These Are The 10 Best San Diego Suburbs For 2018

We analyzed over 17 places around San Diego to identify the most in demand places to live.

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Big city living isn’t for everyone–but at the same time, urban areas certainly have their perks.

There’s the culture, the food, the arts, the food, the energy, and you know, the food. But there are drawbacks. There’s traffic, expensive parking, expensive housing–pretty much, expensive everything, depending on which big city you’re looking at.

But that’s where the suburbs come in–they have all of the benefits of being near big cities, without actually having to be big cities.

Of course, not all suburbs of San Diego are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…

Here are the 10 best suburbs around San Diego for 2018:

  1. Solana Beach (Photos | Homes)
  2. Coronado (Photos | Homes)
  3. Del Mar (Photos | Homes)
  4. Encinitas (Photos | Homes)
  5. Poway (Photos | Homes)
  6. Carlsbad (Photos | Homes)
  7. Santee (Photos | Homes)
  8. La Mesa (Photos | Homes)
  9. Chula Vista (Photos | Homes)
  10. San Marcos (Photos | Homes)

If you happen to be a resident of Solana Beach, you’re probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.

We’ll tell you what makes each of these 10 San Diego ‘burbs better than the rest–but first, a bit about our methodology.

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Editor’s Note: If you see a slight difference between the best in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it’s because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.

How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around San Diego for 2018

Figuring out the best ‘burbs around San Diego was pretty simple; we just needed to list several things that people like, and then find out which cities have the most of those things.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:

  • Low unemployment rate
  • High Median household incomes
  • Population density (lots of things to do)
  • High home values
  • A lot of college educated people
  • Low poverty
  • High rate of insured families

Then we used the newest American Community Survey data (2012-2016) to research each suburb.

FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of San Diego.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 4,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 17 suburbs to evaluate around San Diego.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 17 in each category, where 1 was the “best.

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.

And finally, we crowned the city with the best quality of life index the “Best Suburb near San Diego.” We’re lookin’ at you, Solana Beach.

Read on below to learn more about what it’s like to live in the best of the best. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from best to worst.

1. Solana Beach

Solana Beach, California

Population: 13,312
Unemployment Rate: 3.3%
Median Home Price: $1,045,900
Median Income: $100,352
More on Solana Beach: Real Estate | Data

Solana Beach is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the San Diego area. We’ll tell you the good about “Awesome Solana Beach.”

Everyone here is rich; families average $100,352 a year, which is the 3rd highest in the San Diego region. And only 3.3% are out of work. Homes average more than $1,045,900 each.

2. Coronado

Coronado, California

Population: 24,852
Unemployment Rate: 6.1%
Median Home Price: $1,332,500
Median Income: $92,413
More on Coronado: Real Estate | Data

Coronado is the second best ‘burb we looked at near San Diego for 2018.

It ranks 6th for incomes in the area and only 3.5% of residents lack insurance, good for 1st best.

3. Del Mar

Del Mar, California

Population: 4,312
Unemployment Rate: 5.3%
Median Home Price: $2,000,000
Median Income: $108,556
More on Del Mar: Real Estate | Data

Here in Del Mar, it’s really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you’ll see in the San Diego metro area.

The bad side? Schools are more crowded, and the cost of living puts a large part of the city out of reach for most families.

But price is based on demand and a lot of people want to live in Del Mar.

4. Encinitas

Encinitas, California

Population: 62,160
Unemployment Rate: 6.0%
Median Home Price: $820,400
Median Income: $100,698
More on Encinitas: Real Estate | Data

Encinitas ranks as the 4th best suburb of San Diego for 2018.

You won’t find many better places to raise your kids in the region than in Encinitas and the schools are some of the best around.

5. Poway

Poway, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 49,675
Unemployment Rate: 5.4%
Median Home Price: $583,100
Median Income: $98,859
More on Poway: Real Estate | Data

Coming in as the fifth best is Poway.

