Taking a break from our usual real estate analytics (which can still be found using the links above), below is a half-serious, semi-whimsical look at how San Francisco is ranked by a number of objective and subjective criteria, according to a wide (and not necessarily reliable) variety of authorities. Typically, these rankings were made within the last 2 or 3 years. Many should be taken with a large grain of salt. San Francisco has an estimated population of 837,442 (per U.S. Census)
Generally speaking, rankings are against other major U.S. cities or greater metropolitan areas. Note that both “San Francisco Metro Area” and “Bay Area” are often used to describe different groupings of counties.
within 47 square miles on 43 - 50 “named” hills.
So, according to the source cited, San Francisco is ranked as:
- America’s best city, per Bloomberg Businessweek
- 2nd best metro area in the country for resident “well-being” (after San Jose-Santa Clara), per 2014 Gallup/Healthways survey; 7th happiest city in the world, per GFK Research
- America’s most pretentious city (followed by NYC, Boston & Minneapolis), per Travel + Leisure reader survey
- 1st in college degrees per square mile: 7031, per U.S. Census; 3rd in graduate degrees per capita (after DC and Seattle), per Forbes
- 3rd worst metro area commute (after DC and LA): average of 61 hours of delay in traffic per year, per Texas A&M Transportation Institute
- 5th best city for dogs, per PawNation; est. 120,000 dogs live in SF, per City Govt.
- Last in children per capita (14%); 113,000 children under 18, per U.S. Census
- 3rd in lawyers per capita by metro area (after DC & NYC); 2nd highest mean wage for lawyers, $169,000 (after San Jose), per Bureau of Labor Statistics
- 3rd in number of billionaires (i.e. the Bay Area, after Moscow and New York): 65 billionaires (25 in SF), though it fluctuates depending on stock prices, per SFLuxe
- 1st in homeless residents per capita, per Philanthropedia; percentage living below poverty level, 13.2%, per U.S. Census
- 14th largest city in the U.S.; 2nd most densely populated city in the U.S. (after NYC)
- Misc. Fact - Estimated change in population since 2010: 32,000, per U.S. Census; new housing units added since 2010: approx. 4200, per SF Planning Dept.
- Highest median asking residential rent in U.S.: $3256/month, per livelovely.com; 4th least affordable city by median-rent-to-median-income ratio - 40.7%, per Zillow
- 186th on Best Drivers List, per Allstate
- 11th most gay friendly city, per The Advocate 2014 ranking; 1st in LGBT percentage of residents, 15.4%, and 4th by total population, per Census Bureau
- 6th highest rate of vehicle theft, per Natl. Insurance Crime Bureau; 5400/year stolen in SF & 28,500 in Bay Area, with 85-90% recovered, per Bay Area News Group
- Misc. Fact - Every year, approx. 70,000 cars are towed ($500+ fee) & 1,529,000 tickets issued in San Francisco, per Towing & Recovery & SFMTA
- 2nd in "walkability" (after NYC), per WalkScore
- 8th most bike-friendly city (Portland is 1st), per Bicycling Magazine
- 3rd best city to visit in the U.S. (after NYC and Chicago), per Traveler’s Choice Destination Awards and Condé Nast Readers’ Choice
- Greenest city in North America, per The Economist; 2nd greenest city in the world (after Reykjavik), per Green Uptown
- Bay Area is 1st in hybrid and electric car sales: 9.4% of all sales are hybrid; .52% of sales are electric, per R.L. Polk & Co.
