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San Diego County, California
San Diego County is a county located on the Pacific Ocean in the far southwest of the U.S. state of California, along its border with Mexico. With a population of 3,051,280 (as of 2005), it is the third largest county by population in the state. The county seat is the city of San Diego.
European settlement in what is now San Diego County began with the founding of the Mission San Diego de Alcala by the Spanish, in 1769.
San Diego County was one of the original counties of California, and was created at the time of statehood in 1850. It was named after San Diego Bay, which had been rechristened in 1602 by Sebastián Vizcaíno in honor of the Franciscan St. Didacus of Alcalá, known in Spanish as San Diego de Alcalá de Henares, and whose name was borne by Vizcaíno's flagship.
Parts of the county were later divided off to create Riverside County, in 1893, and Imperial County, in 1907.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 11,721 km² (4,526 mi²). 10,878 km² (4,200 mi²) of it is land and 843 km² (326 mi²) of it (7.20%) is water.
San Diego County has varied topography. On its western side is seventy miles of coastline. Snow-capped mountains rise to the northeast, with the Sonoran Desert to the far east. The Cleveland National Forest lies to the southeast.
North San Diego County is known locally as "North County".
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Traditionally, San Diego County was solidly Republican — it even voted for Barry Goldwater in 1964. The reason for the county's Republican lean despite the city of San Diego's Democratic lean is the suburbs. While San Diego, Encinitas, National City, Del Mar, and some other areas voted for John Kerry, suburbs like San Marcos, Escondido, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Coronado, Santee, Poway, El Cajon, and Vista were overwhelmingly backing George W. Bush. Chula Vista, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Solana Beach, and Imperial Beach are considered swing areas of the county - Chula Vista and Imperial Beach narrowly backed Al Gore in 2000 but narrowly voted for Bush in 2004, while Solana Beach switched from Bush in 2000 to Kerry in 2004. La Mesa narrowly voted Bush both times, and Lemon Grove narrowly went Democratic both times.
One unique feature of the political scene is the use of Golden Hall, a convention facility next to City Hall, as a central elections center. The County Registrar of Voters rents the hall to distribute election results. Supporters and political observers are invited to watch the results come in, candidates give their victory and concession speeches and host parties for campaign volunteers and donors at the site, and television stations broadcast from the floor of the convention center. Golden Hall was scheduled to be closed in 2004, but was reused again for the November 2005 special election.
As of the census² of 2000, there were 2,813,833 people, 994,677 households, and 663,449 families residing in the county. The population density was 259/km² (670/mi²). There were 1,040,149 housing units at an average density of 96/km² (248/mi²). The racial makeup of the county was 66.52% White, 5.74% Black or African American, 0.86% Native American, 8.88% Asian, 0.48% Pacific Islander, 12.82% from other races, and 4.69% from two or more races. 26.69% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 994,677 households out of which 33.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.70% were married couples living together, 11.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.30% were non-families. 24.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.90% 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.
In the county the population was spread out with 25.70% under the age of 18, 11.30% from 18 to 24, 32.00% from 25 to 44, 19.80% from 45 to 64, and 11.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 101.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.70 males.
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 8.90% of families and 12.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.50% of those under age 18 and 6.80% of those age 65 or over.
According to estimates by the San Diego Association of Governments, the median household income of San Diego County in 2005 was $64,273 (not adjusted for inflation). When adjusted for inflation (1999 dollars; comparable to Census data above), the median household income was $52,192.
San Diego, California is ranked as one of America's Most Livable Cities
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