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Descanso (Diegueno: Wataay) is a small census-designated place in the Cuyamaca Mountains, within the Mountain Empire area of southeastern San Diego County, California.
Descanso is located east of Alpine and west of Pine Valley. The population was 1,423 at the 2010 census. It is in California's 50th congressional district.
The community's name is a Spanish word meaning "rest from labor". At a 3,450 feet (1,050 m) elevation, it is located at the south entrance to Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and also borders Cleveland National Forest to the west and east.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Descanso had a population of 1,423. The population density was 74.1 people per square mile (28.6/km2). The Census reported that 1,423 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized. The population was spread out with 256 people (18.0%) under the age of 18, 108 people (7.6%) aged 18 to 24, 260 people (18.3%) aged 25 to 44, 604 people (42.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 195 people (13.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 49.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.0 males.