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Sunday, June 16, 2024

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Home Featured Who is moving into — and out of — SF?

Who is moving into — and out of — SF?

Shocking data shows 10,000 existing residents replaced every year

Everywhere in San Francisco today, people are talking about the housing crisis. You can’t turn on the radio or read the news or see the rental listings without being reminded of the lack of affordability. Many of these stories focus on the prices themselves or on the growing influx of eager transplants to the City. Often overlooked is the story of the exodus of families and households from San Francisco.

It is, of course, natural for residents to occasionally move to a different city or state, but this should be a choice, not retreat brought on by economic or social coercion. Alarmist statements about the number of people moving in to San Francisco each year, as well as the urgent calls to build, build, build in order to meet the demand of that population growth, mask the true effects of population “churn.” A whopping 12% of the city’s population turns over every year—so while the news has focused on all the people moving in to the city, the other side of the equation is that approximately 50,000 residents have been leaving San Francisco annually over the last five years. The City Economist crunched some data for the Planning Department earlier this year, and showed the astounding annual magnitude of this migration in and out of the city.



However, even more alarming is that the underlying data on those who are moving into and out of San Francisco shows what we have long known through anecdotal evidence: that largely lower-income and people of color are being pushed out of the city and replaced by a wealthier, more homogeneous class of residents.

So, who is coming to San Francisco?

The American Community Survey, which is part of the US Census Bureau, is collected every year, and is the definitive data source for information on cities across the country. Using ACS data makes is possible to see population trends faster than waiting for the ten-year census. We focused on data collected after the end of the recession, from 2010 forward, to better understand the demographics of population change during these economic “boom” years, but examined data back to 2000 to establish a baseline.

The key takeaway is that San Francisco is becoming less diverse and increasingly a destination for upper income people. This should come as no surprise to any of us. But here are the numbers: through 2014, the most recent year for which ACS data is available, the median income for new San Francisco residents who moved from another state grew by nearly 40% over five years, after accounting for inflation and local cost of living. For example, in 2013 the incomes of people moving in were nearly twice as high as the incomes of those on their way out. To put that in terms of actual dollars and cents income, the number of households above $100,000 income per year grew by 6% while households making less than $100,000 per year shrank by 5%. These may seem like negligible percentages, but they represent approximately 10,000 low- and middle-income households that were essentially replaced in a single year by upper-income households.


This trend has a long precedent over the last 15 years, amplifying with each market cycle, and, if anything, the trend has likely further accelerated through 2015 and into 2016. These trends are evident both long term and over a shorter period, and if median shifts continue on the trajectory they have post-recession, the 2016 median income for in-migrants to San Francisco from other parts of the country or the world would be a whopping 280% of the income of out-migrants leaving for more affordable far-flung regions.  The research arm of Trulia, the real estate website, even had an article on this issue earlier this year called “Priced Out” — it’s a growing national problem for urban communities across the country experiencing rapid gentrification in this booming real estate climate.

And who is being replaced?

But this is also more than just a story of income disparities or the affluent of all stripes displacing lower-income residents–the haves replacing the have-nots. There is also a very clear racial dimension. Populations that have historically been marginalized in the United States are again being negatively affected at disproportionate rates as San Francisco “grows” and gentrifies. Every year since 2010, the first year that the most accurate version of this data became available through the ACS, there has been a net loss of African-American residents from San Francisco. Over those five years, more than twice as many black residents moved out of San Francisco as moved in. That has amounted to a loss of as much as a quarter of the city’s black population since 2010.

This story is similar for other populations of color–a greater out-migration of residents than people of color moving into the city. By contrast, over this same five year period from 2010 through 2014, San Francisco gained almost 30,000 new residents who identify as white, the only ethnicity category on the ACS that showed more in-migration than out-migration every year.

The forces of capital are strong, and national and international demand for the chance to live in a city like San Francisco has soared, but this is not just an abstract debate about macroeconomic pressures. The “churn” from these migration trends is rapidly reshaping the city’s demographic picture.  Some folks may celebrate “disruption” in all forms, but the data makes clear that this version of disruption is replacing and erasing one San Francisco and creating a drastically different one.

