Quick facts about San Luis Obispo

  1. Downtown SLO is a humming, pedestrian friendly zone of shops, restaurants and galleries in turn-of-the-20th century buildings.
  2. Thursday Night Farmers’ Market brings a fiesta of produce, crafts, barbecue, street food and live entertainment to
  3. There are approximately 760 non-profits in San Luis Obispo that generate nearly $800 million in economic output each year.
  4. San Luis Obispo wine country lies five minutes south of downtown, putting two dozen premier wineries within easy reach.
  5. There are more than 25 miles of easily accessible trails in the city of San Luis Obispo.
  6. Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, the fifth of California’s 21 Spanish missions, was founded in 1772.
  7. San Luis Obispo County has more than 80 miles of Pacific coastline.
  8. Hearst Castle, William Randolph Hearst’s elaborate Central Coast summer home, stands in solitary splendor 45 minutes to the north.
  9. In a typical year, San Luis Obispo sees 315 sunny days.
  10. Fourth lowest commute time in the state.
  11. Listed as one of the top 10 places to retire in the US.

View the 2018 Community and Economic Profile

Economic Vision Document

Click here to view our Economic Vision Document

Our Mission

When we imagine the future of San Luis Obispo, we see a place that ignites creativity, celebrates diversity and spurs innovation. A place where people work together from across the region to tackle shared challenges, drive economic growth and preserve our natural resources. This vision for our future sets the course for where we want to go and what we need to do to get there.

Long-Term Objectives

Discover our economic vision on ImagineSLO.com where you’ll find seven interconnected themes that paint the picture for our future and set the course with policies we will champion and actions we will take to get there.

Major Employers

1. California Polytechnic State University
Education • 3,000 employees

2. County of San Luis Obispo
Government • 2,920 employees

3. Department of State Hospitals- Atascadero
Healthcare • 2,000 employees

4. Pacific Gas & Electric
Public Utility • 1,866 employees

5. California Men’s Colony
Correctional Facility • 1,517 employees

6. Cal Poly Corp.
Services • 1,400 employees

7. Tenet Healthcare
Healthcare • 1,305 employees

8. Compass Health Inc.
Healthcare • 1,200 employees

9. Lucia Mar Unified School District
Education • 1,000 employees

10. Paso Robles Public Schools
Education • 935 employees

Software • 929 employees

12. San Luis Coastal Unified School District
Education • 760 employees

13. Atascadero Unified School District
Education • 600 employees

13. French Hospital Medical Center
Healthcare • 600 employees

15. California Department of Transportation
Government • 550 employees

16. Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo
County • Non-Profit • 541 employees

17. California State Parks
Parks and Recreation • 450 employees

18. Cuesta College
Education • 440 employees

19. Arroyo Grande Community Hospital
Healthcare • 415 employees

20. City of San Luis Obispo
Government • 400 employees

21. Community Health Centers of the Central Coast
Healthcare • 390 employees

22. U.S. Postal Service
Postal Service • 285 employees

23. Martin Resorts
Hospitality • 260 employees

24. F. McLintocks Saloon and Dining
Restaurant Chain • 250 employees

25. SLO Brewing Co.
Brewery and Restaurant • 250 employees

26. Heritage Oaks Bank
Banking• 242 employees

Source: Pacific Coast Business Times 2017; MINDBODY


San Luis Obispo is a nationally recognized hub of health care excellence, serving all of the Central Coast with superior regional medical facilities and well trained providers of all types.

The city is home to two major private hospitals, plus urgent care facilities, health maintenance and community health care centers, as well as assisted living communities.

Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center has grown into a leading provider of high-level medical and urgent care services in San Luis Obispo County. Today Sierra Vista houses the county’s only neurosurgery program, high-risk pregnancy program, dedicated Pediatric Unit as well as the only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit between Santa Barbara and Salinas.

French Hospital Medical Center is renowned for its cardiac services, and was recently named a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care by Blue Shield of California. To date, only 433 facilities nationwide have received this designation. Additionally, the San Luis Obispo hospital offers a wide range of services to meet the growing needs of the community including a family-focused birthing center, 24-hour emergency services, state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and the Hearst Cancer Resource Center.



In home health


San Luis Obispo offers a sunny and mild climate all year long, great educational systems, easy access to an active lifestyle, a vibrant cultural scene, clean air, low crime rates, no traffic headaches, a bike and pedestrian friendly community and exceptional healthcare. These are a few reasons why San Luis Obispo is considered the happiest city in the nation.

California Department of Finance
San Luis Obispo County                  281,401
San Luis Obispo                                47,339
Paso Robles                                        31,580
Atascadero                                          29,819
Arroyo Grande                                   18,108
Grover Beach                                      13,600
Morro Bay                                           10,639
Pismo Beach                                       8,162

Age Distribution
U.S. Census Bureau                 SLO       County CA
Under 5                                           5%            6.8%
5 to 9                                              4.8%          6.7%
10 to 14                                        5.5%          6.9%
15 to 19                                       8.2%           7.5%
20 to 24                                    10.4%           7.5%
25 to 34                                    17.0%        14.3%
35 to 44                                    10.9%        13.9%
45 to 54                                    14.5%            14%
55 to 59                                      7.3%           5.9%
60 to 64                                     6.4%            4.9%
65 to 74                                         8%            6.2%
75 to 84                                      4.9%           3.7%
84 +                                             2.5%           1.6%
Median Age                               39.3           35.2

U.S. Census Bureau                       SLO County         CA
White                                                    69.9%                   39.0%
Black or African American            2.2%                      6.6%
American Indian and                       1.4%                       1.7%
Alaska Native
Asian                                                      3.7%                      14.1%
Native Hawiaian or                         0.2%                        0.5%
other Pacific Islander
Hispanic or Latino                         21.7%                    38.4%
Two or more races                           3.3%                       3.7%