Poway gets kudos for having the 6th most expensive homes in the San Diego area, where houses sell for an average of $583,100. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

6. Carlsbad

Carlsbad, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 112,008
Unemployment Rate: 6.1%
Median Home Price: $674,400
Median Income: $97,145
More on Carlsbad: Real Estate | Data

Carlsbad is proud of its 6th place finish on this list. And here’s why.

Most residents have great jobs and the unemployment rate sits at 6.1% which is 6th best in the area.

According to online reports, Carlsbad is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the San Diego area, meaning you need to get in soon.

7. Santee

Santee, California

Population: 56,839
Unemployment Rate: 7.3%
Median Home Price: $363,000
Median Income: $77,460
More on Santee: Real Estate | Data

The 7th best suburb on our list goes to Santee.

Santee schools are some of the best in the region, and crime is really low. The cost of living makes it a lot more desirable for many families, especially first-time home buyers.

And, it’s only 9.1 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

8. La Mesa

La Mesa, California

Population: 59,125
Unemployment Rate: 8.1%
Median Home Price: $421,200
Median Income: $56,693
More on La Mesa: Real Estate | Data

La Mesa is growing quickly, and for a good reason. Crime is far below average, and most residents are gainfully employed. Even the cost of living is reasonable.

A solid 11.4% of people lack insurance, good for 9th in the area.

9. Chula Vista

Chula Vista, California

Population: 260,598
Unemployment Rate: 9.7%
Median Home Price: $402,000
Median Income: $66,956
More on Chula Vista: Real Estate | Data

Is ‘Everything Better In Chula Vista?’


It placed 9th on our list thanks to the fact that it’s really expensive to live here, but the schools are great, so you get what you pay for in that regard.

10. San Marcos

San Marcos, California

Source: Public domain

Population: 91,479
Unemployment Rate: 6.4%
Median Home Price: $418,200
Median Income: $63,960
More on San Marcos: Real Estate | Data

And rounding out the top ten for 2018 is San Marcos.

This city is far above average in every category, and the best part? It’s far more affordable than the other cities listed above. So, you get a big bang for your buck here.

Welcome to the Best San Diego ‘Burbs of 2018

We said it once and we’ll say it again–life in the big city isn’t for everyone. At least not all the time.

So if you’re hankering for some of the amenities of a larger city like San Diego, but don’t want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might just be for you.

For more California reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Best San Diego Suburbs

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Solana Beach 13,312 3.3% $1,045,900 $100,352
2 Coronado 24,852 6.1% $1,332,500 $92,413
3 Del Mar 4,312 5.3% $2,000,000 $108,556
4 Encinitas 62,160 6.0% $820,400 $100,698
5 Poway 49,675 5.4% $583,100 $98,859
6 Carlsbad 112,008 6.1% $674,400 $97,145
7 Santee 56,839 7.3% $363,000 $77,460
8 La Mesa 59,125 8.1% $421,200 $56,693
9 Chula Vista 260,598 9.7% $402,000 $66,956
10 San Marcos 91,479 6.4% $418,200 $63,960
11 Oceanside 173,829 7.3% $384,100 $58,949
12 Vista 98,560 5.4% $392,700 $54,203
13 Lemon Grove 26,421 9.1% $346,400 $58,694
14 Spring Valley 5,365 8.6% $103,400 $43,636
15 Imperial Beach 27,180 11.6% $380,900 $48,010
16 El Cajon 102,894 12.5% $369,000 $46,374
17 Escondido 149,912 7.2% $368,500 $54,268

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One thought on “These Are The 10 Best San Diego Suburbs For 2018

  1. I think your home prices are skewed low. For example, in Santee, your link takes you to multiple pages of double-wides for sale. I am not saying these aren’t homes, but people will see that number and think that a detached home can be had for that amount. It can’t. As a recent Santee homebuyer, the median price is much closer to $500k and going up.

    At the top of your list, you definitely see fewer, if any, double-wide listing because the land is so expensive. It’s just not an apples to apples comparison.

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