So, what can we do?

Yes, San Francisco will continue to change, grow, and develop. But we need to be honest that the face of San Francisco is changing, the city is rapidly gentrifying and the out-migration of working class and people of color communities is shocking. We have today not just a growing population but more significantly a replacement population. That’s 50,000 new residents a year in, and 50,000 existing residents out. Those are big numbers, and those are everyday San Francisco people. And it is a trend that no one should be comfortable with.

City policy may not be able to entirely reverse these winds, but it can make a difference. We have a responsibility as citizens to push for policy that gives all San Franciscans, especially those whose voices are often silenced, the tools and ability to hold fast against the economic maelstrom of development and displacement driven by real estate goals rather than public policy goals and San Francisco values.

We should push to fortify tenant protections such as rent control, and fight for restrictions on real estate speculation that drive up housing prices and incentivize evictions. We should fight to ensure that new developments are required to contribute to public needs in the form of maximum levels of affordable housing and fair-share of infrastructure costs. We should insist on “affordable” housing that is actually affordable to low- and middle-income San Franciscans – meeting families where they are, rather than playing over their heads for a “new middle class”. And we should reject moves to reduce affordable housing production and to price people out of affordable housing programs, like the San Francisco Realtors’ divisive Propositions P and U on this November’s ballot. Propositions P/U (“peeyew”!) are attacks on affordable housing and would simply add fuel to the fire of the displacement of people of color from San Francisco.

As San Franciscans, we have a lot at stake. We must stick together and fight back against out-migration and population replacement masquerading as benign population growth. We can and should work to ensure San Francisco remains an affordable city truly for all.

Peter Cohen, Fernando Marti and Max Arnell work with the Council of Community Housing Organizations


  1. This article is an utter and complete lie. Here is the real ACS data:

    According to the ACS:
    Non Hispanic White percentage of SF population

    The Latino population of San Francisco has exploded since 2010, not declined.

  2. Wow, you’re talented at trying to twist what others say aren’t you? I don’t know anyone who thinks that growth is code for pushing out undesirables, that’s just silly talk to try and fit some political agenda.

    San Francisco had a de facto anti-development policy for 40 years. We’re now seeing the repercussions of that. The only way to fix the problem is more growth, period. More growth means more construction, a LOT more construction. We have a generation of neglect to overcome here and we need a lot more housing being built of ALL types. Anyone who argues otherwise is intellectually dishonest.

  3. I don’t know where in San Francisco you grew up but my experience is different than yours. I became aware of family friends and relatives moving within and out of the City starting in 1949. They were not fleeing anything. The neighborhoods they left were White. One uncle moved from Glen Park to the Bayview. It was mostly renters becoming owners. For many blue-collar workers, they could not afford to buy until their children were high school age. It took time to save and for their careers to advance.

    The movement of all ethnic groups through neighborhoods is part of normal migration patterns. The changes in neighborhoods is mostly replacement not displacement. There is evidence that gentrification may slow down the replacement.

    The migration of Blacks to the City starting in 1945 and out of the City starting in 1970 was part of a national trend not unique to San Francisco, “the second great migration.” Defense related jobs probably had a lot to do with it. Even as the total number of Blacks started to decline in the Bay Area in 1990, their numbers increased in formerly all White Bay Area cities. Their reasons for moving are really not different than anyone else’s reasons. Some may have left the City earlier if there had not been discrimination. Upper Middleclass Blacks established an enclave in Miraloma Park in the 1950’s. I am aware of a couple I know who moved from there to Central Contra Costa in the 1980’s for more space and warmer weather.

    I am not clear what point you are making about infrastructure subsidy or what sustainable means. The Bay Area has experienced tremendous growth and people need to live somewhere.

    Is there a difference between undesirables and deplorables. Are there any not White? I don’t think Hillary was referring to deplorable Hispanics. What are BLM riots about? Victimization by Chinese? It seems clear to me they hate police and White people or at least blame White people.

  4. People say “limit job growth” right up until the next budget crisis hits.

    Between Prop. 13, SF’s enormous pension obligations, and the already large municipal budget, any significant loss of jobs and upper income folk would force significant cuts in public services.

