The 10 Best San Diego Suburbs To Live In For 2022

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

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Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2022. This is our ninth time ranking the best San Diego suburbs.

There's no doubt about it; San Diego is one of the best places to call home in California. But if you're not a big-city person, you'd be well advised to consult our list of the best San Diego suburbs before moving to one.

San Diego has some of the nicest weather in the country, so you'd better believe its satellite cities also have their moments in the sun. From any of these suburbs, you can also easily get to one of the best zoos in the world, the San Diego Zoo, for a day of family fun. Beach bums also have a lot to be happy about with La Jolla Cove right in their backyard. And NYC's Central Park is cute and all, but San Diego's Balboa Park is nearly twice the size and definitely twice as safe as the Big Apple's claim to fame.

What qualities did we look at when determining the best San Diego suburbs? Well, we looked at the most recent data from the FBI and the Census to see which of San Diego's 17 suburbs had low crime, high income levels, low unemployment and poverty rates, and functioning economies.

That left us with the ten best suburbs to call home in the San Diego area. It seems that coastal suburbs, which comprise the top five of our list, enjoyed a significant statistical advantage. Large cities like Oceanside hardly feel like suburbs at all, and might make a good option for someone who doesn't want to feel the need to head into San Diego every day. Those with deep pockets who want the best of California beach life will be drawn to Coronado, but be warned that the cost of living here is quite steep. Those who don't mind eschewing the beach will find massive savings in Santee, one of the few places on this list you can snag a home for under $500,000.

So don your Padres cap, order up some of the best Mexican food this side of the border, and get ready for the best weather of your life, because we're visiting San Diego's best suburbs.

Here are the 10 best suburbs to live around San Diego for 2022:

  1. Del Mar
  2. Coronado
  3. Solana Beach
  4. Encinitas
  5. Carlsbad
  6. Poway
  7. Santee
  8. San Marcos
  9. La Mesa
  10. Oceanside

There you have it: the best suburbs San Diego has to offer. If you're unsure if you'd feel more at home in San Diego than just outside it, check out our list of San Diego's best neighborhoods. Then you'll be equipped with all the info you need to make a fully-informed decision.

Any of these suburbs will make an excellent home, but there can only be one gold medal winner. So what's the best San Diego suburb? According to the data, Del Mar holds the title for 2022.

Were you considering moving to a San Diego suburb that wasn't featured on our list? Take a look at the comprehensive list of San Diego suburbs below to see how each one ranked.

Note: This result may differ from our state wide data as we did not include commute times and crime for this analysis to allow for a larger selection of suburbs.

Feel free to check out some more reading about California:

The 10 Best San Diego Suburbs To Live For 2022

Del Mar is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the San Diego area. We'll tell you the good about "Awesome Del Mar."

Everyone here is rich; families average $161,705 a year, which is the highest in the San Diego region. And only 2.0% are out of work. Homes average more than $2,000,001 each.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,331
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $161,705
Unemployment Rate: 2.0%
Poverty Rate: 4.6%
More on Del Mar: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Del Mar, CA

Coronado is the second best 'burb we looked at near San Diego for 2022.

It ranks 5th for incomes in the area and only 3.1% of residents lack insurance, good for 2nd best.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 24,526
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Income: $108,992
Unemployment Rate: 4.0%
Poverty Rate: 5.8%
More on Coronado: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Coronado, CA

Here in Solana Beach, 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 Solana Beach.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,301
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Income: $106,904
Unemployment Rate: 2.4%
Poverty Rate: 4.8%
More on Solana Beach: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Solana Beach, CA

Encinitas ranks as the 4th best suburb of San Diego for 2022.

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.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 62,967
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $120,488
Unemployment Rate: 4.2%
Poverty Rate: 7.2%
More on Encinitas: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Encinitas, CA

Coming in as the fifth best is Carlsbad.

Carlsbad gets kudos for having the 5th most expensive homes in the San Diego area, where houses sell for an average of $857,300. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 114,411
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Income: $112,933
Unemployment Rate: 5.8%
Poverty Rate: 6.6%
More on Carlsbad: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Carlsbad, CA

Source: Public domain

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 6.48% which is 12th 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.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 49,780
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $115,332
Unemployment Rate: 6.5%
Poverty Rate: 4.8%
More on Poway: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Poway, CA

Source: Public domain

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.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 57,407
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Income: $85,826
Unemployment Rate: 5.6%
Poverty Rate: 8.1%
More on Santee: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Santee, CA

San Marcos 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 7.98% of people lack insurance, good for 12th in the area.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 96,219
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Income: $86,408
Unemployment Rate: 4.1%
Poverty Rate: 10.0%
More on San Marcos: Real Estate | Data | Photos

San Marcos, CA

Source: Public domain

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.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 60,208
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Income: $71,287
Unemployment Rate: 6.5%
Poverty Rate: 12.4%
More on La Mesa: Real Estate | Data | Photos

La Mesa, CA

And rounding out the top ten for 2022 is Oceanside.

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.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 175,694
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Median Income: $75,411
Unemployment Rate: 5.7%
Poverty Rate: 9.6%
More on Oceanside: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Oceanside, CA

Methodology: How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around San Diego for 2022

Figuring out the best suburbs 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 for 2016-2020 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, Del Mar. You can download the data here.

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.

Summary: Welcome to the Best San Diego 'Burbs of 2022

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 Del Mar, CA 4,331 $161,705
2 Coronado, CA 24,526 $108,992
3 Solana Beach, CA 13,301 $106,904
4 Encinitas, CA 62,967 $120,488
5 Carlsbad, CA 114,411 $112,933
6 Poway, CA 49,780 $115,332
7 Santee, CA 57,407 $85,826
8 San Marcos, CA 96,219 $86,408
9 La Mesa, CA 60,208 $71,287
10 Oceanside, CA 175,694 $75,411
11 Chula Vista, CA 268,779 $86,132
12 Vista, CA 100,659 $73,163
13 Imperial Beach, CA 27,334 $59,795
14 Lemon Grove, CA 26,739 $66,953
15 El Cajon, CA 103,249 $56,367
16 Escondido, CA 150,396 $65,326
17 Spring Valley, CA 5,172 $50,549

How Is Your Town In ?

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.