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North County is a region in the northern area of San Diego County, California. It is the second-most populous region in the county (after San Diego), with an estimated population of 869,322. North County is well known for its affluence, especially in Encinitas, Carlsbad, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, and Solana Beach, where house prices range, on average, above one million dollars. Cities along the 78 freeway (Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos) have more upper middle class incomes , while Escondido has more mixed income.
Beach culture is prominent in the area, and many of the region's beaches and lagoons are protected areas to help ensure the environment remains pristine, though there has been pressure from commercial entities to develop some of these areas.