  5. @Don Sebastopol – I don’t know or much care about what you’ve been reading, as it is clearly wrong: the “deplorables” comment was about racists, not about white people. You, meanwhile, used the term “undesirables” in juxtaposition to white people, which is blatant racism on your part.

    I’m white and grew up blue-collar working class myself, so I’m pretty familiar with the dynamic. Your “attracted to better housing in a nicer environment” wording ignores the realities I mentioned. How did this better housing come to be? Infrastructure that took massive subsidy to build and even more subsidy to maintain, and builders who enjoyed tax incentives, all shouldered disproportionately by city-dwellers. Redlining, of course, meant that only certain city-dwellers could avail themselves of this newer environment, and it went on for many decades after anti-discrimination housing laws made it illegal.

    Your story about middle-class Blacks “now” moving to the suburbs is similarly ungrounded in historical reality. The fight against redlining has been going on for at least three generations, with some successes and some failures.

    As for larger numbers of minorities moving to the suburbs, there’s something else going on there. When the bills for maintaining the first wave of unsustainable White Flight suburbs began to mount, there was a second wave of White Flight, sprawling further out, or beginning the trend of gentrification. These older suburbs with collapsing infrastructure are where gentrification is displacing people to.

  6. Those who moved out were not escaping or running away from anything but attracted to better housing in a nicer environment. Most were blue collar working class, hardly privileged. From what I have been reading White people are the deplorables. Since the passage of anti-discrimination housing laws, middle class Blacks are now joining Whites in the suburbs for better housing, better weather, better schools and less crime.

  7. One thing slowing down housing development is the tendency for developers to want to put more square footage of new structures on their lots than existing zoning allows. So instead of just building new housing in accordance with existing zoning, the developers go to the city and demand exemptions or zoning changes that will allow them to build larger or taller structures than current zoning allows. This developer greed based paradigm significantly slows down the rate at which new housing is built in any city. With recent court decisions, if a city won’t give a developer the zoning the developer wants on his property, he will just bypass the whole city planning process and instead put an initiative measure on the ballot that would allow them to build anything they want on their property. If this keeps up, city planning will fall by the wayside in the face of ballot box zoning.

  8. Really? Because I’ve never seen a target population established nor a vision and robust plan developed for that target population. ‘Just build more housing’ isn’t a plan but it is turning San Francisco into an incredibly unexciting place to live.

  9. Those suburbs that are well served by transit or already have job bases should have increased density in Transit Oriented Developments. If you just build more housing far from jobs, you will lead to more long trips and more carbon emissions.

  10. I am not anti-development. I’m against stupid planning. I have long advocated for growing San Francisco’s population to about 1.5 million. But this needs to be done with planning for growth, with a target population in mind, and expanding infrastructure and services ahead of development.

    What we have now is the ‘wild west’ with episodic variances and no robust plan. So instead of a grand boulevard with lots of highrise buildings with public plazas dividing them, Market Street continues to be a shitstorm of economic inequality and even without the homeless population, there isn’t much reason to stroll down would. Ditto for Van Ness.

    If we are in a housing crisis – like so many people say, it is VERY reasonable to temporarily control the development of office buildings and other workspaces until we figure out what to do.

    And there are ways of growing a city and not displacing people. See what they are doing in Berlin and Barcelona. And to see the opposite, see Vancouver.

    As for NIMBYs, if anyone had ever had a vision of what San Francisco can look like with 1.5 million (or any target population) and been able to communicate that vision, half of the NIMBYs would be convinced. Instead there is no vision.

    Regarding your issue with controlling job growth, I guess you’ve never seen a water glass overflowing due to capacity. Same same.

  11. We don’t have 10 million people. Nobody is suggesting an infinite number of housing units. This is a most bizarre slippery slope argument. I love the notion that we need to control job growth, as opposed to continue growing our regional economy so that everyone has a chance to succeed. No more jobs in SF please! I have one, so that means we don’t need any more!

    Anti-development people seem to be rummaging around in a bag looking for whatever arguments they can throw at a wall. I get that some people enjoy envisioning themselves standing athwart history and yelling stop, but all you get out of that is a sore throat.

