Population in Urban Area, now
- World: 146th
- North America: 20th
- United States: 15th
Population in City Area, mid 2020
- World: 178th
- North America: 13th
- United States: 9th
San Diego Population Graphs
- Urban Area
- City Area
San Diego Population Review
Located on the pacific coast of California in the United States and known for its beaches and mild, year-round climate, San Diego is a city that is home to an estimated 1.4 million people in the city and 3.2 million in the metro area. San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and the second largest in California, after Los Angeles.
Sometimes called the “birthplace of California”, San Diego was established in 1769. First visited by the Spaniards in 1542 and historically home to the Kumeyaay people, San Diego was the first European settlement in what is now the state of California.
A growing population
The city of San Diego is predicted to have 3.6 million people by 2035 and the city is currently growing at an average of 0.74% per year. Since the census in 2010, its population grew by 10.6%. The city’s population has not experienced any significant declines since the 1950s, and is growing steadily. Spanning across 372 miles, San Diego’s population density sits lower than the next largest city of San Francisco, with only 4,444 people per square mile.
A city with strong military ties
San Diego is the only city on the West Cost of the United States with major submarine and shipbuilding yards. Its deep-water port is a major reason why the city is home to several major defense contractors who are headquartered and founded in the city. San Diego is home the largest naval fleet in the world, which includes over 53 ships, 120 tenant commands, and over 35,000 sailors, marines, and Department of Defense civilian employees. Almost 5% of all civilian jobs in the county are military-related and the military makes up a large part of the city’s economy, with over 15,000 businesses in the county relying on defense and military contracts.
A tourist Mecca
Tourism plays a large part in San Diego’s economy. The city hosts over 35.1 million visitors each year and is considered one of the top travel destinations in the United States. Each year, the money generated by the tourism industry adds $855 million in state and local transient occupancy, sales, and property taxes. Tourism also provides employment for around 160,000 of San Diego’s residents.
Tourists visiting San Diego often come to see sights like Balboa Park, the Belmont amusement park, the famous San Diego Zoo and San Diego Safari Park, as well as SeaWorld San Diego. The city’s growing craft beer scene also attracts an increasing number of visitors, with many coming for San Diego Beer Week, which occurs annually in November.
A safe city for residents and visitors alike
San Diego is the ninth-safest city in the list of top 10 safest cities in the United States. Like most major cities in the United States, the city’s crime rate continues to fall. It has the sixth-lowest crime rate of any city in the United States with over 500,000 people. Total property crimes in the city were lower than the national average and in 2013 San Diego had the lowest murder rate of the ten largest cities in the USA.
A demographically varied population
The racial makeup of San Diego consists of 64% white, 10.9% Asian, 5.1% African American and 13% Pacific Islander. The Hispanic and Latino population make up a large portion of San Diego’s population, with almost 32% of the population.
Almost half of the city’s population, from ages 5 and up, speak a language other than English at home. That’s almost double the national average of 21%. There is also almost double the number of foreign-born persons living in San Diego—26% versus the national average of 13%.