These Are The 10 Best San Diego Suburbs For 2019

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

Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the best San Diego suburbs.

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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…

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.

Or feel free to check out some more reading about California:

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 2019

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 (2013-2017) 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.

Solana Beach, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,362
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $103,864
Unemployment Rate: 3.8%
Poverty Rate: 4.9%
More on Solana Beach: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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 $103,864 a year, which is the 2nd highest in the San Diego region. And only 3.8% are out of work. Homes average more than $1,103,900 each.

Coronado, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 24,053
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $99,641
Unemployment Rate: 5.7%
Poverty Rate: 5.3%
More on Coronado: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Coronado is the second best ‘burb we looked at near San Diego for 2019.

It ranks 6th for incomes in the area and only 2.7% of residents lack insurance, good for 1st best.

Del Mar, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,338
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $122,563
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Poverty Rate: 6.9%
More on Del Mar: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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.

Carlsbad, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 113,147
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Median Income: $102,722
Unemployment Rate: 5.2%
Poverty Rate: 6.6%
More on Carlsbad: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Carlsbad ranks as the 4th best suburb of San Diego for 2019.

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

Encinitas, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 62,595
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Income: $103,842
Unemployment Rate: 4.9%
Poverty Rate: 7.6%
More on Encinitas: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Coming in as the fifth best is Encinitas.

Encinitas gets kudos for having the 4th most expensive homes in the San Diego area, where houses sell for an average of $862,300. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

Poway, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 49,874
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Income: $102,338
Unemployment Rate: 6.5%
Poverty Rate: 6.7%
More on Poway: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Poway 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 6.5% which is 10th best in the area.

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

San Marcos, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 93,493
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Median Income: $70,417
Unemployment Rate: 4.8%
Poverty Rate: 12.3%
More on San Marcos: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The 7th best suburb on our list goes to San Marcos.

San Marcos 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 22.1 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

Santee, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 57,376
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Income: $81,430
Unemployment Rate: 7.0%
Poverty Rate: 6.8%
More on Santee: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Santee 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 6.3% of people lack insurance, good for 6th in the area.

La Mesa, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 59,479
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Income: $59,629
Unemployment Rate: 7.7%
Poverty Rate: 12.6%
More on La Mesa: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Is ‘Everything Better In La Mesa?’


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.

Review Of La Mesa by HomeSnacks User

The crime is relatively low for the region. It is a safe and quiet community.

La Mesa Performing Arts Academy is an excellent school, and has received numerous awards from the state of California. Their music program is excellent.

Helix Charter High School is a college preparatory school, and is the alma mater of football greats Alex Smith and Reggie Bush. Classes are on a block schedule, and students have the ability to cross-enroll at local colleges for graduation credits.

Brew Coffee Spot is a great place to get a cup of coffee. Centifonti’s restaurant has a variety of menu items, including draft beer, sweets, and gelato. These items are made fresh daily.

Housing costs are high, but La Mesa is minutes from the ocean.

Chula Vista, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 264,101
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Income: $70,197
Unemployment Rate: 9.2%
Poverty Rate: 12.3%
More on Chula Vista: Real Estate | Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten for 2019 is Chula Vista.

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 2019

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 Median Income
1 Solana Beach 13,362 $103,864
2 Coronado 24,053 $99,641
3 Del Mar 4,338 $122,563
4 Carlsbad 113,147 $102,722
5 Encinitas 62,595 $103,842
6 Poway 49,874 $102,338
7 San Marcos 93,493 $70,417
8 Santee 57,376 $81,430
9 La Mesa 59,479 $59,629
10 Chula Vista 264,101 $70,197
11 Oceanside 174,811 $61,778
12 Vista 99,496 $59,833
13 Lemon Grove 26,645 $60,309
14 Spring Valley 5,331 $45,482
15 Imperial Beach 27,270 $49,950
16 El Cajon 103,314 $49,445
17 Escondido 150,783 $58,834

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

One thought on “These Are The 10 Best San Diego Suburbs For 2019

  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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