  12. I had a young colleague who rented in the Parkside but was ready to buy. All he could afford was the outer sunset or Novato. He chose Novato for better weather, schools, and less crime. His commute was not all that much longer and very much more comfortable. He could read or sleep on the bus. And when he got home sit outside in his backyard in warm weather.

  13. Sheesh – there is another option which is obvious to those who aren’t ideologues: How about increasing the density in low-density suburbs?

  14. @Artivist – Your Uber driver has already been displaced to Fremont and is commuting over 100 miles/day into the city. But nobody has to think about the carbon footprint because reality is this thing on the phone.

  15. We shouldn’t be building more suburbs at all. So 95% of the country will remain agricultural or undeveloped.

  16. Instead of focusing on rent controlled apts, which is essentially the SF Government’s way of getting cheaper housing mostly on the back of the middle class, why don’t we focus on the government actually building low income housing? It’s such a bonanza to the government that voters have decided to burden the evil “landlord,” often a middle class person investing money in rental property–takes them off the hook for providing residential units for low income folk. Maybe they should change the rent control law so that only those landlords who own more than 1-2 buildings are impacted and not the average middle class investor.

  17. Most here are trying to move deck chairs on the Titanic to preserve their agendas. The big picture truth is human beings need to stop designing societies based upon unregulated capitalist profiteering and place the social needs of humanity first. Capitalism is an adolescent pyramid scheme that is a complete failure on a fully occupied Earth. Humanity needs to collectively design localized sustainable societies that provide the 99% with a satisfying and worthwhile experience. Being a neo-serf to petty tyrants is not just obsolete, it’s extinction if we don’t stop the 1% NOW! Direct Democracy, voluntary attritive population reduction, Public Banks, de-militarization, Free Trans, Health, Education, Parks, and sustainable, adequate minimum income… this is all doable. But all you hear are the petty tyrant 1% crying “that’s not real!” The Banks invent money out of thin air once 10-1, now 30-1 or more, sanctioned by the FED. By taxpayers. What’s to say a Nationalized FED could not print money as needed for everyone’s NEEDS worked through a nominal % interest system, would work worse than this nightmare Bankster Casino that has the world on the verge of collapse? A world where everyone has enough to live and share with others is a future to look forward to. The rest of you 1%er wannabes can rocket off to Mars with Musk and see how you like the future you’re making here up close and personal. Don’t let the ship door hit you on the way out!

  18. I think you miss understood the work of Karen and Miriam. . . they did NOT conclude that supply does not help. They said supply absolutely helps reduce costs, especially when looked at on a regional level. They suggest that on a neighborhood level supply could have less of an impact on price reductions. . I have some questions about their conclusion on this point – as neighborhood level markets are hard to understand as there are not usually enough data points to track on a fine grain scale. Also they haven’t compelled me that the prices on a neighborhood level can actually be found to be correlated with new development. But you are wrong to suggest that “UC Berkeley did a study and it showed that continuing to build more isn’t helping at all.”

  19. ah, you seem to be getting it – – -but all the other cities in the us are growing up too! Seattle at twice our rate, NYC is busting ass, DC, Boston, Atlanta, . . . really it is a full on national urban movement. . go check it out.

  20. we either grow up or grow out. . . . . by every environmental metric higher density is the way to go. I believe the exodus of the suburbs supports my notion that by most cultural metrics density is the better solution. . . . but yeah we should do a better job of pairing jobs, housing, and infrastructure so there is less stress on folks during the transitions.

  21. Right, but if there had been development at a healthy rate over your brief life here, we could totally move on. . . but there wasn’t. . . . we added one housing unit for every 10 jobs. . . . so yeah, we are out of wack and have been for a long time. NIMBY or not there is an undeniable supply problem

  22. this reads like a poorly researched rant. . . its too bad that the very people worrying about replacement spend most of their time fighting new housing, thus causing the dynamic they call replacement. . .

    but if you want to find out who is going and who is coming, It would be more logical to look at the census data on ‘moved to’. .. . because some of those moves might be within the city. . .

    again, CCHO on the wrong side of the issue and wrongly interpreting numbers to back up some bizarre and illogical point. . . .

