Demographics of El Cajon, California


El Cajon is a city located in San Diego County, California. With a population of over 100,000 residents, it is the largest city in San Diego County outside of the city of San Diego. El Cajon is known for its diversity, with large immigrant populations from various parts of the world.

Some key facts about the demographics of El Cajon:

  • Population: 103,871 (2020 Census)
  • Median Age: 34.1 years old
  • Racial Diversity:
    • White: 63.4%
    • Hispanic/Latino: 29.9%
    • Asian: 5.3%
    • Black/African American: 3.0%
    • Two or more races: 3.7%
  • Foreign Born Population: 20.4%
  • Median Household Income: $50,648 (2019 dollars)

Below we’ll take a deeper look at the racial makeup, age distribution, household income, and other demographic factors that define the population of El Cajon.

Racial Makeup

El Cajon is known for its racial and ethnic diversity, with large immigrant populations from various parts of the world. Here is a breakdown of the major racial groups in El Cajon:


  • 63.4% of the population
  • Mostly European ancestry, but also includes those from the Middle East and North Africa
  • Largest European ethnic groups are German, Irish, and English


  • 29.9% of the population
  • Mostly of Mexican descent, but also Salvadoran, Guatemalan, and other Latin American groups
  • Spanish is widely spoken as a second language


  • 5.3% of the population
  • Includes Chinese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Korean, and Asian Indian groups
  • Newer immigrant groups from Southeast Asia and South Asia
  • Concentrated in neighborhoods like Little Saigon and Mid-City

Black/African American

  • 3.0% of the population
  • Mostly American-born blacks, as well as immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean
  • African refugee populations from Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia

Two or More Races

  • 3.7% of the population
  • Growing multiracial population, especially among younger residents

Age Distribution

El Cajon has a relatively young population, with a median age of 34.1 years old. Here is the age breakdown for the city:

Under 18

  • 24.4% of the population
  • Mostly concentrated in families with younger children
  • Neighborhoods with more families tend to have higher concentration of minors

18-34 Years Old

  • 21.7% of the population
  • Young professionals and workforce participants
  • High concentrations in apartment complexes and downtown area

35-54 Years Old

  • 25.4% of the population
  • Established families and homeowners
  • Areas with more single-family homes tend to be majority in this age group

55-64 Years Old

  • 12.8% of the population
  • People transitioning into retirement
  • Higher rates of homeownership

65 Years and Over

  • 15.7% of the population
  • Mostly retirees and seniors
  • Concentrated in certain neighborhoods and senior living facilities

El Cajon’s large population of residents under 35 reflects its popularity among young families and young professionals in the San Diego region. The city’s senior population is also growing as residents age in place.

Household Income

The median household income in El Cajon is $50,648 (in 2019 dollars), which is below the California state average of $75,235. Here is the household income distribution:

  • 20.3% earn less than $25,000 per year
  • 33.1% earn $25,000 to $75,000 per year
  • 30.2% earn $75,000 to $150,000 per year
  • 16.4% earn more than $150,000 per year

While El Cajon has a sizable middle class population, it also has pockets of poverty and low-income households. Areas with higher rates of poverty include central El Cajon and neighborhoods near the 8 freeway. Wealthier enclaves include Rancho San Diego and areas near Mt. Helix.

Foreign Born Population

20.4% of El Cajon residents are foreign born, which is just above the national average of 13.7%. The top countries of origin for immigrants are:

  • Mexico: 8.3% of residents
  • Philippines: 2.1%
  • Iraq: 1.5%
  • Vietnam: 0.9%
  • China: 0.7%

Other immigrant groups from Central America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia also call El Cajon home. These diverse immigrant populations contribute to the city’s multicultural character, especially through small businesses and cuisine.

Popular commercial corridors for ethnic businesses include Main Street (Mexican and Middle Eastern shops) and El Cajon Blvd (Vietnamese, Chinese, African stores). Second generation immigrants are also rising in influence and leadership.


Among El Cajon residents 25 years and over, high school is the highest level of educational attainment for 29.3% of residents. 21.6% have some college experience but no degree. 19.3% have an Associate’s degree, while 16.7% have a Bachelor’s degree. 13.1% have a graduate or professional degree.

El Cajon is served by the Cajon Valley Union School District for grades K-8 and Grossmont Union High School District for grades 9-12. Higher education options include Cuyamaca Community College located in the city. Proximity to San Diego also provides access to several major universities.

