San Luis Obispo, CA
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Living in San Luis Obispo


San Luis Obispo is a medium-sized coastal city (i.e. on the ocean, a bay, or inlet) located in the state of California. With a population of 47,339 people and 14 constituent neighborhoods, San Luis Obispo is the 188th largest community in California.

Housing costs in San Luis Obispo are among some of the highest in the nation, although real estate prices here don't compare to real estate prices in the most expensive communities in California.

San Luis Obispo is a decidedly white-collar city, with fully 90.25% of the workforce employed in white-collar jobs, well above the national average. Overall, San Luis Obispo is a city of professionals, sales and office workers, and service providers. There are especially a lot of people living in San Luis Obispo who work in office and administrative support (13.52%), sales jobs (12.80%), and food service (10.30%).

Also of interest is that San Luis Obispo has more people living here who work in computers and math than 95% of the places in the US.

In addition, San Luis Obispo is a major college town that has a very high percentage of its residents over 18 years old who are college students. Naturally, collegiate life has a major influence on local San Luis Obispo culture, lifestyle and entertainment options. San Luis Obispo really pulses to the beat of the academic calendar. In San Luis Obispo every fall, returning students reinvigorate the community, who you will notice are all over town, buying groceries, out with friends, and getting acquainted or re-acquainted with each other and San Luis Obispo. One of the beneficial effects that colleges provide is that they tend to be lasting institutions that deliver direct economic benefits to the local economy in the form of such things as jobs for faculty and staff, and spending by students. San Luis Obispo benefits directly from this.

One of the nice things about San Luis Obispo is that it is nautical, which means that parts of it are somewhat historic and touch the ocean or tidal bodies of water, such as inlets and bays. Because of this, visitors and locals will often go to these areas to take in the scenery or to enjoy waterfront activities.

One of the benefits of San Luis Obispo is that there is very little traffic. The average commute to work is 16.30 minutes, which is substantially less than the national average. Not only does this mean that the drive to work is less aggravating, but noise and pollution levels are lower as a result.

San Luis Obispo is one of the most well-educated cities in the nation. 49.58% of adults in San Luis Obispo have at least a bachelor's degree. Compare that to the average community in America, which has just 21.84% with a bachelor's degree or higher.

The per capita income in San Luis Obispo in 2010 was $26,377, which is middle income relative to California, and upper middle income relative to the rest of the US. This equates to an annual income of $105,508 for a family of four. However, San Luis Obispo contains both very wealthy and poor people as well. San Luis Obispo also has one of the higher rates of people living in poverty in the nation, with 32.89% of its population below the federal poverty line.

San Luis Obispo is a somewhat ethnically-diverse city. The people who call San Luis Obispo home describe themselves as belonging to a variety of racial and ethnic groups. The greatest number of San Luis Obispo residents report their race to be White, followed by Asian. San Luis Obispo also has a sizeable Hispanic population (people of Hispanic origin can be of any race). People of Hispanic or Latino origin account for 16.84% of the city’s residents. Important ancestries of people in San Luis Obispo include Irish, English, Italian, and French .

The most common language spoken in San Luis Obispo is English. Other important languages spoken here include Spanish and Chinese.