  23. The article said from 2010 to 2014. Yes, there was a 11,645 decrease from 2000 to 2010. There was a larger decrease from 1990 to 2000 of 18,416. That was part of a national trend starting in 1970; “the second great migration.” It had little to do with gentrification. The Bay Area Black population started to decline in 1990. However, at the same time Blacks were declining Bay Area wide, their numbers were increasing in formerly White Bay Area cities: Antioch, Brentwood, San Leandro, Hayward, Dublin, San Ramon, Santa Rosa, Santa Clara, Concord, Novato, Walnut Creek, Pleasanton, Pleasant Hill, Petaluma and so on. I would guess that middle class Blacks moving to the suburbs would have happened earlier if not for housing discrimination that was outlawed in the 1960’s. They leave for the same reasons others leave; better bigger newer homes, better weather, better schools, less crime.

  24. yeah, there was a 12,000 drop between the 2000 and 2010 census numbers, but nothing in the ACS even remotely suggests it “has amounted to a loss of as much as a quarter of the city’s black population since 2010”.

  25. How’s this?

    From 2009-2015, San Francisco added 123,000 jobs, 50,000 residents, and 12,000 housing units.

  26. Did I miss the SF border patrol checking IDs? Are you really trying to say that everyone who lives in SF works in SF? That SF is a solitary housing market? Why do we have BART or ferries or freeways or bridges or traffic for that matter?

    Let me help you with the answer – it’s a regional housing market.

  27. Further clarification- San Francisco is only one entity in an area that spans nine (9) counties- including San Jose, Palo Alto, and other parts of Silicon Valley.

  28. No. I have advocated for construction, as much as I’ve called people like you out.
    I was conflating you with another poster. I’ve deleted my above post.

  29. This study is totally wrong about multiple things.

    First off, it claims that the latino population has dropped by 12,000 people since 2010…yet if you look at census stats, it shows the latino population has actually grown by 5,000 people since then. SF’s latino population has been growing nonstop for over half a century, yet because of the gentrification of the mission over the past decade, a false narrative has been constructed that they’re leaving the city entirely, which is totally wrong (and then you have people using that false narrative to influence their bad, factually incorrect studies).

    SF latino population:
    2000 – 109,504 (14.1%)
    2010 – 121,774 (15.1%)
    2014 – 126,524 (15.3%)

    Maybe I’m crazy, but that’s called growth, not decline.

    Furthermore, while SF has certainly gained white people in raw numbers since 2010 (which to be fair, was the first numerical gain in many decades), they’ve actually continued to drop as a percentage of the city population, as has been the case nonstop since 1940, when the city was over 90% white. It also claims SF’s white population has risen by 30,000 since 2010, but the numbers show the increase to be a mere 6,000 people.

    SF white population (non-hispanic):
    2000 – 338,909 (43.6%)
    2010 – 337,451 (41.9%)
    2014 – 343,368 (41.4%)

    Then there’s the whole thing where it seems to not count asian people as minorities…which is dumb, of course.

  30. Just for the record- San Francisco is *not* the Bay Area. But nice rhetorical trick you just engaged in.

  31. I was born in SF in 1942. The City was 95% White in 1940 according to the Census. It was mainly a blue collar town.

  32. I hate to break it to you, but a lot of the hiring has little to do with”good job skills” or improving the quality of the work force. You’re also devaluing diversity and culture.

  33. Also if you are White and above average and you moved here 25 years ago, you are the problem. You made the City less diverse and displaced someone less talented than you. You helped to gentrify the City. Tim Redmond is also one of those who helped to gentrify the City.

  34. You were born in Plymouth, MA.? The City was never 95% White and depicting a White Flight where Whites are the victims is screwed.

  35. The fact is that SF workers don’t commute any farther than workers in more affordable Bay Area cities. Also the commute from the East or North Bay may be faster and more comfortable than commuting from the Outer Parkside to downtown via the Metro.

  36. The service jobs are filled by all races. The point was they benefit not only Whites. In fact, those jobs have allowed individuals in low-income households to stay longer in gentrifiying neighborhoods than the would stay in non-gentrifying neighborhoods. The good economy benefits several classes of people. But it is true has lower skilled job leave the City those without good job skills have more difficulty finding jobs in the City. But that is a trend that started 50 years ago.