- 2nd fittest city in the U.S. (after Portland), per Men’s Fitness
- 1st in women’s life expectancy: 84.5 years; 2nd in women’s well-being (after DC), per Measure of America
- 2nd smartest city in the U.S. (after Seattle; tied with Boston), per Co.Exist; approx. 35 Nobel Prize winners live in the Bay Area, per SF Business Times
- 4th most liberal major city in the U.S. (Oakland is #3), per Center for Voting Research. With smaller cities included, Berkeley is 3rd, Oakland 5th & SF 9th
- Best city for dining out, per Bon Appétit readers’ poll; best for ethnic food dining, per Travel + Leisure; most restaurants per capita, per Frommer’s
- 10th on the Global Financial Centres Index; 3rd in U.S. (after NYC and Boston)
- 15th best city for hippies (Eugene is #1 and Berkeley is #8), per Estately Blog
- 2nd in Fortune 500 companies: 31, with recent addition of Facebook (ranking refers to Bay Area; NYC metro area is 1st with 66), per Fortune
- 194th in cost of doing business, per Forbes
- Misc. Fact - Avg. SF internet download speed: 22.2 Mbps vs. U.S. average of 22.9; Kansas City is at 86.3 Mbps; Provo at 84.9; NYC at 31; Austin at 27.2, per Ookla
- Population breakdown: 42% non-Hispanic white (vs. 64% U.S.), 34% Asian (vs. 5% U.S.), 15% Hispanic/Latino (vs. 16%), 6% black (vs. 13%), 1% Native American (n/c), .5% Pacific Islander (.2%), per U.S. Census
- 4th in percentage of foreign-born residents: 30% for SF-Oakland metro area; 36% for SF alone (behind Miami, San Jose-Santa Clara and LA), per U.S. Census
- Misc. Fact - Highest minimum wage in the country: $10.74/hour as of January 2014 (with a ballot measure to raise it to $15 expected in November)
- 21st highest office rent in the world & 4th highest in U.S. (after NY Midtown, DC East End, Boston Back Bay): SF Financial District, $70/sq.ft./year, per Cushman Wakefield
- 8th best city for drinking, per Forbes
- 13th highest rate of consumer cell phone loss or theft (35%), per Symantec; more than 50% of SF robberies involve the theft of a mobile device, per SF Police Dept.
- 3rd most inventive city in the world by patent applications per capita (after Eindhoven in the Netherlands and San Diego), per the OECD
- 3rd best city for parks in U.S. (after Minneapolis and NYC), 5384 acres equaling 18% of the city’s area, per Trust for Public Land
- 3rd in U.S. for number of “ultra-high-net-worth” individuals worth $30m+ (after NYC and LA), per Wealth-X; 10% of wealthiest Americans live in Bay Area, per SFLuxe
- Highest median home price, per National Association of Realtors: $960,000, 1st quarter 2014, per SFARMLS; homeownership rate is 37% vs. 65% for U.S., per Census Bureau
- 33rd most visited city in the world, per Euromonitor Intl.; 16.9 million visitors in 2013 (or 20 visitors per resident)
- Misc. Fact - the Bay Area has 2 universities in top-ranked 6 of the world: Stanford, UC Berkeley; 3 in top 31 (add UCSF), per Times Higher Education Ranking
- 1st in U.S. for real estate investment/development opportunity, per Urban Land Inst.
- 2nd most charitable city (after Seattle), per Daily Beast; 8th most generous in online giving, per Convio; as a multi-county metro area, 310th in percentage of adjusted gross income donated (2.8%), per National Center for Charitable Statistics
- 9th “coolest” city in the U.S., per Forbes (Houston, DC and LA were 1, 2 & 3)
- SF brokerage Paragon Real Estate Group ranks 3rd in sales per agent & 4th for average sales price of 500 largest U.S. brokerages, per RealTrends 500, March 2014
- Misc. Fact - Average number of foggy days per year: 108, per Current Results
- Best city for Halloween trick or treating, per Zillow
Since opening our doors in 2004, the Paragon Community Fund has donated over $500,000 to local charities and social services. The San Francisco Bay Area isn't just where we do business; it's our home and our community.
Provided solely for your reference and entertainment, and inclusion herein does not constitute any form of validation, endorsement or agreement on the part of Paragon. Among other points of contention, we sincerely believe San Francisco should be rated higher for its friendliness to dogs.
This report may contain inadvertent errors and misrepresentations, and is subject to revision.
© April 2014 Paragon Real Estate Group