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California Counties

The state of California is divided into fifty-eight counties. On January 4, 1850, the California constitutional committee recommended the formation of 18 counties. They were Benicia, Butte, Fremont, Los Angeles, Mariposa, Monterey, Mount Diablo, Oro, Redding, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, and Sutter. The last California county to have been established is Imperial County in 1907.

San Diego County, California

San Diego County Education, Geography, and HistorySan Diego County, Califronia Courthouse

San Diego County is a county located in the southwestern corner of the state of California. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 3,095,313. making it the second-most populous county in California and the fifth-most populous. The county seat is San Diego, the eighth-most populous city. The county is the south-westernmost county in the 48 contiguous United States. San Diego was formed on February 18, 1850. The county is named after San Diego Bay, which had been rechristened by Vizcaino in 1602, in honor of the Franciscan, San Diego de Alcala de Henares.

San Diego County comprises the San Diego-Carlsbad, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is also part of the San Diego-Tijuana metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area shared between the United States and Mexico.

Etymology - Origin of San Diego County Name

The county is named after San Diego Bay, which had been rechristened by Vizcaino in 1602, in honor of the Franciscan, San Diego de Alcala de Henares, whose name was borne by his flagship.


County QuickFacts:

CensusBureau Quick Facts

San Diego County History

San Diego County was one of the original counties of California, and was created at the time of statehood in 1850. The county is named after San Diego Bay, which had been rechristened in 1602 in honor of the Franciscan, San Diego de Alcala de Henares, whose name was borne by his flagship.

As originally created in 1850 San Diego County was quite large and included most of southeastern California south and east of Los Angeles County. As such it included major parts of what are now Inyo, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Imperial counties.

The later part of the 19th century witnessed numerous realignments of county boundaries. The most recent changes were the creation of Riverside County, in 1893, and Imperial County, in 1907

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,526 sq mi (11,721 km2). 4,200 sq mi (10,878 km2) of it is land and 326 sq mi (843 km2) of it (7.20%) is water.

San Diego County has diverse landscape.  The western side is seventy miles of coastline. Snow-capped mountains rise to the northeast. The Sonoran Desert to the far east. Cleveland National Forest is spread across the central portion of the county  and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park occupies most of the northeast.

North San Diego County is known locally as "North County"; the exact geographic definitions of "North County" vary, but it includes the northern suburbs and sometimes certain northern neighborhoods of the city of San Diego.

The eastern suburbs are known as "East County", however most still lie in the western third of the county. The southern suburbs and southern separated portion of the City of San Diego, extending to the Mexican border, is referred to as "South Bay".

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Riverside County
  • East: Imperial County
  • South: Baja California
  • West: North Pacific Ocean
  • Northwest: Orange County


San Diego County contains three public state universities: University of California, San Diego; San Diego State University; and California State University, San Marcos. Major private universities in the county include University of San Diego (USD), Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU), Alliant International University (AIU), and National University.

Within the county there are 24 public elementary school districts, 6 high school districts, and 12 unified school districts. There are also 5 community college districts.

There are two separate public library systems in San Diego County: the San Diego Public Library serving the city of San Diego, and the San Diego County Library serving all other areas of the county. In 2010 the county library had 33 branches and two bookmobiles; circulated over 10.7 million books, CDs, DVDs, and other material formats; recorded 5.7 million visits to library branches; and hosted 21,132 free programs and events. The San Diego County Library is one of the 25 busiest libraries in the nation as measured by materials circulated

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