  37. You’re racially defining lower skilled workers that can fill service jobs?
    How does one even reply to that?

    Yes, a healthy economy is a wonderful thing, unless it’s only benefitting one class of people. The last 5 years have been terrible for a lot of good people who had their lives turned over, and there’s a vast middle ground between where we’re at today and the urban decay you keep bringing up.

  38. No. I have advocated for construction, as much as I’ve called people like you out.

    I know you like to talk as if you know better, but you are on the wrong side against the working class, and the low/fixed income people who are in danger of being displaced by upzoning in previously affordable neighborhoods. Listen to them. Listen to those of us for whom this isn’t a new trendy topic where a 10 year study is informative.

  39. No housing crisis? I’ve lived in the Bay Area my entire life, and SF proper for 25 years. I’ve never seen so many people living in tents the entire time I’ve lived here as I have in the past few years. You’re delusional.

  40. Yeah, this city is going to be so “disrupted” bro when all of the families, working class people, artists, and people of color are finally all pushed out and it’s just a city filled with nothing but entitled bro’s wondering why they can’t get an Uber on a Friday night bra because they drove all of the people who had resorted to service jobs to finally leave the city for good

  41. Build baby build hasn’t worked. Foreign investors are buying all of those mixed use units. And the people being pushed out can’t afford them. Developers are the only ones profiting.

    UC Berkeley did a study and it showed that continuing to build more isn’t helping at all. The underlying problems of what is causing the housing issues need to be assessed. The deregulation, the corruption, the unchecked growth, and allowing the evictions of lower income people by the wealthy.

  42. “ensure San Francisco remains an affordable city truly for all.”

    Well, aside from being a pipe-dream (ask everyone who has left if they’d like to come back at some past rent level – you won’t get many refusals), its a financial pipe-bomb. But that doesn’t mean that the City shouldn’t figure out a balanced population goal, with housing suitable for those who work here. Reducing the carbon footprint is important.

    Saying everyone should be able to live here – even those who are unproductive – is ridiculous. Or ridiculously expensive. But people who work in the services industries should be able to live close (servers, teachers, police, childcare workers).

    That said, is a one-hour commute within SF any different than a one-hour commute across several counties?

  43. But those new rent controlled rents will be $3000/ – not $300/month (1976- 5 rms, 17th & Dolores). Maybe thats a welcome gift to these new techies, but it does nothing for the working class or seniors.
    Oh, it does create distrust of laws that seem to change willy-nilly. But I guess nothin’ is too good for white folks.

  44. Your remedies are flawed, and the quasi Urbanism is as harmful as
    anything the Progressivists have put forward. “Enough units” for whom?
    It has no meaning the way you’re using it.

    We all know “growth” is
    code, and that code means pushing out the undesirables, and changing
    the City into one they no longer identify with.

    We’ve had this discussion before, and you’re being disingenuous. You’ve arbitrarily decided SF is full. A summary of our last exchange was that you believed no new units should be build because the sewage system and traffic couldn’t handle it. Clearly your simply grasping at the closest straw to justify your opposition to residential (and presumably commercial) construction.

    My only point to you is: fine. Be against new construction, but don’t pretend that you can control who resides in those limited units. Obviously, by-and-large it’s going to be the poor that loose out and not the affluent when the music stops in the game of musical chairs you’re orchestrating. Common sense should dictate that. But we now have 10 years of empirical evidence in SF to support that statement too.

  45. I did not say limited. Talented young people have been flocking to SF in droves for many decades and they have attracted employers with high-paying jobs. And over the years blue collar and middle class white collar jobs left the City. Those with high paying jobs are competing for housing and raising the price, but they are also creating service jobs for lower skilled workers including Blacks and Latinos. A good economy may harm some but the benefits outweigh the harm. The alternative to gentrification is urban decay which would be much more harmful.

  46. I think you hit on something. Much of it has been contrived.

    Still, the rents got boosted a little too far and the population has expanded so that it’s palpable.

