Who We Are, Where We Come From, How We Live, What We Do, How We Rank
If you adjust your screen view to a 125% zoom, the charts will be that much easier to read. On Windows systems, pressing the Control and + keys simultaneously should do this quickly.
This first series of charts is based to a great extent on the 2010 census, though other sources were used as well. All numbers should be considered general approximations and/or estimates. (The next major census will be in 2020.)
The information on the charts above was researched in 2011- 2012 with much of it based upon the U.S. Census data of 2010.The San Francisco zip-code demographic breakdown, the 8-county Bay Area overview, and the city rankings below were researched over the course of 2014. There may be some small discrepancies between the reports now cobbled together on this one web page.
San Francisco Demographics by Zip Code
A statistical breakdown by household income, education, homeownership,
foreign-born population, household size, age and other criteria.
June 2014 Report
The below charts and table are based upon U.S. Census surveys from 2010 – 2013. Please note that zip codes often contain neighborhoods of widely different demographics. For example, 94115 includes Pacific Heights, one of the most affluent areas of the city, as well the Western Addition, which is less affluent: when mixing areas such as these in one zip code, you end up with statistics that don’t really apply to either. Data like this is constantly changing and zip codes are blunt instruments for demographic investigation, but we still found the analysis to generate interesting, new insights into San Francisco.
Median Household Income
Below the charts is a full table of the data we collected.
The neighborhoods associated with zip codes in the charts and table below are simply representative of each area; other neighborhoods are often included within one zip code and many neighborhoods are divided between different zip codes.
Many factors impact this statistic: household size, level of education, percentages of homeowners vs. renters, whether the rental units are subject to rent control, median age and other cost of housing issues besides rent control. The South Beach-Yerba Buena zip code takes top place for median household income in San Francisco. Interestingly, it is at the bottom
of the ranking for average household size. This zip code is dominated by newer condo projects, many of them at the top of the price scale and the rental units here, which make up over half the housing, are typically not under rent control. The second ranked zip code for income is quite different: the St. Francis Wood-Miraloma Park area has a completely different ambiance, very few condos or renters, older residents and bigger households. And number 3 is the Presidio Trust zip code with no homeowners, all renters but no rent control, and younger residents than either of the first two. All 3 of the top zip codes, however, have very high percentages of residents with bachelor’s, graduate and professional degrees.
Foreign-Born Percentage of Population
Of major metro areas, San Francisco ranks 4th in the country in percentage of foreign-born residents.
Residents with Bachelor’s, Graduate & Professional Degrees
San Francisco ranks 2nd in the country for percentage of residents with bachelor’s degrees and ranks 3rd for percentage of residents with graduate or professional degrees. Not surprisingly, when looking at zip codes, educational attainment and household income typically go hand in hand.
Percentage of Housing Units Owner-Occupied
San Francisco has approximately 70% more housing units occupied by renters than by homeowners.
Average Size of Household
San Francisco has the lowest percentage of children of any major U.S. city and 38% of residents live alone. This brings the city’s average household size down, however the statistic varies widely by neighborhood.
Below is the table with all the San Francisco zip code demographic data we collected. It will be easier to read if you adjust your screen-view to zoom 125% or 150%.
The zip codes in the table are in order of median household income.
These 2 charts below are based upon a 12/14/14 article in The New York Times, based upon an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data, ”What
People Buy Where” byElizabeth Currid-Halkett
& Hyojung Lee
. The authors looked at 18 major metro areas in the country, breaking down resident spending on a wide array of products and services as compared to the overall national average. We pulled out some of the data pertaining to the Bay Area.
San Francisco Bay Area Demographics
18 charted analyses of ancestry, affluence, education, real estate,
politics, poverty and employment for San Francisco, Marin, Napa,
Sonoma, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda & Contra Costa Counties.
4th Quarter 2014, Paragon Special Report
These charts are mostly based on U.S. Census surveys from 2010 to 2013. Each of the 8 counties examined contains areas of widely varying demographics, and the multiple reports analyzed (6+ for each county) contain counts and estimates made at different times. Though these statistics are broad overviews, we still found many fascinating insights – and hope you will as well.
Adjusting your screen-view to zoom 150% will make the charts easier to read.
