San Diego County is a county located on the Pacific Ocean in the far southwest of the U.S. state of California, United States along its border with Mexico. The state of California estimates San Diego's population as of 2008 to be 3,146,274 people, increasing its rank to second place, ahead of its northwestern neighbor Orange County. The county seat is the city of San Diego.
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 this excellent natural harbor.
San Diego County was one of the original counties of California, and was created at the time of statehood in 1850. It was named after San Diego Bay, which had been rechristened in 1602 by Sebastián Vizcaíno in honor of the Franciscan St. Didacus of Alcalá, known in Spanish as San Diego de Alcalá de Henares, and whose name was borne by Vizcaíno's flagship.
As originally created in 1850 San Diego County was quite large and included most of southeastern California south and east of Los Angeles County. As such it included major parts of what are now Inyo, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Imperial counties.
San Diego County has varied topography. On its western side is seventy miles of coastline. Snow-capped 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 Anza-Borrego Desert State Park occupies most of the northeast.
North San Diego County is known locally 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, is collectively referred to as "South Bay".
|2004||52.52% 596,033||46.39% 526,437||1.09% 12,378|
|2000||49.63% 475,736||45.66% 437,666||4.71% 45,232|
|1996||45.57% 402,876||44.11% 389,964||10.33% 91,311|
|1992||35.7% 352,125||37.2% 367,397||27.08% 267,124|
|1988||60.2% 523,143||38.3% 333,264||1.47% 12,788|
|1984||65.3% 502,344||33.4% 257,029||1.29% 9,894|
|1980||60.8% 435,910||27.3% 195,410||11.93% 85,546|
|1976||55.7% 353,302||41.6% 263,654||2.66% 16,839|
|1972||61.8% 371,627||34.3% 206,455||3.84% 23,055|
|1968||56.3% 261,540||36.1% 167,669||7.67% 35,654|
|1964||50.3% 214,445||49.7% 211,808||0.01% 33|
|1960||56.4% 233,045||43.3% 171,259||0.28% 1,106|
San Diego County is a slightly Republican county, with Bill Clinton in 1992 being the last Democratic presidential candidate to have won a plurality in the county. The city of San Diego itself, however, is more Democratic than the county's average (though fairly moderate compared to the national and state average) and has voted for Democrats Clinton, Gore, and Kerry in the last four presidential elections respectively. The city of San Diego, as well as La Jolla, Coronado and Imperial Beach are part of the 53rd congressional district which has a Cook Partisan Voting Index (CPVI) of D +12. San Diego's northern and eastern suburbs tend to be very conservative. Northern suburbs including Carlsbad were part of the 50th district with a CPVI of R +5. In the 2004 presidential election, San Diego, Encinitas, National City, Del Mar, and some other areas voted for John Kerry; San Marcos, Escondido, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Coronado, Santee, Poway, El Cajon, and Vista overwhelmingly backed George W. Bush. Chula Vista, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Solana Beach, and Imperial Beach are considered swing areas of the county – Chula Vista and Imperial Beach narrowly backed Al Gore in 2000 but narrowly voted for Bush in 2004, while Solana Beach switched from Bush in 2000 to Kerry in 2004. La Mesa narrowly voted for Bush both times, and Lemon Grove narrowly went Democratic both times.
One unique feature of the political scene is the use of Golden Hall, a convention facility next to City Hall, as a central elections center. The County Registrar of Voters rents the hall to distribute election results. Supporters and political observers are invited to watch the results come in, candidates give their victory and concession speeches and host parties for campaign volunteers and donors at the site, and television stations broadcast from the floor of the convention center. Golden Hall was scheduled to be closed in 2004, but was reused again for the November 2005 special election. The atmosphere on the evening of election day is often comparable to the voting portion of a political party national convention.
In the House of Representatives, all of California's 50th, 52nd, and 53rd districts and parts of the 49th and 51st districts are in the county. By district, the seats are held by Republican Darrell Issa, Republican Brian Bilbray, Democrat Bob Filner, Republican Duncan Hunter, and Democrat Susan Davis.
In the State Assembly, parts of the 66th and 73rd districts, and all of the 74th–79th districts are in the county. Districts 76 and 79 are held by Democrats, Lori Saldaña and Mary Salas respectively; the others are held by Republicans; by district they are Kevin Jeffries, Mimi Walters, Martin Garrick, George A. Plescia, Joel Anderson, and Shirley Horton.
In the State Senate, all of the 39th district and parts of the 36th, 38th, and 40th districts are in the county and are held by Republicans Dennis Hollingsworth and Mark Wyland, and Democrats Christine Kehoe and Denise Moreno Ducheny.
|District||Location||Cook PVI||% for Bush, 2004||Median household income||Per Capita Income|
|49th district||Northern San Diego and South-western Riverside County||R +10||63%||$46,445||$19,659|
|50th district||Northern San Diego County, including costal communities such as Carlsbad, California but excluding La Jolla||R +5||55%||$59,813||$29,877|
|51st district||Southern San Diego County, including Chula Vista and National City. Also includes all of Imperial County||D +7||46%||$39,243||$14,923|
|52nd district||Eastern San Diego County, including La Mesa, El Cajon and Lakeside.||R +9||61%||$52,940||$24,544|
|53rd district||City of San Diego including La Jolla, Coronado and Imperial Beach||D +12||39%||$36,637||$21,715|
|Mean||Districts: 49th, 50th, 51st, 52nd, 53rd||R +5||52.8%||$47,016||$22,144|
As of 2006, there were 2,941,454 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 1,118,410 housing units at an average density of 248 per square mile (96/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 70.2% White American, 5.0% Black or African American, 0.7% Native American, 10.3% Asian, 0.78% Pacific Islander, 13% from other races, and 5% from two or more races. 30.1% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 9.6% were of German, 6.9% Irish and 6.9% English ancestry according to Census 2000. 67.0% spoke English, 21.9% Spanish, 3.1% Tagalog and 1.2% Vietnamese as their first language.
With its millions of people small ethnic groups can almost be overlooked in San Diego County. There are about 8,000 Iraqi Kurds in the County for example.
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.
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.
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.