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September 10, 2014 / patrickbelhon

San Diego Earns Top-10 Ranking as an Upwardly Mobile City

San Diego is considered by many to be one of the best places to call home in the entire United States. Best known for its beautiful beaches and its mild Mediterranean climate, the more than 1.3 million residents of the nation’s 8th largest city can tell you dozens of other reasons why San Diego is a great place to live.

San Diego view from the pier
Report on Upward Mobility

In a 2014 report published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, San Diego was listed as one of the Top-10 cities for upward mobility. Where is the Land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the US, showed that your chances of achieving greater financial success than your parents, and moving up the socio-economic ladder, improved if you are luck enough to grow up in one of the 10-listed cities. 

The study compared the income of individuals born between 1980-1982 (people roughly 30 years old) to the income of their parents. It also studied the relationship a parent’s income had on the chance of their child getting a college education. To create their Top-10 ratings, the National Bureau of Economic Research measured the percentage of individuals who were able to move from the lower 20 percent to the upper 20 percent in terms of weekly salary.

San Jose, CA made the top of the chart with a 12.9 percent probability of an individual going from the bottom-fifth of the wage scale to the top-fifth of the wage scale. Other cities that also did well included San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Boston. San Diego did very well, with a 10.4 percent chance of individuals reaching upward mobility. 

Geography is just one possible reason why one person is more likely to achieve social and economic mobility. Numerous studies have linked earning power to educational achievement. Those who earn Masters degrees earn more than those who earn Bachelors degrees. Four-year college graduates earn more than those with Associate degrees and people with a high school degree, or less, are the lowest income earners. 

2 people at the beach
Growing up in a family where your parents were deeply involved in your education and encouraged you to always do your best, plus personal ambition, can play a role in achieving upward mobility. Choosing the right career field and even a little luck can also make a difference in how well you are able to climb the ladder of success. 

Notable Rankings for San Diego

San Diego is ranked high in many different lifestyle categories and that helps to make it one of the most desirable cities in which to live. San Diego beaches, like La Jolla and Mission Beach, are always highly rated. In 2012, Coronado Beach, was ranked as the number one beach in the nation. The sparkling white sands that are just steps from the iconic Hotel Del Coronado, hit the top of the annual Top-10 list of Dr. Beach’s highly publicized ratings. Dr. Beach, a.k.a. Professor Stephen P. Letterman, is a Florida International University professor and director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research.

• San Diego was ranked among the Top-10 most popular destinations for summer travel in TripAdvisor’s 2014 Annual Summer Travel Survey.

• In 2014, Tripadvisor ranked San Diego’s Balboa Park the seventh most popular park in the United States

• In 2014, the Radius Group’s, Lisa Fugere, did a comprehensive study of America’s big cities and came to the conclusion that San Diego was the best place to start a new small business.

While San Diego may not be perfect, it is in many ways one of the best places you could choose to live. Come for a visit and you may just decide to stay for a lifetime.

Article Copyright ©2014 – All Rights Reserved Patrick Belhon (

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