San Diego County vs. Orange County

Are you considering making the move to either San Diego County or Orange County but can’t decide between the two? Well, you’ve come to the right place. This blog post will show you the similarities and differences between these two great areas and help you decide on a winner based on what they have to offer. Read on to find out how San Diego County compares to Orange County. 



In terms of schooling and education, both San Diego County and Orange County have plenty to offer. In Orange County, the County Department of Education is jointly overseen by the five-member Orange County Board of Education and the elected County Superintendent of Schools. Their school system is also completely separate from the County government. 

On the other hand, San Diego County offers three public state universities; San Diego State University, University of California, San Diego, and California State University, San Marcos. Its major private universities include Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU), National University, and Alliant International University (AIU). Furthermore, there are 24 public elementary school districts, two unified school districts, six high school districts, and five community college districts. As you can see, there are plenty of education options in San Diego county. 

Crime Rates

Overall, crime rates in both counties are low, with San Diego’s crime rate coming in at 19% lower than the state’s average. Here are a few major Orange County cities in comparison: 

  • Irvine has 51% lower crime rate compared to California
  • Huntington Beach has 19% lower crime rate compared to California
  • Santa Ana has 11% lower crime rate compared to California
  • Anaheim has 4% lower crime rate compared to California 

Along with San Diego, Irvine and Huntington Beach are some of the safest cities in Southern California. 

History of the Towns

History of the Towns

In its early days, the Luiseño, Juaneño, and the Tongva Native American groups inhabited the area that is now Orange County. However, the area was renamed “Valle de Santa Ana” by Junipero Serra during a Spanish expedition in 1769, which translates to Valley of Saint Anne. A few years later, the first permanent European settlement was established on November 1, 1776. Among them were José Antonio Yorba and José Manuel Nieto, who were both given land rights, paving the way to many of the areas that exist today. 

The area which we now know as San Diego County was inhabited for over 12,000 years by the Payómkawichum (Luiseño), Kumeyaay (also called Diegueno and Ipai/Tipai), ʔívil̃uqaletem (Cahuilla), Acjachemen (Juaneño), and the Kuupangaxwichem (Cupeño) Indians. But in 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, an explorer, claimed San Diego Bay on behalf of the Spanish Empire, naming the site San Miguel. In 1769, the founding of Mission San Diego de Alcalá and San Diego Presidio began the European settlement of what is known as San Diego County today. 

Things To Do (Eat, Drink, Activities)

Both San Diego County and Orange County have plenty to offer when it comes to food and activities. Thanks to San Diego’s Spanish past and its proximity to Mexico, it has amazing cuisine. It offers staples such as tacos, enchiladas, carne asada, all featuring a combination of fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, avocados, eggplants, and fruits, which are grown locally. 

Furthermore, the craft beer scene in San Diego is among the best in California, where the multi-award-winning Societe and Ballast Point production breweries are taking the lead. Additionally, the Toronado craft pub offers 56 rotating draughts and isn’t to be missed. Lastly, surfers looking for the perfect wave will be right at home in San Diego County, where their world-renowned beaches host the WSL competitions between May and September. 

Orange County also has delicious food and unique places to visit, with The Ranch providing a true taste of the American West. Some of the food options you’ll find here range from decadent steaks, fresh seafood, and some of the most extraordinary wine. If you’re interested in wildlife, the Orange County Zoo should be on your bucket list, where you’ll see coyotes, mountain lions, and bald eagles up close and personal. 

Housing Market

The housing market between San Diego County and Orange County vary greatly, and to effectively show you these differences, we’ve compiled the table below: 

Median Property ValueSan Diego County Orange County National Average 
2017 Value $563,800$679,400
2018 Value $606,200$709,800$229,700
Increase Percentage 7.52%4.47%
Homeownership Rate53.1%57.4%63.9%

These statistics show that both San Diego County and Orange County have higher property values compared to the rest of the country. However, properties in San Diego are rising at a faster rate than that of Orange County, so it’s best to invest as soon as possible. 


The average commute time in Orange County is 26.4 minutes, a longer commute time than the average US worker. On the other hand, San Diego County has an average commute time of 24.9 minutes, which is still under the average times recorded throughout the rest of the country. 


San Diego is classified as having a Mediterranean climate, where the summers are hot, sunny, and dry, while winters are wetter and cooler. However, San Diego is more arid than typical Mediterranean climates, with temperatures ranging from 57.3 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Summers in Orange County are also known to be warm, clear, and dry, although they are also short. Winters here are longer, partly cloudy, and cool, where the temperatures vary from 45 to 85 degrees. 



Both San Diego and Orange County are known around the world for their beaches and surf culture. However, only San Diego delivers on both big waves and picturesque beaches. Some of the best beaches in San Diego are: 

  • La Jolla Cove Beach
  • Pacific Beach or PB
  • Coronado Beach

Some of the best beaches found in Orange County are: 

  • Huntington City Beach
  • Corona del Mar State Beach
  • San Clemente Pier Beach

Both Counties offer various advantages and benefits in living there. However, we believe that San Diego is the winning choice. With plenty of things to do and gorgeous beaches right at your doorstep, it’s all a young professional could ask for. Furthermore, families will also enjoy living life here. With several great schools and a low crime rate, you will find a welcoming place to call home in San Diego County. 

When you’re ready to move to San Diego County, the team at Gluch Group can help you find the perfect home for you and your family. Contact our office today to see our current listings. 619-285-2301

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