Some neighborhoods have higher levels of educational attainment, such as Rancho San Diego. But overall, El Cajon is near the state average for the percent of residents with a college degree.


The top religious affiliations among El Cajon residents are:

  • Catholic: 29%
  • Evangelical Protestant: 20%
  • Mainline Protestant: 12%
  • Orthodox Christian: 4%
  • Other Christian: 3%
  • Mormon: 2%
  • Muslim: 2%
  • Buddhist: 1%
  • Hindu: 1%
  • Other faiths: 3%
  • Unaffiliated: 23%

El Cajon has high rates of religious diversity due to its immigrant populations. There are churches, temples, mosques, and religious centers representing faiths from around the world. The Islamic Center of San Diego in El Cajon is one of the largest mosques in the region. Many religious celebrations and festivals take place in the city throughout the year.

At the same time, nearly a quarter of residents do not identify with any particular religion, reflecting California’s openness to secular and non-institutional spirituality.


There are 36,401 housing units in El Cajon, the majority of which are single-family detached homes (57%) and apartments (38%). Other housing options include townhomes, condominiums, mobile homes, and senior living facilities.

The median home value in El Cajon is $456,100 (Zillow estimate as of Nov 2022). Median rent for a 1 bedroom apartment is $1,695 per month. Housing costs have been rapidly increasing in line with the rest of San Diego County.

Areas with newer housing stock, like Rancho San Diego, tend to be more expensive. Older neighborhoods built in the mid-20th century have more variation in housing prices depending on location. Downtown El Cajon has seen some new apartments and condos in recent years as part of revitalization efforts.


The average one-way commute time for El Cajon workers is 29.7 minutes. Most residents rely on cars for transportation:

  • Drive alone to work: 80.9%
  • Carpool: 10.7%
  • Public transit: 2.6%
  • Other means: 5.8%

Interstates 8 and 15 and State Routes 52, 67, and 125 provide major highway access. Public transit is provided by the Metropolitan Transit System bus and trolley network. The El Cajon Transit Center serves as a hub for bus routes connecting to San Diego.

El Cajon is not as bikeable as some San Diego communities, but there are bike lanes on several major thoroughfares. Walkability varies by neighborhood, with more pedestrian friendly infrastructure planned around downtown.

Growth and Development

El Cajon experienced its biggest population boom between the 1950s and 1980s. Growth leveled off over the 1990s and 2000s. The city is now going through another period of investment and revitalization.

Recent development projects include:

  • Downtown redevelopment – new apartments, stores, dining, entertainment venues
  • Parks upgrades – new playgrounds, walking paths, skate parks, dog parks
  • Public facilities – new police station, renovated library and community centers
  • Streetscape improvements – sidewalks, landscaping, lighting

Some new businesses expanding into El Cajon include boutique hotels, breweries, fitness studios, and tech firms seeking lower cost office space compared to downtown San Diego.

More sidewalk cafes, farmer’s markets, public art, and events are creating a more vibrant downtown scene. But challenges remain around homelessness and the need for more affordable housing. Ongoing demographic changes will impact how El Cajon evolves in the future.


In summary, El Cajon is racially diverse, relatively young, middle income, and home to immigrants from around the world. It’s growing through a combination of new development and the arrival of young families and professionals seeking a more affordable alternative to pricey coastal cities.

The wide mix of cultures is evident in the city’s commercial areas, religious sites, festivals, and cuisine. But there are still economic disparities divided across geographic lines. El Cajon’s changing demographics will shape how the city addresses issues like housing, transportation, education and recreation in the years ahead.


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  • Begin your journey in downtown San Diego. Head northwest on Interstate 5 N. Take exit 17A for Balboa Ave. Keep left at the fork, following signs for Kearny Villa Rd. Merge onto Balboa Ave, then turn right onto Ronson Ct. Our suite, A, awaits on the left.
  • If you’re arriving at San Diego International Airport, exit onto Harbor Dr. Head northeast on Harbor Dr, then merge onto I-5 N. After about 5 miles, take exit 17A for Balboa Ave. Follow the signs for Kearny Villa Rd, turning right onto Balboa Ave. Finally, turn right onto Ronson Ct, and you’ll find us at Suite A.
  • Commencing your journey in La Jolla, take La Jolla Pkwy toward I-5 S. Merge onto I-5 S and continue for approximately 7 miles. Take exit 18 for Balboa Ave. Turn left onto Balboa Ave and then make a right onto Ronson Ct. Our suite, A, is conveniently located on the left side.