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Mapping the Demise of the Working Class in San Francisco

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Creative class whisperer Richard Florida and researchers from the Martin Prosperity Institute have come out with a new report on the link between class and geography. You don't have to be inside a think tank to recognize the decades-long pattern of white-collar knowledge workers leaving the suburbs and returning to the urban core, but it is striking to see how economically segregated the Bay Area has become (echoing the trend in our post-industrial brethren Boston and New York). For the most part, the creative class dominates in large swaths of San Francisco, and in Berkeley near the university, Marin, and in some areas around Livermore and Menlo Park.


San Francisco's creative class is particularly large compared with other cities, making up nearly 40 percent of the region's population, well above the national average. Meanwhile, the service class makes up 44 percent, and the working class comprises only 16.5 percent of the local population, well below the national average. People in the service class generally live apart from creative class workers in the Bay Area. Almost 60 percent of service class workers live in neighborhoods where they make up the majority of residents, while the working class lives primarily around the East Bay and in in Oakland, Hayward, and Richmond.

The researchers pulled data from the 2010 American Community Survey, so all the higher-income purply segments are in all likelihood under-represented. In 2010 at least, the Mission still looked solidly service class, as did the rapidly transforming Mid-Market district. And as you can see from the total lack of blue in the city proper, the working class has all but disappeared.

· The Divided City: And the Shape of the New Metropolis [Martin Prosperity Institute]
· The Divided City [CityLab]
· Mapping 40 Major Changes Reshaping the Mid-Market Corridor [Curbed SF]