San Diego County, California

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San Diego County
County of San Diego
FA18CHornetOverSanDiegoNov08.jpg
Mission San Diego de Alcalá - church.jpg
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Flag of San Diego County
Flag
Official seal of San Diego County
Seal
Location in the U.S. state of California
Location in the U.S. state of California
California's location in the United States
California's location in the United States
Coordinates: 33°01′N 116°46′W / 33.02°N 116.77°W / 33.02; -116.77
Latitude and Longitude:

33°01′N 116°46′W / 33.02°N 116.77°W / 33.02; -116.77
Country United States
State California
FormedFebruary 18, 1850 [1]
Named for San Diego de Alcalá
County seat San Diego
Largest citySan Diego
Government
 • Type Council–manager
 • Body Board of Supervisors
 • Board of Supervisors [3]
 • Chief Administrative OfficerHelen Robbins-Meyer [2]
 •  District AttorneySummer Stephan
Area
 • Total4,526 sq mi (11,720 km2)
 • Land4,207 sq mi (10,900 km2)
 • Water319 sq mi (830 km2)
Highest elevation6,536 ft (1,992 m)
Population
 • Total3,095,313
 • Estimate 
(2019) [6]
3,338,330
 • Density680/sq mi (260/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 code06-073
GDP$219 billion [7]
Website www.sandiegocounty.gov

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 2010 census, the population was 3,095,313. [5] making it California's second-most populous county and the fifth-most populous in the United States. Its county seat is San Diego, [8] the eighth-most populous city in the United States. It is the southwesternmost county in the 48 contiguous United States.

San Diego County comprises the San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, [9] 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. [10] [11] San Diego is also part of the San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area shared between the United States and Mexico. Greater San Diego ranks as the 38th largest metropolitan area in the Americas.

San Diego County has more than 70 miles (110 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. [12] 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 also 16 naval and military installations of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Coast Guard in San Diego County. These include the Naval Base San Diego, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, and Naval Air Station North Island.

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.

History

The area which is now San Diego County has been inhabited for more than 12,000 years by Kumeyaay (also called Diegueno and Ipai/Tipai), Luiseño, Cupeño and Cahuilla Indians and their local predecessors. [13]

In 1542, the explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, who may have been born in Portugal but sailed on behalf of Spain, claimed San Diego Bay for the Spanish Empire, and he named the site San Miguel. [14] 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. [15] 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. [16] 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 Mexican–American 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, created at the time of California statehood in 1850. [17]:221

At the time of its establishment in 1850, San Diego County was relatively large, and included all of southernmost California south and east of Los Angeles County. It included areas of what are now Inyo and San Bernardino Counties, as well as all of what are now Riverside and Imperial Counties. [17]:221

During the later part of the 19th century, there were numerous changes in the boundaries of San Diego County, when various areas were separated to make up the counties mentioned above. The most recent changes were the establishments of Riverside County in 1893 [17]:207 and Imperial County in 1907. [17]:113 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.

Geography

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. [18] The county is larger in area than the combined states of Rhode Island and Delaware. [19]

San Diego County has a varied topography. On its western side is more than 70 miles (110 km) of coastline. [20] 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 east, with the Sonoran Desert farther to the 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 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. [21]

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 December 2017 Lilac Fire and 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.[ citation needed]

Climate

Under the Köppen climate classification system, the urban and suburban San Diego area straddles areas of Mediterranean climate (CSa) to the north and semi-arid climate (BSh) to the south and east. [22] As a result, it is often described as "arid Mediterranean" and "semi-arid steppe." Farther east, arid desert conditions prevail. Western 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. [23] 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 48 °F (9 °C) and August highs of 77 °F (25 °C). [24] 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 89 °F (32 °C). [25] Julian, in the mountains, has an average January low of 29 °F (−2 °C) and August high of 85 °F (29 °C). [26] Borrego Springs, in the Colorado Desert, has an average January low of 43 °F (6 °C) and August high of 106 °F (41 °C). [27]

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, such as Palomar Mountain and the Laguna Mountains, receive 20–40 inches (51–102 cm) of rain per year, supporting lush forests similar to the Sierra Nevada and California Coast Range. The Colorado Desert portion of the county lies to the east of the mountains, which receives the least amount of precipitation; Borrego Springs, the largest population center in the desert, averages only 5 inches (13 cm), with a high evaporation rate.

