San Diego is a great place to call home!
- San Diego County is about the size of Connecticut, covering nearly 4,700 square miles.
- Within its 18 incorporated cities, it is home to nearly 3.3 million people.
- It ranks as the third most populous county in California.
- The region has a large ratio of renters, as evidenced by its homeownership rate of 50% and an occupancy rate of 95.5%.
- San Diego with its vigorous economy, excellent educational institutions, year-round favorable weather, and wonderful lifestyle, it has been one of the fastest growing counties in California for the last five years.
- The unemployment rate in the San Diego County was 5.8 percent in November 2014. This compares with an unadjusted unemployment rate of 7.1 percent for California.
- San Diego is a diversified national leader in the new, knowledge-based economy, with hundreds of biotech, communications, and software, Internet and information technology companies.
- At the end of the 2004 school year, the San Diego Unified School District became the second largest school district in the state with 27 high schools, 23 middle schools, and 113 elementary schools.
- San Diego is home to three major universities. These highly regarded institutions have campus enrollments ranging from 10,000-34,000 per campus.
GEOGRAPHY & CLIMATE
Twenty miles north of Mexico and just over 100 miles south of Los Angeles, San Diego is perfectly nestled in the rolling hills and mesas that rise from the Pacific shore and join with the Laguna Mountains to the east. The city offers a host of vastly different terrain including, miles of ocean and bay shoreline, which is one of the country’s finest natural harbors, densely forested hills, fertile valleys, mountains, canyons, and desert. Tempered by the Pacific Ocean air, the climate in San Diego is delightful, with cool summers and warm winters. Severe weather is a rarity; snow is almost unknown, and the city averages only three thunderstorms a year.
Major Industries and Commercial Activity
- San Diego Bay. Since the founding of San Diego, the city’s economy has been tied to the natural harbor, one of California’s five major ports. The port’s two marine cargo facilities handle a wide variety of commodities including, major vehicle manufacturers like Honda, Acura, Volkswagen, Isuzu, and Mitsubishi Fuso. In addition, more than 180 cruise ships dock at the port annually.
- Large military/defense industry. San Diego is home to more than eight military installations including: Marine Corps Base Camp Joseph H. Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Naval Station San Diego, Naval Air Station North Island, and Naval Submarine Base. As the city’s second largest economic sector, the military/defense industry brings in more than $13 billion a year. The Navy uses San Diego as its principal location for West Coast and Pacific Ocean operations.
- Large military/defense industry. San Diego is the Navy’s principal location for West Coast and Pacific Ocean operations. The military/defense industry is the city’s second largest economic sector, bringing more than $13 billion into the local economy annually. The Marine Corps Base Camp Joseph H. Pendleton, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar, Naval Air Station North Island, Naval Station San Diego, and Naval Submarine Base, San Diego, are among San Diego’s military installations.
- Top tourist destination. Year-round good weather and a variety of historical and cultural attractions, including the famous San Diego Zoo, makes tourism the third largest segment of San Diego’s economy. More than 26 million people visit the county annually, bringing more than $5.6 billion in revenue. In 2004, Travel and Leisure magazine ranked it America’s second favorite city (behind Honolulu).
- Agriculture. San Diego County’s agriculture is the fourth largest segment of the economy. Nationally, San Diego is in the top 20 largest agricultural producers. It is a top producer of nursery products, flowers, foliage plants, and avocados.
- High Technology & Biotechnology. Among all U.S. metropolitan areas, San Diego has the third largest concentration of biotech companies, with more than 32,000 biotech jobs at nearly 500 companies. There are approximately 160,000 high-technology workers employed at 1,400 companies throughout San Diego.
- Port of San Diego. Hundreds of merchant ships utilize this cargo port each year.
- Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF). This railroad connects San Diego to major market areas.
- Trucking. More than 80 trucking companies provide freight, hauling, or equipment services in San Diego.
- Air cargo. The San Diego International Airport handles more than 70,000 tons of cargo annually.
By the numbers, San Diego has:
- 18 business improvement districts,
- 15 redevelopment project areas,
- 3 enterprise zones, a foreign trade zone, renewal community, and recycling market development zones.
San Diego County has 26 accredited hospitals, with more than 6,600 beds. The largest networks are Scripps Health and Sharp Healthcare. Scripps Mercy Hospital, established in 1890, is the city’s longest-running and largest hospital and over 500 beds.
There are several specialty and research institutions’ including the Salk Institute of Biology. Jonas Salk, developer of the polio vaccine, established this research institution, which currently conducts research in genetics and neuroscience.
Children’s Hospital and Health Center. This specialty institution is the county’s designated Pediatric Trauma Center.
Naval Medical Center. Officers, personnel, and their dependents receive excellent care from this local healthcare facility, as it is one of the largest and most technologically advanced military health care centers in the world.
Scripps Research Institute. Internationally, this institution is recognized for its research in immunology, molecular, and cell biology.
COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
Major universities in San Diego include the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), San Diego State University (SDSU), and the University Of San Diego (USD).
