The 10 Cheapest San Diego, CA Neighborhoods To Live In For 2021


We used science and data to determine which neighborhoods in San Diego are the cheapest of the cheap.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our third time ranking the cheapest neighborhoods to live in San Diego.
Cheapest Neighborhoods In San Diego

Everything else equal, I think we can all agree that living in a cheaper place is better than living in a more expensive place.

I'd much rather pay $500/mo in rent than $1,000. And I'd rather pay $2 for coffee than $5.

And while every neighbhorhood in San Diego might be more expensive than living in rural California, there are certain neighborhoods that are definitely cheaper.

So what exactly are those San Diego neighborhoods where your dollar goes a little further -- you can get that one bedroom instead of the studio?

Instead of relying on public opinion and speculation, we wanted to get the facts straight and find out which neighborhoods in San Diego are the cheapest.

What's the cheapest neighborhood to live in San Diego for 2021? According to the most recent census data, Gaslamp Quarter looks to be the cheaptest San Diego neighborhood to live in.

At this point we should make it clear that you do get what you pay for -- some of these neighborhoods might not be the best places to live in San Diego. You could be sacrificing location or crime rates in return for more space and cheaper groceries.

Read on to see how we determined the places around San Diego that deserve a little bragging rights or maybe you're interested in the worst neighborhoods in San Diego.

Once you're done, you can look at the bottom of the story for a complete chart of every neighborhood we looked at from cheapest to most expensive.

For more California reading, check out:

How We Determined The Cheapest San Diego Hoods In 2021

In order to rank the cheapest places to live in San Diego, we had to determine what criteria defines "cheap".

Using census and extrapolated BLS data, we arrived at the following set of criteria:

  • Overall Cost Of Living
  • Rent To Income Ratio
  • Median Home Value To Income Ratio

We then ranked each neighborhood with scores from 1 to 85 in each category, where 1 was the cheapest.

Next, we averaged the rankings for each neighborhood to create a cheap neighborhood index.

And finally, we crowned the neighborhood with the lowest cheapest neighborhood index the "Cheapest City Neighborhood In San Diego." We're lookin' at you, Gaslamp Quarter.

Read on below to learn more about what it's like to live in the cheapest places San Diego. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the neighborhoods in the city from cheapest to most expensive.

The 10 Cheapest Neighborhoods To Live In San Diego For 2021

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 1,083
Cost Of Living Index: 113 (5th cheapest)
Home Value To Income Ratio: 4.1 (6th cheapest)
Rent To Income Ratio: 0.022 (48th cheapest)
More on Gaslamp Quarter: Homes For Sale | Data

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 16,126
Cost Of Living Index: 113 (5th cheapest)
Home Value To Income Ratio: 3.2 (2nd cheapest)
Rent To Income Ratio: 0.023 (53rd cheapest)
More on Nestor: Homes For Sale | Data

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 22,838
Cost Of Living Index: 130 (30th cheapest)
Home Value To Income Ratio: 4.2 (10th cheapest)
Rent To Income Ratio: 0.02 (29th cheapest)
More on Bay Terrace: Homes For Sale | Data

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 28,456
Cost Of Living Index: 116 (8th cheapest)
Home Value To Income Ratio: 5.4 (3cheapest)
Rent To Income Ratio: 0.02 (30th cheapest)
More on San Ysidro: Homes For Sale | Data

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 7,132
Cost Of Living Index: 118 (10th cheapest)
Home Value To Income Ratio: 3.8 (4th cheapest)
Rent To Income Ratio: 0.023 (59th cheapest)
More on Palm City: Homes For Sale | Data

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 10,383
Cost Of Living Index: 124 (18th cheapest)
Home Value To Income Ratio: 5.4 (30th cheapest)
Rent To Income Ratio: 0.02 (34th cheapest)
More on Webster: Homes For Sale | Data

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 3,770
Cost Of Living Index: 103 (cheapest)
Home Value To Income Ratio: 2.9 (cheapest)
Rent To Income Ratio: 0.033 (83rd cheapest)
More on Core: Homes For Sale | Data

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 71,228
Cost Of Living Index: 144 (52nd cheapest)
Home Value To Income Ratio: 4.3 (11th cheapest)
Rent To Income Ratio: 0.019 (23rd cheapest)
More on Mira Mesa: Homes For Sale | Data

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 9,210
Cost Of Living Index: 133 (35th cheapest)
Home Value To Income Ratio: 4.2 (9th cheapest)
Rent To Income Ratio: 0.022 (43rd cheapest)
More on Alta Vista: Homes For Sale | Data

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 10,572
Cost Of Living Index: 128 (23rd cheapest)
Home Value To Income Ratio: 5.2 (25th cheapest)
Rent To Income Ratio: 0.021 (40th cheapest)
More on Sky Line: Homes For Sale | Data

Summing Up The Cheapest Places In San Diego

If you're measuring the neighborhoods in San Diego where prices are low and it's cheap to live, this is an accurate list.

As we mentioned earlier, the neighborhoods in San Diego aren't all cheap. Park West takes the title of the most expensive neighborhood to live in San Diego.

We ranked the neighborhoods from cheapest to most expensive in the chart below.

For more California reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Cheapest Neighborhoods To Live In San Diego For 2021

Rank Neighborhood Cost Of Living Index
1 Gaslamp Quarter 113
2 Nestor 113
3 Bay Terrace 130
4 San Ysidro 116
5 Palm City 118
6 Webster 124
7 Core 103
8 Mira Mesa 144
9 Alta Vista 133
10 Sky Line 128
11 Encanto 128
12 Midtown District 122
13 Jomacha-Lomita 129
14 Tierrasanta 147
15 Sorrento Valley 148
16 Chollas View 117
17 Columbia 144
18 Paradise Hills 127
19 Allied Gardens 131
20 City Heights East 109
21 San Carlos 155
22 Balboa Park 136
23 Rancho Penasquitos 164
24 Grantville 129
25 Mission Valley 132
26 Bird Land 134
27 Oak Park 123
28 Gateway 133
29 Darnall 130
30 Scripps Ranch 165
31 Bario Logan 111
32 Clairemont Mesa 141
33 Emerald Hills 127
34 Old Town 149
35 Carmel Mountain 163
36 Talmadge 132
37 Carmel Valley 191
38 Kearny Mesa 137
39 Lake Murray 144
40 Mission Bay 138
41 Cortez Hill 114
42 Rancho Bernadino 160
43 Sabre Springs 162
44 Egger Highlands 123
45 El Cerritos 129
46 Valencia Park 129
47 Del Cerro 159
48 Serra Mesa 138
49 Kensington 156
50 North Hills 142
51 Marina 152
52 Little Italy 144
53 North Clairemont 145
54 South Park 149
55 Southcrest 120
56 Linda Vista 137
57 East Village 134
58 Bay Ho 156
59 Normal Heights 133
60 Mountain View 113
61 Midtown 145
62 City Heights West 119
63 Torrey Pines 190
64 La Jolla Village 142
65 North City 224
66 West University Heights 145
67 Moreno Mission 136
68 Bay Park 158
69 Roseville 178
70 University City 151
71 Del Mar Heights 223
72 Wooded Area 186
73 Mount Hope 124
74 College Area 141
75 Horton Plaza 138
76 Grant Hill 125
77 Loma Portal 157
78 Memorial 123
79 La Jolla 252
80 Ocean Beach 171
81 Pacific Beach 167
82 Lincoln Park 128
83 Rolando 139
84 Tijuana River Valley 160
85 Park West 161

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.

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