Adjacent counties and municipalities

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

National protected areas

There are seven 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):

State parks and protected areas

Mountains

There are 236 mountain summits and peaks in San Diego County [37] including:

Bays and lagoons

Lakes

  • Lindo Lake

Rivers

Demographics

Since at least 2014, San Diego County is the fifth most populous county in the United States. [38] In 2000, only about 3% of San Diego County residents left the county for work while 40,000 people commuted into the metropolitan area. [39]

Population, race, and income (2011)
Total population [40] 3,060,849
  White [40] 2,182,604 71.3%
 Hispanic or Latino (of any race) [41] 967,858 31.6%
  Asian [40] 333,314 10.9%
  Black or African American [40] 154,076 5.0%
  American Indian or Alaska Native [40] 20,597 0.7%
  Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander [40] 14,266 0.5%
  Some other race [40] 220,000 7.2%
  Two or more races [40] 135,992 4.4%
Per capita income [42] $30,955
Median household income [43] $63,857
Median family income [44] $74,633
Historical population
Census Pop.
1850798
18604,324441.9%
18704,95114.5%
18808,01861.9%
189034,987336.4%
190035,0900.3%
191061,66575.7%
1920112,24882.0%
1930209,65986.8%
1940289,34838.0%
1950556,80892.4%
19601,033,01185.5%
19701,357,85431.4%
19801,861,84637.1%
19902,498,01634.2%
20002,813,83312.6%
20103,095,31310.0%
Est. 20193,338,330 [6]7.9%
U.S. Decennial Census [45]
1790–1960 [46] 1900–1990 [47]
1990–2000 [48] 2010–2018 [5]

Race

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 persons (32.0%). [49] Including Multiracial Asian Americans, the number of Asian Americans in San Diego County were 407,984. [50]

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. [51]

In 2018, the median household income was $70,824; most people spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs. [52] 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. [53]

Income

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. [54]

Homelessness

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. [55]

Religion

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. [56] According to the University of Southern California, in 2010, the largest faith in the county was Catholicism, followed by Nondenominational Christians, and Mormons. [57]

In 2014, the county had 978 religious organizations, the seventh most out of all US counties. [58]

Government

The Government of San Diego County is defined and authorized under the California Constitution, California law, and the Charter of the County of San Diego. [59] Much of the Government of California is in practice the responsibility of county governments such as the Government of San Diego County. The County government provides countywide services such as elections and voter registration, law enforcement, jails, vital records, property records, tax collection, public health, and social services. In addition the County serves as the local government for all unincorporated areas. [60] Some chartered cities such as San Diego and Chula Vista provide municipal services such as police, public safety, libraries, parks and recreation, and zoning. Other cities such as Del Mar and Vista arrange to have the County provide some or all of these services on a contract basis.

The county government is composed of the elected five-member Board of Supervisors, several other elected offices and officers including the Sheriff, the District Attorney, Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk, and Treasurer/Tax Collector, and numerous county departments and entities under the supervision of the Chief Administrative Officer such as the Probation Department. In addition, several entities of the government of California have jurisdiction conterminous with San Diego County, such as the San Diego Superior Court.

Under its foundational Charter, the five-member elected San Diego County Board of Supervisors is the county legislature. The board operates in a legislative, executive, and quasi-judicial capacity. As a legislative authority, it can pass ordinances for the unincorporated areas (ordinances that affect the whole county, like posting of restaurant ratings, must be ratified by the individual city). As an executive body, it can tell the county departments what to do, and how to do it. As a quasi-judicial body, the Board is the final venue of appeal in the local planning process.

As of January 2019, the members of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors are: [61]

District Supervisor Party
1 Greg Cox Republican
2 Dianne Jacob (Chair) Republican
3 Kristin Gaspar Republican
4 Nathan Fletcher Democrat
5 Jim Desmond Republican

For several decades, ending in 2013, all five supervisors were Republican, white, graduates of San Diego State University, and had been in office since 1995 or earlier. The Board was criticized for this homogeneity, which was made possible because supervisors draw their own district lines and are not subject to term limits. [62] (In 2010 voters put term limits in place, but they only apply going forward, so that each incumbent supervisor can serve an additional two terms before being termed out. [63]) That pattern was broken in 2013 when Slater-Price retired; she was replaced by Democrat Dave Roberts, who won election to the seat in November 2012 and was inaugurated in January 2013. [64]

The San Diego County Code is the codified law of San Diego County in the form of ordinances passed by the Board of Supervisors. The Administrative Code establishes the powers and duties of all officers and the procedures and rules of operation of all departments.

The county motto is "The noblest motive is the public good." County government offices are housed in the historic County Administration Center Building, constructed in 1935-1938 with funding from the Works Progress Administration. [65]

Politics

San Diego County registered voters (2014) [66]
Total population [40] 3,060,849
  Registered voters [66] [note 1] 1,530,462 50.0%
    Democratic 531,941 34.8%
    Republican 503,639 32.9%
    Democratic–Republican spread +28,302 +1.9%
    No party preference 412,807 27.0%
    American Independent 52,088 3.4%
    Libertarian 12,484 0.8%
    Green 7,668 0.5%
    Other 5,695 0.4%
    Peace and Freedom 4,140 0.3%

