viejas Outlet Center in Alpine (adjacent to the Viejas Casino).

Medical Centers

The top five hospitals in San Diego County, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report are: 

  • UC San Diego Health-La Jolla and Hillcrest Hospitals (La Jolla, CA)
  • ?Scripps La Jolla Hospitals (La Jolla, CA)
  • Sharp Memorial Hospital (San Diego, CA)
  • Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center (Chula Vista, CA)
  • ?Kaiser Permanente San Diego Zion And San Diego Medical Center (San Diego, CA)

Sports, Entertainment & Recreation 

The MLB San Diego Padres play home games at Petco Park in downtown San Diego. The AHL San Diego Gulls play home games at Pechanga Arena in Midway. The MLR San Diego Legion is a men’s rugby team that was formed in 2017. Home games are played at Snapdragon Stadium (on the campus of San Diego State University in Mission Valley). The WPL San Diego Surfers are a women’s rugby club that was formed in 1975. Home games are played at Robb Athletic Field in Ocean Beach. The club won the WPL championship in 2016 and 2018. 

Residents enjoy a wide variety of outdoor recreational opportunities at over 340 parks and 31 beaches along the Pacific Ocean. There are over 50 skateboarding parks in the county. Red Bull took the time to rank their 9 favorites in 2020. The Alex Road Skatepark in Oceanside is a 22,000-square-foot concrete community park at the top of their list (because it’s an alphabetical list) and admission is free. 

The other Red Bull favorite San Diego skateparks include Encinitas Skate Plaza, Krause Family Skate & Bike Park at the Mission Valley YMCA, Linda Vista Skateboard Park, Memorial Skatepark, Park de la Cruz Skatepark, Rancho Penasquitos Skatepark, Robb Field Skate park, and Washington Street Skatepark. There is an admission price for the YMCA skatepark, the rest are free. 

Amusement parks and attractions include San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, SeaWorld San Diego, and Legoland, Carlsbad. Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre urban cultural park with museums, botanical gardens, and theaters (the San Diego Zoo is also located here).

Learn More About San Diego County with Mark Bridge

Thinking of purchasing multifamily units and investment properties in San Diego County or Southern California? Connect with the Bridge Multifamily Team at Cushman & Wakefield to get started on your multifamily property search today. Reach out to us online or give our office a call at 949-372-4888!