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San Francisco Planning Department Census Data Analysis: 

San Francisco Planning Department Census Data Analysis Researchers: James Willis, Jerry Habib, and Jeremy Brittan Client: San Francisco Planning Department


Outline Background Task Defined Research Methods Findings Conclusions Recommendations


Background The San Francisco Planning Department is tasked with developing planning policy, informing community planning efforts, and developing land-use controls. The planning department requires demographic information from the Census in order to perform these tasks. Previously, the San Francisco Planning Department has analyzed and prepared Census data to provide information about the city for use by the public. For example, the planning department produced two summaries of demographic data for the 1990 Census, San Francisco Atlas and San Francisco at a Glance.


Background The department has not yet produced similar summaries for the 2000 Census which has made providing data to the public very difficult and time consuming. Demographic information is extremely important to successful city planning, you cannot plan effectively without knowing about the people who live in the city. Demographic information is essential in determining the needs of the population and deciding who might be affected by development decisions.

Task Defined: 

Task Defined Create a model for analyzing census data using tables, thematic maps, and written analysis; Analyze census data at different geographic scales (block group, tract, county); Analyze selected variables at the county level between 1970 and 2000; Provide a detailed look at San Francisco demographics and housing conditions between 1990 and 2000.

Research Methods: 

Research Methods Census data retrieval using American FactFinder (www.census.gov) for 1990 and 2000; Historical data gathering for 1970 and 1980 census data from library research; Analysis of data sets and GIS shape files on BSS College data server; Creation of spreadsheets for analysis; Thematic mapping using ArcGIS 8.3.


Findings Countywide Data 1990-2000 Population Change Asian Population Hispanic Population Age Household Size Housing

Countywide Data: 

Countywide Data San Francisco experienced the least growth consistently each decade. It was the only county which reported an actual loss of population (1980). San Francisco experienced the greatest population increase since the 1940s between 1990 and 2000.1 Solano and Sonoma Counties experienced the most growth in terms of percentage. Santa Clara County had the most growth in terms of number of people. 1 San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association Report 397

Countywide Data: 

Countywide Data Santa Clara County experienced consistently high black population growth from 1970 until 1990 and then showed a decrease between 1990 and 2000. San Francisco lost black population each decade with the greatest loss happening between 1990 and 2000. Alameda County has the highest total black population and Napa County has the lowest but Napa’s black population has been growing each decade since 1970.

Countywide Data: 

Countywide Data San Francisco County’s white population declined each decade but not as much as its black population. The biggest loss was between 1970 and 1980 at -22.7%. Sonoma County was the only county whose white population grew each decade since 1970. Santa Clara County had the highest white population between 1970 and 1990 with increases of 1.4% each decade. Santa Clara had the largest drop in white population between 1990 and 2000 losing 12.3%.

Countywide Data: 

Countywide Data Population of minors dropped in most counties until 2000. Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo have less people under the age of 18 then they did in 1970. Only Solano and Sonoma Counties reported consistent growth since 1970. Solano is the youngest county with 28.3% of the total population under age 18. San Francisco only 14.5% of the total population is under age 18.

Countywide Data: 

Countywide Data The largest increase in senior population in the Bay Area took place between 1970 and 1980 with an average rate of 42.8% The average increase to the total population was only 16.1%. The largest proportion of the total population over age 65 is in Napa County (15.4%) San Francisco second at 13.7%. The smallest is Santa Clara and Solano Counties each with 9.5% of the total population over age 65.

Countywide Data: 

Countywide Data During the 1970s every county experienced a decrease in median household income due to a recession. San Francisco experienced the most drastic changes in median income each decade. Although it was by no means the county with the highest income it experienced the largest percent increase in the 1990s. Santa Clara County boasted the highest median income in 2000 Solano and Sonoma consistently had the lowest median income and experienced lower then average increases since 1990. Note: income adjusted to 2000 dollars by CPI index.

1990-2000 Population Change: 

1990-2000 Population Change The largest increase in population in San Francisco between 1990 and 2000 took place in the SOMA/South Beach neighborhoods and the Bayview area and Excelsior/Crocker neighborhoods. The Bayview doubled its population in a decade. The closure of the Treasure Island Naval Station in 1997 and the Presidio’s closing in 1994 accounted for their significant loss in population. Presidio Treasure Island

1990-2000 Population Change: 

1990-2000 Population Change The most significant loss of Black population occurred in Oceanview/Merced/Ingleside neighborhoods where African Americans were almost half the population in 1990 and now are less than 25% and have largely been replaced by Asian residents. The largest increases in Black population were in the SOMA and Bayview/Hunters Point neighborhoods. The city’s Black population has declined drastically in the past decade, with little new affordable housing being built and most of the new units being fairly expensive. Oceanview/Merced/Ingleside

1990-2000 Population Change: 

