Estimates & Forecasts

SANDAG has produced growth forecasts of population, housing, employment, income, and land use in the San Diego region since 1971. These forecasts help SANDAG and local jurisdictions plan appropriate facilities, services, and development practices over the long term. 

Series 14: 2050 Regional Growth Forecast 

The Series 14 Regional Growth Forecast includes assumptions about how local plans and policies may evolve over time in response to the region’s continuing growth. Most current local plans typically project ten or twenty years in the future. Starting with the Series 13 Regional Growth Forecast, the horizon year was set thirty years in the future to 2050. To bridge the gap in projected years, SANDAG began the forecast with adopted general plans and policies from the 18 incorporated cities and the unincorporated County. Then, local jurisdictions were asked to provide detailed feedback on anticipated land use planning changes. The Series 14 Regional Growth Forecast includes this feedback along with the general plans to create a better assessment of where change may occur in the coming decades. 

For the Series 14 Regional Growth Forecast, SANDAG produced a baseline subregional allocation based on existing plans and policies. In addition, to support the 2021 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS), SANDAG produced the SCS Land Use Pattern which assumes a densification of land use within Mobility Hubs. Refer to the Series 14 Baseline and SCS Land Use Pattern documentation for more information on the assumptions and methodology used in the respective forecast scenarios.

Employment Clusters Analysis

Employment clusters are at the center of regional economic development policy because of their overall potential impact on the region's standard of living. The 16 industrial clusters drive wealth creation in the region by exporting goods and services and attracting new wealth from both domestic and international markets. First identified by SANDAG in the mid-1990s, employment in the San Diego region's 16 cluster industries grew by 19% between 1990 and 1998. At the same time, total employment in the region grew by 14 percent. SANDAG estimates that the region's clusters now employ more than 375,780 people, accounting for 34 percent of the region's total employment.

SANDAG defines clusters as groups of interrelated businesses that drive wealth creation in a region. The 16 industrial clusters encompass software and computer services, computer and electronic manufacturing, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, medical services, defense and transportation manufacturing, and entertainment and amusement. They also include recreational goods manufacturing, horticulture, environmental technology, and visitor industry services. Clusters include businesses from both the traditional and ”modern” economy, such as agriculture and biotechnology.

Economic growth in clusters benefits the entire economy because businesses are highly interrelated, buying and selling each other’s goods and services. Clusters are the region’s drivers. However, because their markets are not limited by the size of the local economy, they can expand far beyond it. The region’s diverse clusters have been performing very well and have help our local economy weather the current economic downturn better than many other areas in the nation.

Currently, employment clusters are increasingly being used to help decision-makers guide workforce development programs, retain high value-added jobs, understand the infrastructure needs of the regional economy, and allocate public resources. The San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, Regional Technology Alliance, and the San Diego Workforce Partnership are among the growing number of local groups in the region that rely on and utilize employment clusters in their business plans and strategies.

Employment Centers

To help identify critical transportation connects in development of the 2021 Regional Plan, SANDAG identified and analyzed employment centers across the region. Employment centers are areas with high densities of employment. Our analysis identified where employment centers are in the region, what industries are located there, where the employees in these areas commute from, and what their commutes look like.