  47. You really want a City that’s limited to high income, highly skilled people? Ummm, I guess that’s honest of you.

  48. Your remedies are flawed, and the quasi Urbanism is as harmful as anything the Progressivists have put forward. “Enough units” for whom? It has no meaning the way you’re using it.

    We all know “growth” is code, and that code means pushing out the undesirables, and changing the City into one they no longer identify with.

  49. It’s worth pointing out that we have a numbers game. More people trying to live in SF than there are existing units to live in. Pro smart-growth groups have been adamant that the first line of defense is to make sure that there are enough units, in aggregate, being built every year to accommodate those people. Afterwards we can talk about enabling people to be able to live in those units through a variety of governmental means. Under that scenario it is possible that everybody who wants to live in SF, existing and new residents, would be able to.

    Anti-development groups, which includes the entirety of SF’s progressive faction, instead have insisted on limiting development and resisting the newcomers. Under that scenario someone has to not live in SF. Anti-development folks wagered that if they stopped building condos and could just last a year or two the tech boom would be over and all the techies would leave. They’ve categorically lost that bet, to the disaster of the very residents they claim to be trying to help.

    This article, incredibly, articulates the very real damage progressive policies have had on housing and then against all logic calls for doubling down on those same policies.

  50. Yes, it is our responsibility to build up while 95% of the country remains low-density.

    Or something.

  51. Environmentalists know that people in cities use less resources than suburban and rural dwellers. We need to build up to help reduce resource consumption and help save the planet from climate change.

  52. I agree. Let’s increase the number of rent controlled units not fight over them. Next time we have a downturn in the economy is a better time to lock in the rents by expanding the rent control by changing the changing the cut-off date.

  53. There have been studies showing hording of rent controlled units. The income monitoring is for rentals. After someone purchases an BMR condo units they can make as much as they like after that. Most are purchased by young professionals early in their career. But many do move on as their incomes and families grow. So there is some turnover.

  54. I will sell you my house if you make me a good offer. I can then buy a better house in a nicer area outside the City.

  55. True you can’t force anyone to move where growth is needed, but you can prevent them from moving in by not approving anymore office space. Of course that would not prevent higher skilled office jobs from replacing lower skilled office jobs. As long a SF is a magnet for talented young people, employers with high skilled jobs will continue to come here.

  56. It seems higher income people are replacing lower income people. How is that a problem? I would think if highly skilled are moving out that would be a problem. It would be urban decay.

  57. Also higher-skilled higher-paid jobs have been replacing lower-skilled lower-paid jobs. And the influx of higher paid worker has created more service jobs filled by Blacks and Latinos. The number of employed Blacks has increased from 2010 to 2014. But even if more affluent are replacing less affluent, so what. That may be a good thing.

  58. Your data are questionable. I just looked. There were 49,071 Blacks of one race in 2010 and 47,611 in 2014. That’s a decline of 1,460 not 12,000. Also, the number of employed Blacks has increased by 2,512 from 2010 to 2014. Also, White non-Hispanics increased by 11,306 but their percent of the total population declined from 42% to 41%. If “diverse” meant not White the City is becoming more diverse.

  59. The US Constitution has nothing to do with this. We have laws in place that prevent me from opening a nuclear reactor next to your house. Only certified nutcases would think that preventing me from doing so is a threat to “liberty.”

  60. Uhh, the population of the Bay Area grew by 650,000 people over the last 7 years and only 120,000 units were built. That’s a deficit of at least 110,000 units.

  61. >”forcing companies to locate in areas where economic growth is desperately needed seems like what we should be doing.”

    Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that in the United States of America.

    What threshold would be set before forcing a company to locate in an area not of their choosing? Could a small struggling company stay here but if they grow they are forced to leave? Or do we declare that nobody in the Bay Area can start a new business out of fear that they could become successful?

    And as long as we are forcing them to go somewhere against their will then why wouldn’t they just rush to the open arms of Canada and Mexico?

    I think we should leave the US Constitution as is on this one.

  62. “The public employees’ pension burden” is already burdensome and will only get substantially more burdensome.