UCSD, with a campus enrollment of approximately 23,000, is one of the University of California’s 10 campuses. It is regarded as a top institution for higher education and was rated “Seventh Best Public University in the Nation,” by U.S. News and World Report.
UCSD’s graduate and professional schools include: the acclaimed Scripps Institution of Oceanography (one of the oldest and largest centers for marine science research and graduate training in the world), School of Medicine, School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Jacobs School of Engineering (graduate and undergraduate), and Rady School of Management.
SDSU is the oldest and largest university in San Diego and third largest in the state, with an enrollment of nearly 34,000. A readers’ poll in the San Diego Union-Tribune in 2004 ranked SDSU “Best Local College/University.” The school offers 81 bachelor’s degrees, 59 master’s degrees, and 13 joint-doctoral degrees.
USD, a private, Roman Catholic university, has an enrollment of 7,262; the university offers more than 60 bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees, and is particularly noted for its law and nursing schools.
San Diego’s largest bus operator, The San Diego Transit Corporation, has a fleet of 275 buses, which travels nearly 30 routes encompassing San Diego, La Mesa, El Cajon, National City and a portion of San Diego’s unincorporated areas. Downtown and surrounding areas utilize additional means of public transportation including the San Diego Trolley and carriage rides.
LIBRARIES AND RESEARCH CENTERS
From oceanography and biological sciences, to nuclear energy and astronomy, a large number of specialized research centers are scattered throughout San Diego.
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is one of the most prominent research centers in the area and focuses on molecular biology, genetics, neuroscience, and plant biology.
The Palomar Observatory, a well-known center for astronomy research, is located atop San Diego County’s Mount Palomar.
The newly expanded San Diego Convention Center is located downtown along the San Diego Bay within a mile of 7,500 first-class hotel rooms, and only 10 minutes from the airport. The 1.7 million square foot facility features 615,701 square feet of exhibit space; 204,114 square feet of meeting space including two 40,000 square foot ballrooms; and 284,494 square feet of pre-function, lobby, and registration space.
Meeting space is also available at the Civic Theatre, a 2,975-seat multipurpose convention and performing arts center adjacent to City Hall.
A number of downtown hotels are also designed to accommodate major conventions, providing extensive meeting and banquet facilities, as well as, exhibit space. Nearly 45,000 rooms are available in the San Diego area.
San Diego offers a wide range of tourist attractions for every taste, from amusement parks to historic buildings and scenic wilderness.
San Diego Zoo. Come see some of the rarest species in captivity at the world-famous San Diego Zoo. More than 4,000 animals representing some 800 species enjoy 100 acres of lush, tropical landscape.
San Diego Wild Animal Park. This 2,200-acre preserve, operated by the San Diego Zoo, is located 30 miles north of downtown.
Sea World San Diego. Home of Shamu the killer whale and Baby Shamu, this 150-acre marine park is located along Mission Bay, and offers a number of marine exhibits, live shows, aquariums, the world’s largest shark exhibit, playgrounds and rides, and the $25 million Places of Learning educational complex.
Shopping Districts. Two separate historic sites representing two different time periods have been restored as shopping districts. Old Town evokes San Diego’s Spanish and Mexican heritage with its nineteenth-century adobe buildings that are filled with museums, shops, and restaurants. Gaslamp Quarter is a 16-block restored Victorian district downtown, featuring antiques, arts and crafts, offices, shops, and restaurants.
Tijuana, Mexico. A short 20-minute ride brings you to the most visited border town in the world. An exciting and exotic adventure for shoppers, sightseers, and sports enthusiasts, the Mexican border town is accessed by restored trackless trolleys that depart from the renovated Santa Fe Railway Depot in downtown San Diego.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Over 90 area museums and a number of small art galleries cater to the history and art enthusiasts. Drama, music, and the visual arts are important elements of the city’s personality. Theater, in all its varieties, is available year round. Musical offerings range from formal affairs, symphonies, and operas, to Oceanside picnic concerts under the stars and arena-sized rock concerts.
Spectator Sports. San Diego is the home of the San Diego Padres (PETCO Park), San Diego Chargers (QUALCOMM Stadium), and SDSU Aztecs.
Mission Bay Park. As the largest aquatic park in the nation, it consists of 4,235 acres, 46% land and 54% water. In addition to the inland trails and jogging tracks, the park offers 44 miles of beachfront recreation area.
San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park and Ecological Reserve. Located at La Jolla Cove, this recreation attraction provides excellent snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities.
Public Park System. San Diego maintains extensive recreation facilities, public pools, jogging paths, and playing fields.
Golf. There are more 90 golf courses in the San Diego area.
SHOPPING AND DINING
From large suburban shopping malls in the Mission Valley region to trendy historical districts, such as Old Town and the Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego offers a wide variety of shopping experiences. Westfield Shopping town Horton Plaza is a massive five-level, open-air plaza filled with department stores and nearly 200 upscale specialty shops in downtown San Diego. Seaport Village is a 14-acre shopping, dining, and entertainment complex featuring 75 shops and restaurants in a harbor side setting. Nearby Tijuana provides a colorful mix of bazaars, open-air markets, and handcrafted goods.