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Huge population churn makes San Francisco, Oakland richer

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From 2014 to 2015, an estimated 80,000 people left SF and Oakland, while approximately 100,000 replaced them

A Boeing jet departing San Francisco International Airport.
Now boarding more than 80K one-way trips...
Wikimedia Commons (Anonymous)

City officials often cite a statistic saying that San Francisco is growing by about 10,000 people per year. But that number is a little misleading for two reasons. First, it’s a low ball figure: Census estimates since 2010 present increases of about 11,000-13,000 annually.

Second, it disguises the sheer volume of the annual influx. Every year, tens of thousands of people leave, too. Which means that the mass of new residents that make up our annual net gain verges on the intimidating.

In a study released this week titled “So Long To The City,” the rental site Abodo looked at US Census data on which cities are seeing the greatest egress.

Since San Francisco is neither a top loser nor a top gainer (we’re number 22 out of 50 for people leaving), we’re not mentioned in the published version of the report. But an Abodo spokesperson tells us that between July 2014 and July 2015, about 5.78 percent of San Franciscans split.

The census always lumps San Francisco, Oakland, and Hayward together. So of a combined 2014 tri-city population of 1.42 million, more than 80,000 people departed.

But since those cities also saw a net increase of 21,510 people in that same 12 month span, that means that, all told, 106,600 new residents came in, more than 7.4 percent of the starting population.

The number of new residents is so big we wondered if Abodo was actually correct, but spokesman Sam Radbil says they scraped the most recent American Communities Survey data on previous city residence.

While the ACS, like everything the Census does, is only an estimate, it’s generally a good indicator. (Note that the mortality rate and birth rate provide a difference of only a few thousand people and wouldn’t move the numbers much if we factored them in.)

Using that same American Communities Survey information, we can learn a few things about who left and who arrived between summer 2014 and 2015. In San Francisco alone (sans East Bay cities) median age declined by about three and a half months.

The number of immigrants in the city increased by nearly 4,000, while the number of US natives increased by more than 8,000. The city is about 34 percent immigrants, at least officially, down roughly 0.2 percent in a year.

The city’s black population dropped by more than 1,000 people between two summers, while the white population increased by nearly 6,000. And the Asian population increased by a whopping 11,300.

The Latino population increased by 2,000, while the non-Latino populace went up by 10,000.

Interestingly, those identifying as “two more more races” declined by 4,000, but since this is almost exactly the margin of error in that category this might effectively tell us nothing.

The city also gained 5,870 men and 6,477 women, ending up about 50.85 percent male overall, roughly the same as the year before.

Most remarkable of all, the city’s estimated mean income jumped from $119,000 to more than $134,000. And the number of households making more than $200,000/year spiked nearly 4.5 percent.

Hayk Shalunts