1990-2000 Population Change The heaviest loss of White population took place in the Sunset and Excelsior districts, where they were replaced to a large extent by Asians and Hispanics. The White population grew in the South Beach and SOMA districts, where they have taken a disproportionate amount of the new housing being built. Excelsior District

Asian Population: 

Asian Population The Asian population remains highest in Chinatown, where one Census Tract (114) reported a 95% ratio. Asians also make up more than half the population in the Inner Sunset, a traditional stronghold in San Francisco. A recent development has been an increase in the Asian population in Census Tract 233, part of the Bayview district. More than 85% of the new residents at the Portola Place development are Asian (predominantly Chinese). Chinatown Inner Sunset

Hispanic Population: 

Hispanic Population Hispanic concentrations remain heavy along the Mission corridor, despite some gentrification during the 1990’s. Inner Mission has the highest population, but there are considerable numbers in the Outer Mission/Excelsior district. Hispanic population remains low in places like the Sunset, the Haight, and SOMA/South Beach. Mission Haight


Age The Bayview/Hunters Point neighborhoods have the lowest median age of any large area of the city with most people under age 33. The area with the highest median age is the Diamond Heights, Noe Valley and St. Francis Wood neighborhoods including Laguna Honda. There is a concentration of older residents in the North Beach and Chinatown neighborhoods. Diamond Heights, Noe Valley and St. Francis Wood


Age There is a high concentration of children under age 18 in the Bayview area. The central neighborhoods of San Francisco and the SOMA have the lowest number of children under age 18. The most concentrations of children under 18 are found in the southern neighborhoods of the city. The Sunset District has moderate population of minors under 18 as does Richmond district. Bayview/Hunters Point Sunset District SOMA

Household Size: 

Household Size Most of the households with three or more people are found in the Southern areas of the city including Bayview/Hunters Point, Crocker Amazon, Ingleside, Visitacion Valley and the Excelsior neighborhoods. One block group in the South of Market neighborhood has much higher average household size than the surrounding block groups. The South Beach, Mission Bay and Yerba Buena areas average around one person per household as does the Marina and North Beach neighborhoods. Crocker Amazon, Ingleside, Visitacion Valley and Excelsior Mission Bay, Yerba Buena


Housing Most of the new housing was added in the SOMA neighborhoods and North Beach/Telegraph Hill area. Another large increase came in the Sunset around the UCSF campus. Two census tracts lost housing units in Twin Peaks and Visitacion Valley. The rest of the city remained virtually unchanged in terms of number of housing units between 1990 and 2000. North Beach/Telegraph Hill Twin Peaks


Housing Large concentrations of renters are found in the south west corner of the city including Park Merced, SFSU, Balboa Terrace and Lake Shore neighborhoods. Another high concentration of renters is found in the area including SOMA, Civic Center, Western Addition and Castro neighborhoods. The Bayview also has a high concentration of renters. The lowest concentration of renters is in the St. Francis Wood, Diamond Heights and Glen Park neighborhoods. Civic Center/Western Addition


Housing The highest concentration of homeowners can be found in the St. Francis Wood, Diamond Heights and Glen Park neighborhoods. Visitacion, Excelsior and Sunset neighborhoods also have high concentrations of homeowners. Downtown has the lowest concentration of homeowners in the city.


Housing The largest drop in renter occupied units occurred in two of the city’s military bases. Castro/Twin Peaks and Visitacion Valley also had a significant drop in renter occupied units. The largest increases of renter occupied units between 1990 and 2000 were in the SOMA and Civic Center neighborhoods. The Marina District had some increase in renter occupied units between 1990 and 2000. The rest of the city remained relatively stable. Marina District


Conclusions On average the greatest total population growth in the Bay Area occurred between 1980 and 1990. San Francisco has experienced a declining trend in total population between 1970 and 2000. While Blacks and Whites have left the city an influx of Asian and Hispanic populations are reshaping San Francisco’s demographics between 1970 and 2000.


Conclusions San Francisco has a high percent of the total population over age 65 compared to the rest of the nine county Bay Area (13.7% in 2000). San Francisco has the lowest percent of the total population under age 18 compared to the rest of the Bay Area (14.5%). San Francisco is an average county in terms of median household income compared to the rest of the Bay Area.


Conclusions South of Market Area and the Excelsior neighborhoods experienced the highest population growth in the city between 1990 and 2000. The block groups with the most homeowners are in the southern parts of the city while the block groups with the most renters are in the northern parts of the city. The areas that have the most people under age 18 tend to be in the southeast corner of the city.


Recommendations Building on our prototype, add new census variables and make all maps available on the Planning Department web site. Develop an interactive computer system to respond to citizen inquiries about San Francisco’s population trends and housing conditions. Upgrade GIS software to ArcGIS 8.3 to make our maps available for further in-house analysis.

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