San Diego, United States Population

Population in Urban Area, now

3,259,283
  • World: 146th
  • North America: 20th
  • United States: 15th

Population in City Area, mid 2020

1,448,088
  • 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%.

Review Updated: November 28, 2020

San Diego Urban Area Population History

1950 440,000
1951 470,000
1952 502,000
1953 536,000
1954 573,000
1955 612,000
1956 653,000
1957 698,000
1958 745,000
1959 796,000
1960 844,000
1961 875,000
1962 907,000
1963 940,000
1964 974,000
1965 1,010,000
1966 1,047,000
1967 1,085,000
1968 1,125,000
1969 1,166,000
1970 1,209,000
1971 1,252,000
1972 1,297,000
1973 1,344,000
1974 1,392,000
1975 1,442,000
1976 1,493,000
1977 1,547,000
1978 1,602,000
1979 1,660,000
1980 1,718,000
1981 1,774,000
1982 1,832,000
1983 1,891,000
1984 1,953,000
1985 2,017,000
1986 2,082,000
1987 2,150,000
1988 2,220,000
1989 2,293,000
1990 2,356,000
1991 2,387,000
1992 2,418,000
1993 2,450,000
1994 2,482,000
1995 2,514,000
1996 2,547,000
1997 2,580,000
1998 2,614,000
1999 2,648,000
2000 2,681,000
2001 2,708,000
2002 2,735,000
2003 2,763,000
2004 2,791,000
2005 2,819,000
2006 2,848,000
2007 2,876,000
2008 2,905,000
2009 2,935,000
2010 2,964,000
2011 2,994,000
2012 3,024,000
2013 3,055,000
2014 3,086,000
2015 3,117,000
2016 3,148,000
2017 3,180,000
2018 3,212,000
2019 3,231,000
2020 3,251,000

San Diego Urban Area Population Projections

2021 3,272,000
2022 3,295,000
2023 3,319,000
2024 3,345,000
2025 3,373,000
2026 3,402,000
2027 3,433,000
2028 3,464,000
2029 3,495,000
2030 3,526,000
2031 3,557,000
2032 3,588,000
2033 3,619,000
2034 3,649,000
2035 3,678,000

City Area Population Estimate & Projections

2010 1,305,970
2011 1,319,697
2012 1,337,149
2013 1,355,951
2014 1,376,725
2015 1,388,674
2016 1,403,865
2017 1,414,427
2018 1,425,976
2019 1,437,032
2020 1,448,088

Map of San Diego, United States

Other Biggest Cities in the United States