  63. I suspect your proposal for a registry of rent controlled units may provide yet another layer of government duplication of existing data. I am absolutely certain, however, that your registry identifying high income persons in rent-controlled units as “squatting” is a distraction. It plays to social resentment while doing and promising nothing for producing below market rental units. So much valuable local political effort is spent squabbling over who deserves this or that, when legally those issues have already been settled. Let’s concentrate on policies and practices that create many more affordable units across SF, the Bay Area, and California. Your proposal would not do that.

  64. Yo SF. Me and my tech bros need your houses. Can you all please leave. We are also interested in your soccer fields in The Mish, yo.

  65. San Francisco isn’t required to build an infinite number of housing units. What’s the max population we can sustain with decent quality of life? Do will build for 10 million people?

    We need to control job growth. A more equitable distribution of jobs by limiting job growth in the Bay Area and forcing companies to locate in areas where economic growth is desperately needed seems like what we should be doing.

  66. There are not “more than 70,000 units being built or approved.” There are about 7,000 homes being built now, and at most 11,000 homes that have been approved by both the Planning and Building departments. Everything else is either approved by Planning and not Building (like 8 Washington … how many people are living there now?) or not even approved by Planning. And nobody can live in homes that are “approved” but haven’t been built anyways.

    More importantly, “a lot” is not the same as enough. San Francisco has around 350,000 existing homes. Merely keeping up with US population growth would require adding 1% per year. Last I checked the data we still weren’t managing that (2014 was just shy of it though). And that need for 3,500 homes is before you add in trends like the massive economic boom that’s drawing migration from all over the world. We’re not building anywhere near enough.

  67. With more than 70,000 units being built or approved, can we stop with the NIMBY argument? I’ve lived here for almost 38 years and there is more development now than at any time in my brief life here.

  68. By right housing, simpler zoning, and faster approvals works in Japan. it could work in California and San Francisco. I think that was what Governor Brown and President Obama recently tried to say, I appreciate CCHO’s advocacy for deeply affordable housing, but we’ll never build what we need given the current realities – what we’ve been trying to do for past forty or fifty years is not enough, its clearly not working, evidenced by how rents and real estate prices have skyrocketed out of control – its time to summon up all of our courage, conviction and compassion try something new – and build the housing San Francisco, the Bay Area and Coastal areas of California desperately need. As for trying to keep minorities, low income and working class folks in SF, the land trust model, the small sites acquisition program, Real Ownership Opportunities for Tenants, Inclusionary Housing and rent control all have important roles to play, and if Prop C passes in November, we’ll have another tool to help prevent displacement….but we have to build to keep up with population growth. Everyone deserves a home they can afford.

  69. I think a survey of rent controlled units would also be helpful with planning. If we knew how many RC units are currently vacant and why, that would be good data. Maybe a city-wide registry for RC tenants with their income levels like the MOH does for the BMR program. We need to know if high-income persons are squatting on the affordable rent controlled units.

  70. If we in fact have an equal number of people moving in and moving out, the population is not growing and the housing crisis is contrived to raise land values. In order to know what we really need we need to find out how many empty housing units there are an figure out how to make them affordable to the population before we destroy the city by turning it into bank vaults in the sky.

  71. So given all of that, why do “progressives” continue to oppose building housing for those who are migrating here?

  72. I don’t share 48 Hills’ perspective, in that trying to hold back the tide is a losing game here as it was for King Canute. The only hope for lower-income residents not to be displaced is by building housing. Today the model is to extract 20% from property developers as part of the cost of doing business, but that’s not going to be anywhere near enough to meet the need, and requires tackling NIMBYism.

    Another question progressives should be asking themselves is what is being done with the extra $3B a year in extra revenues then city gets compared to less than a decade ago. It’s certainly not going into better Muni, better policing, health care or even in preparing for the public employees’ pension burden.

    The experience of London is instructive: sales of ultra-high-end luxury housing have declined dramatically, and developers are responding by splitting luxury apartments into 4 times as many (yet still expensive) units. Brexit has accelerated this, but it was already happening due to stamp duties and taxes on non-residents. Those measures are not available to the City and County of San Francisco due to preemption by state and federal laws, but there are other ways around that.

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