Ancestry, Race & Age
For the most part, the ancestry and race categories used below
are as designated in the U.S. Census reports.
: This first chart is a collated overview of the 8 counties. The Bay Area is one of the most multi-cultural places on earth, but (not broken out on this chart) this diversity is not evenly spread: Different ethnic and national groups often cluster in specific counties. For example, San Francisco has the largest populations with Chinese or Russian ancestry; Santa Clara has, by far, the greatest number of residents from India, Vietnam or Mexico; Alameda leads in those of Portuguese or Pacific Island heritage. For breakdowns by county, U.S. Census reports can be accessed at http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/index.html.
: Marin County has by far the largest percentage white (non-Hispanic) population at 73%, followed by Sonoma and Napa. San Francisco has the largest Asian percentage at 34.4%, with Santa Clara just behind at 34.1%. Santa Clara is the only county where white isn’t the largest group – Asian is bigger by a tiny margin. Napa has the largest Hispanic percentage at 33%, with 5 other counties between 23% and 27%. Alameda has the most substantial percentage black population at 12%.
: The foreign-born population in the Bay Area is large (behind only New York, Miami, LA and Chicago) with again, different groups predominating in different counties. About 50% of our foreign-born residents have acquired U.S. citizenship.
Children & Residents Living Alone
: It has famously been said that San Francisco has more dogs than children, and at 13.4%, SF has the lowest percentage of residents under 18 of any major U.S. city. The other counties run close to the national percentage of 23%. San Francisco also has a much higher proportion of residents living alone than the other 7 counties – which probably correlates with a more urban lifestyle.
It’s interesting to note (not delineated on the chart) that though SF has relatively few children, its population aged 25 to 39 is very high, at just below 30%. Other Bay Area counties run from 16% (Marin) to 23% (Santa Clara). Demographers have noted that younger, post-college adults are moving into urban centers in large numbers, and this is clearly occurring in San Francisco. The city’s young, high-tech, start-up environment is undoubtedly supercharging this phenomenon.
Affluence, Poverty, Education & Politics
Median Household Income
: Many factors impact this statistic: household size, level of education, percentages of homeowners vs. renters, median age and of course, employment. Marin and Santa Clara are at the top of the list for highest household income. Obviously, various towns and neighborhoods – such as Pacific Heights, Ross, Atherton, Piedmont, Blackhawk – far exceed the figures in the chart below.
: According to the 2013 Wealth-X report, the Bay Area has the 3rd highest number of ultra-high-net-worth residents in the country, behind NY and LA. According to SFLuxe, the Bay Area is now home to over 70 billionaires – and it seems one can’t turn around in Safeway anymore without bumping into another new billionaire.
But surging affluence isn’t the only story.
The U.S. poverty-level income threshold does not vary by geographic region: For a family of 4, the national threshold is approximately $23,500. According to a Stanford think tank, adjusting for much higher local costs of living (especially housing) raises that threshold to $31,000 - $36,500 in Bay Area counties. In San Francisco, that increases the percentage of residents living in poverty to 23% and in Napa to 26%. Adjusted or not, the percentages add up to many hundreds of thousands of people – and this seems an appropriate place to remind all of us not to forget the neediest this holiday season.
: A big factor behind Bay Area economic conditions has been the strong growth in employment in recent years – in high-tech certainly, but also in the financial, medical, retail, construction and other industries. Many of these new jobs are very well paid.
: Some Bay Area counties are among the most educated in the country – not a big surprise considering the presence of 3 of the world’s great universities, and the Bay Area’s role as a hub for various high-education industries. Among U.S. major cities, San Francisco usually ranks near the top of the list just below Washington D.C. and Seattle.
Political Party Registration
: This chart is self-explanatory. The Bay Area is a very blue region in a very blue state.
Housing, Real Estate, Prices & Rents
Median Home Prices
: Apples to apples, San Francisco has the most expensive real estate in the Bay Area, followed by San Mateo and Marin. But all the counties include diverse neighborhoods featuring home prices ranging from relatively low to very high. One thing that stands out is the city’s distinctive condo market: the median price for 2-bedroom condos is just a tad lower than its median price for 3-bedroom houses. The reasons are twofold: firstly, very generally speaking, condos predominate in the more affluent city neighborhoods, while houses predominate in the less affluent. Secondly, thousands of new condos have been built in the last 10 years, or are under construction now, and by and large, they are of luxury or “ultra-luxury” quality and cost.
