Encompassing 4,200 square miles in the southwestern corner of California, San Diego County is home to over 3.1 million people. It is the second most populous county in California behind Los Angeles County, of which, San Diego is the county seat. Formed in 1850, San Diego County is an intricate mix of the historical and modern.
San Diego County is home to major businesses, international trade, technology, culture, higher-education, military, sports, and major tourist attractions. Two of California’s 53 Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in San Diego County, with more on CNN Money’s Fastest Growing Companies list. With a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of more than $185 billion, San Diego County ranks 16th in California.
More than 80 academic and applied research institutions are located in San Diego County. The region has one of the most highly educated workforces in the world. Thirty-five percent of residents aged 25+ hold a 4-year bachelor’s degree or higher. Additionally, San Diego County has a homeownership rate of nearly 60%, on par with the California average. San Diego County is a lively and affluent region that enjoys a high quality of life. The median age of San Diego residents is 35, earning a median household income of $75,900.
World-renowned attractions such as Sea World, San Diego Zoo, Legoland, Gaslamp Quarter, and Old Town San Diego draw more than 31 million visitors annually. Visitors spend nearly $7.5 billion annually, yielding an economic impact of $17.1 billion for the region. Additionally, the 76-mile coastline along San Diego County boasts of the most scenic beaches in the world.
With breakthrough technology companies and research organizations, the largest military concentration in the world, and a strong tourism industry, the San Diego region has one of the most diverse, dynamic economies in the country. San Diego County has an overall office market base of more than 74 million square feet with consecutive quarters of positive net absorption. The region consistently transacts more than 2 million square feet of leasing activity quarterly, with vacancy levels below California averages. Over 170 companies are headquartered in San Diego County with strong bases in the manufacturing, defense, technology, biochemistry, medical, and creative sectors.
San Diego County is home to major retail centers, including The Village of La Jolla, Old Town, Cedros Design District in Solano Beach, Little Italy on the border of Downtown, Hillcrest in Uptown, the Gaslamp District, and Orange Avenue in Coronado. Favorable climates, ideal geography, and a strong spending core have long characterized the retail landscape in San Diego County.
The 195 million square feet industrial market base in San Diego County is one of the most robust in the country. The region is dominated by manufacturing, particularly in the areas of shipbuilding and repair, industrial machine and computers, metals production, and the manufacture of toys and sporting goods. The region’s economy has been tied to the San Diego Bay, a natural harbor which today is one of California’s five major ports. It is an important link in the nation’s international shipping trade.