San Luis Obispo, CA
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San Luis Obispo profile


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 47,459 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 87.80% 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 sales jobs (11.65%), management occupations (10.88%), and food service (10.61%).

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.

San Luis Obispo is also a major college town with a large number of people who are 18 years or older and attending college. As is often the case in college towns, the many students that live in San Luis Obispo have a strong influence on the local culture and entertainment scene, which may seem dormant by comparison in the summer months when much of the student population is away. In the fall, the return of students has a reinvigorating effect on the community. Because colleges are lasting institutions, they have a stabilizing effect on the economy by providing direct local benefits such as jobs for faculty and staff and spending by students. San Luis Obispo’s economy is one such example of this.

San Luis Obispo, while not large, also appears to be attractive to some younger, educated professionals, who help shape the character of the city.

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 16.99 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.

The citizens of San Luis Obispo are among the most well-educated in the nation: 49.62% of adults in San Luis Obispo have a bachelor's degree or even advanced degree, whereas the average US city has 21.84% holding at least a bachelor's degree.

The per capita income in San Luis Obispo in 2018 was $31,917, 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 $127,668 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 31.84% of its population below the federal poverty line.

San Luis Obispo is a very 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 18.28% of the city’s residents. Important ancestries of people in San Luis Obispo include German, Irish, English, Italian, and European.

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