Introduction to San Marcos, California

Located in the northern portion of California's San Diego County is the city of San Marcos. Situated 35 miles north of San Diego and about 95 miles south of Los Angeles, San Marcos is bisected by California State Highway 78. Adjacent to Interstate I-15, the city is also easily accessible to I-5, I-805 and State Highway 76. Nearby towns include Vista (to the northwest), Escondido (to the east), and Rancho Bernardo (to the south). The city is home to the local campus of California State University (Cal State) and also to Palomar College.

San Marcos History

San Marcos derived its name from the name given to the surrounding valley by Spaniards in the late 18th century ("Los Vallecitos de San Marcos," which translates to "Little Valleys of St. Mark"). Settlement began nearly a century later when the San Marcos Land Company bought the former Los Vallecitos de San Marcos land grant and divided the land into tracts and sold them. Arrival of the Santa Fe Railroad nearby spurred the area's development, and by the early part of the 20th century farming, dairy and poultry production became prominent elements of the San Marcos economy. Incorporated in 1963, the city began to grow rapidly and by the 1980s became one of the fastest growing cities in California. Cal State's decision to build its new campus in San Marcos in 1989 was a turning point in ushering in the city's current state of fast-forward development.

San Marcos Attractions

Music and fine arts are active in San Marcos and North San Diego County. Theatre West is the city's youth drama program, offering five elaborate shows per year at the Hearth Theater. The Performing Arts Center at Palomar College showcases student and professional dramatic works. For outdoor recreation enthusiasts, San Marcos boasts 22 golf courses within a 30-minute drive of the city, including the course at Lake San Marcos and the Aviara and La Costa resort golf courses. Hiking, camping and biking are available nearby; and skiing and snowboarding can be found only two hours to the north in the San Bernardino Mountains. Events in San Marcos include the Grand Summer Festival, an August celebration featuring specialty foods and micro-brews, live blues & jazz performances, and one of the largest classic car shows in San Diego County. In March, the city celebrates its Carnival of Cultures, an international carnival where representatives from different ethnic groups host booths featuring international cuisine, traditional arts & crafts and children's activities. Performances by multi-cultural dancers, singers and musicians take place throughout the event.


Total Population 89,578
Male Share of the Population 48.7%
Female Share of the Population 51.3%
Senior Citizens 11.1%
Employed Population 16+ 39,134
Age of the Population 35


% of people married 50.6%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 29.7%
Median Earnings25+ $36,201
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $22,090
Median Earnings With High School Degree $27,382


Median Family Income $65,746
% Above Poverty Level 84%
% Below Poverty Level 16%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 25 minutes
% Working from Home 4.5%
% Walking and Biking to Work 1.9%
% Using Public Transportation 1.4%


People Living Alone 20.7%
Median Gross Rent $1,318
Median House Value $393,500


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 53.7%
US/American 0.1%
English 14.4%
Irish 8.2%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

San Marcos Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 29 miles N of San Diego, California
County San Diego
Metro Area San Diego
Standard Zip Codes 92069, 92078
P.O. Box Zip Codes 92079
Company Zip Codes 92096
Phone Area Codes 760
Time Zone Pacific (-8 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 33.143
Longitude -117.165

San Marcos Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 4.2 miles
Jan Temp 43 to 69 F
Apr Temp 50 to 75 F
Jul Temp 62 to 89 F
Oct Temp 55 to 81 F
Annual Precip 15.1 inches
Distance 10 miles
Jan Temp 39 to 70 F
Apr Temp 46 to 76 F
Jul Temp 58 to 90 F
Oct Temp 50 to 83 F
Annual Precip 14 inches
Distance 15.2 miles
Jan Temp 42 to 69 F
Apr Temp 48 to 71 F
Jul Temp 60 to 81 F
Oct Temp 53 to 78 F
Annual Precip 13.2 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Carlsbad 110,830 $107,278
Encinitas 61,682 $114,496
Escondido 149,079 $55,825
Oceanside 173,050 $68,352
Solana Beach 13,253 $116,069
Vista 97,564 $55,646

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

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  • Business Administration - Property Management (BS)
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San Marcos
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UNC Kenan-Flagler is one of the world's top-ranked business schools. At UNC Kenan-Flagler, you develop the skills that make you a highly effective leader and prepare you for long-term career success. The strength of the UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA degree comes from a school culture in which members live the business school's core values of excellence, leadership, teamwork, integrity and community.
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San Marcos High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Serves 3,123 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 25.3

A Non-traditional School
Serves 198 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 15.5

A Non-traditional School
Serves 126 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 50.4

A Special Education School
Serves 19 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 19

A Non-traditional School
Serves 19 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.3

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