Educational Attainment
U.S. Census Bureau
SLO           County CA
High school graduate                89.7%        81.8%
Bachelor’s degree                       33%           31.4%
Graduate or prof. degree          20.2%        11.6%

Household Income
U.S. Census Bureau
SLO County     CA
Median household income        $59,454            $61,489



Water and Wastewater

Despite the Governor’s recent declaration of a drought emergency, the City of San Luis Obispo’s local water supply remains reliable and secure. Actions taken by City Council, community members and staff after the severe drought of 1987-1991 have secured reliable water resources for the city. Investment in a multi-source water supply and water reclamation facilities allow for responsible use even following the driest year on record. The city has four primary water supply sources including Whale Rock Reservoir, Salinas Reservoir, Nacimiento Reservoir, and recycled water (for irrigation), with groundwater serving as a fifth supplemental source.

Water and Wastewater services are provided by the City of San Luis Obispo Utilities Department.

The City’s monthly charge per billing unit: (1 unit = 100 cubic feet = 748 gallons)

Water Base Fee*    $9.98 per month
Water Usage Tier 1 (1-8 Units)    $6.92 per Unit
Drought Surcharge Tier 1      1.10 per Unit
Water Usage Tier 2 (9+ Units)    $8.65 per Unit
Drought Surcharge Tier 2      1.37 per Unit
Sewer Treatment Base Fee    $8.57 per month
Sewer Treatment**    $9.44 per Unit









Electricity in SLO is provided by Pacific Gas & Electric.

Natural Gas in SLO is provided by Southern California Gas Company.

Tech Infrastructure

By encouraging public-private partnerships, maximizing efficiency and supporting the construction of a fiber-optic network, San Luis Obispo is prioritizing telecom infrastructure and the kind of business it attracts. As part of the City’s Economic Development Strategic Plan (link), the City partnered with a local provider to bring high speed fiber to government buildings and provide the opportunity for fiber connectivity to local business and residences.

Currently, 23 miles of fiber optic network are already in place, providing 75 “lit” commercial buildings with Internet services normally found only in larger metropolitan areas.


Public Transportation

The San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority (RTA) provides intercommunity public transportation. RTA’s service area includes all of San Luis Obispo County and extends into Santa Barbara County to the south. RTA provides regional fixed-route service and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complementary paratransit service (Runabout).

San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport

Just minutes from downtown, the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport provides convenient access to and from San Luis Obispo with daily commercial flights to Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Francisco as well as full service general aviation and corporate facilities.

Real Estate

San Luis Obispo is a desirable place to live and work.

The median home price in SLO ($485,000) is higher than the state ($393,000) and the nation ($223,300) but when compared to California cities like San Francisco ($935,500), Los Angeles ($540,000) and Santa Barbara ($865,000), San Luis Obispo is significantly more affordable.

To search available commercial property listings, check out these local commercial and residential real estate companies.


San Luis Obispo remains one of the rare communities where superior K-12 public education is available for everyone. This past year, voters strongly supported local schools by passing three bond measures seeking a combined $510 million to upgrade campuses across San Luis Obispo County.

Public educational institutions and facilities in San Luis Obispo include several with distinctions as Blue Ribbon Schools and California Distinguished Schools.

School Districts:

Almond Acres Charter Academy
Atascadero Unified School
District Bellevue-Santa Fe Charter School
Cayucos Elementary School District
Coast Unified School District
Grizzly ChalleNGe Charter School
Lucia Mar Unified School District
Paso Robles Joint Unified School District
Pleasant Valley Joint Union Elementary School District
San Luis Coastal Unified School District
San Miguel Joint Union School District
Shandon Joint Unified School District
Templeton Unified School District

The County’s level of educational attainment is higher than the County’s and the State’s. Almost half (46%) of the city’s population over the age of 25 has at least a bachelor’s degree, while one in five have a graduate or professional degree. Statewide, approximately 30 percent of the population has a bachelor’s degree or higher.

San Luis Obispo is also home to Cal Poly State University and Cuesta College.

Cal Poly consistently ranks among the top public universities in the nation with renowned engineering, architecture, business and agriculture colleges.

The university’s distinct “learn by doing” approach prepares students to be productive employees with a deep practical understanding of their areas of expertise. For local businesses, this translates into a young, smart and capable workforce ready to hit the ground running.

Cuesta College is highly regarded throughout the state for its excellent educational programs, responsive student services and exceptional faculty and staff.

Offering 70 degree programs and 57 certificate programs, Cuesta features lower division academic transfer courses, vocational/technical training, short courses, continuing education, distance education, day and evening classes. With more than 9,600 students, Cuesta provides critical technical training in the jobs of the future.

In addition, Allan Hancock College and Laurus College, offer associates degree and certificate programs at their Campuses and online and The University of San Luis Obispo School of Law offers legal education through a part-time weekend program.


The Weather Channel
Month            Avg. High       Avg. Low        Avg. Precipitation
Jan                           61°F               44°F                           4.95 in.
Feb                          62°F               45°F                            5.28 in.
Mar                         64°F               46°F                            3.97 in.
Apr                          66°F               47°F                            1.39 in.
May                        69°F               49°F                            0.47 in.
Jun                         73°F               52°F                            0.10 in.
Jul                          76°F               55°F                            0.02 in.
Aug                        77°F               55°F                            0.04 in.
Sep                        77°F               54°F                            0.26 in.
Oct                        74°F               52°F                            0.93 in.
Nov                      67°F                47°F                             2.16 in.
Dec                       61°F                43°F                             3.71 in.