For a Million Dollars
: Consider this infographic to be very approximate indeed, but it gives an idea of what one would get in square footage for $1,000,000 at each county’s overall house and condo average dollar-per-square-foot value. For the money, one gets more than twice the space in Contra Costa or Sonoma as in San Francisco or San Mateo. In many parts of the country, one could double or triple the square footage again.
Case-Shiller Home-Price Trends
: The Case-Shiller SF Metro Area does not cover all 8 of the Bay Area counties, but it generally applies to the overall market. If Case-Shiller went back a bit further, we would see the late seventies/early eighties recession on this chart. From recession – which in the last 30-odd years has typically lasted 4-5 years – comes recovery (typically very robust recovery). Recovery usually takes 5-7 years to become utterly “over-exuberant,” which leads to a correction – and the next recession. We are still less than 3 years into our current recovery – which doesn’t mean that past trends will hold true in the future.
This chart aggregating all the sales of 5 counties is a huge simplification of hundreds of different micro-markets: Different areas and price segments of the Bay Area housing market had 2004 – 2008 bubbles and crashes of vastly different magnitudes. The lowest price segment rose and crashed the most (think “subprime loans”) and, though recovering dramatically, is still well below 2006 peak values. The higher priced housing segment had a much smaller bubble and crash, and has now exceeded its previous peak values of 2007-2008, in many cases by substantial margins. All 3 home price segments – low, middle and high – are now approximately 95% - 97% above their values of year 2000 (denoted as “100” on the chart).
Average Asking Rents
: In the Bay Area, rising apartment rents and rising home prices have gone hand in hand, a big social, economic and political issue right now. Per the analytics firm Reis, San Jose, Oakland and Francisco are 3 of the 4 hottest rental markets in the country, as measured by rent appreciation.
: With San Francisco’s homeownership rate of 37%, tenants outnumber homeowners by a large margin – and, not surprisingly, the city has some of the strongest rent and eviction controls in the country. (SF rent-limitation controls do not typically affect vacant or recently built apartments, so they do not reduce the “asking rent” values seen in the earlier chart.)
: Santa Clara and the two East Bay counties each have more than twice as many home sales as any of the other 5 counties. This is mostly due to significantly higher populations, but San Francisco’s relatively low number of home sales is also caused by the fact that almost two thirds of its units are rental housing: Thus, SF has more people but fewer home sales than San Mateo. Very limited supply amid huge demand is a big factor in its rising home prices.
Era of Construction
: This chart illustrates how empty the Bay Area was 75 years ago, before World War II: Almost 50% of San Francisco’s housing was built prior to 1940, but in 6 of the other counties, the percentage falls to 12% or lower. In Santa Clara and Contra Costa, it drops to 5% - there were a lot of open fields where housing developments exist now.
Population, Density & Size
Population & Population Density
: Santa Clara and Alameda have the largest populations of the 8 counties. San Francisco, the second most densely populated city in the country (far behind Manhattan), has a population density 95 times that of Napa County.
Size in Square Miles
: This chart reminds us what a small place San Francisco really is – and its inability to expand (except upward) plays an interesting role in many of its economic and social dynamics. Sonoma is the largest of the 8 counties and it is 33 times as large as San Francisco County.
The demographics and financial realities of the San Francisco Bay Area are constantly changing, so
consider the numbers in these analyses to be very general estimates with reasonable margins of error. This report was created in good faith and is based on data from sources deemed reliable; however, it should not be considered comprehensive, may contain inadvertent errors and misrepresentations, and is subject to revision. Paragon emphatically supports all housing discrimination laws in its practice.
© October 2014 Paragon Real Estate Group
Ranking San Francisco
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. This list was created in early 2014 and 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
- 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 the top-ranked 6 of the world: Stanford, UC Berkeley; 3 in the top 31 (add UCSF), per Times Higher Education Ranking report
- 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.
© 2014 Paragon Real Estate Group