As of February 2019, there are 1,747,383 registered voters in San Diego County. Of those, 623,925 (35.7%) are registered Democratic, 475,149 (27.3%) are registered Republican, 552,538 (31.6%) declined to state a political party, 55,800 (3.2%) are registered American Independence Party, 16,355 (0.9%) are registered Libertarian, 6,887 (0.4%) are registered Green, and 5,255 (0.3%) are registered Peace & Freedom. [67]

Voting

San Diego County has historically been a Republican stronghold. The Republican presidential nominee carried the county in every presidential election from 1948 through 2004, except in 1992 when Bill Clinton won a plurality. In 2008, Barack Obama became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win a majority of votes in San Diego County since World War II; he won a majority of county votes again in 2012. In 2016, the county voted in favor of the Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton by 19.7%, the largest margin for a Democrat since 1936.

Presidential election results
San Diego County vote
by party in presidential elections
[68]
Year GOP DEM Others
2016 36.57% 477,766 56.30% 735,476 7.13% 93,158
2012 44.95% 536,726 52.51% 626,957 2.53% 30,266
2008 43.79% 541,032 53.95% 666,581 2.26% 27,890
2004 52.45% 596,033 46.33% 526,437 1.22% 13,881
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 35.69% 352,125 37.24% 367,397 27.08% 267,124
1988 60.19% 523,143 38.34% 333,264 1.47% 12,788
1984 65.30% 502,344 33.41% 257,029 1.29% 9,894
1980 60.81% 435,910 27.26% 195,410 11.93% 85,546
1976 55.74% 353,302 41.60% 263,654 2.66% 16,839
1972 61.82% 371,627 34.34% 206,455 3.84% 23,055
1968 56.26% 261,540 36.07% 167,669 7.67% 35,654
1964 50.31% 214,445 49.69% 211,808 0.01% 33
1960 56.41% 223,056 43.31% 171,259 0.28% 1,106
1956 64.47% 195,742 35.15% 106,716 0.38% 1,147
1952 63.50% 186,091 35.92% 105,255 0.58% 1,688
1948 49.43% 101,552 47.80% 98,217 2.77% 5,690
1944 45.42% 75,746 53.94% 89,959 0.64% 1,059
1940 43.27% 55,434 55.57% 71,188 1.16% 1,488
1936 35.04% 35,686 63.45% 64,628 1.51% 1,540
1932 41.46% 35,305 53.58% 45,622 4.96% 4,223
1928 67.14% 47,769 31.97% 22,749 0.89% 633
1924 48.99% 22,726 6.35% 2,944 44.66% 20,721
1920 63.78% 19,826 27.27% 8,478 8.95% 2,783
1916 46.47% 16,978 46.02% 16,815 7.51% 2,744
1912 0.29% 63 44.79% 9,731 54.92% 11,934
1908 57.56% 5,412 25.45% 2,393 16.99% 1,598
1904 59.52% 4,303 19.34% 1,398 21.15% 1,529
1900 54.91% 3,800 38.69% 2,678 6.40% 443
1896 46.86% 3,631 50.44% 3,908 2.70% 209
1892 45.71% 3,525 30.26% 2,334 24.03% 1,853

The city of San Diego itself is more Democratic than the county's average and has voted for Democrats in each presidential election since 1992. Various cities within the county are swing areas that have split their votes in elections since 2000. Republican strength is concentrated in North County, East County and the eastern backlands. Coronado has also traditionally been a Republican stronghold.

One unique feature of the political scene is the use of Golden Hall, a convention facility next to San Diego's City Hall, as "Election Central." The County Registrar of Voters rents the hall to distribute election results. Supporters and political observers gather to watch the results come in; supporters of the various candidates parade around the hall, carrying signs and chanting; candidates give their victory and concession speeches and host parties for campaign volunteers and donors at the site; and television stations broadcast live from the floor of the convention center. [69] The atmosphere at Election Central on the evening of election day has been compared to the voting portion of a political party national convention. [70]

On Nov 4, 2008 San Diego County voted 53.71% for Proposition 8 which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages, thus restoring Proposition 22 which was overturned by a ruling from the California Supreme Court. However the city of San Diego, along with Del Mar, Encinitas, and Solana Beach, voted against Proposition 8. [71]

Federal and state representation

In the U.S. House of Representatives, San Diego County is split between five congressional districts: [72]

In the California State Assembly, San Diego County is split between seven legislative districts: [73]

In the California State Senate, San Diego County is split between four legislative districts: [74]

Immigration Data

In 2014 according to Pew Research Center, there are about 170,000 individuals who immigrated to the United States without authorization living in the region. [75] San Diego has been a destination for trafficked minors from Mexico and the Philippines. [76] In 2018, the United States Border Patrol caught an average of over a hundred individuals crossing the border illegally each day. [77]

Crime

The following table includes the number of incidents reported and the rate per 1,000 persons for each type of offense.

Cities by population and crime rates