Rent and Demographic Change

Rent and Demographic Change in the Bay Area, 2000-2015

The Urban Displacement Project and California Housing Partnership, with support from The San Francisco Foundation, conducted research to document the mobility patterns for low-income people of color at the neighborhood level in the nine-county Bay Area region.  Our reports and maps provide evidence that low-income people of color in the Bay Area suffer the most as housing prices rise, and displacement pressures push them into higher poverty, lower-resource neighborhoods where the odds are stacked against them.  

Rent and Demographic Change Map

These maps illustrate changes in median rent (inflation-adjusted) and demographics between 2000 and 2015 for Alameda County, Contra Costa County, and San Francisco. All data comes from the U.S. Census (2000) and American Community Survey (2011-2015). To use the map, start by selecting either the Rent or Demographic Change map. The Rent Change map shows the percent change in median rent at the census tract level between 2000 and 2015. The Demographic Change Map shows change in the number of households by demographic group at the census tract level between 2000 and 2015. This map can be filtered by race, income group, or both.

Key Findings

  • Between 2000 and 2015, as housing prices rose, historically Black cities and neighborhoods across the region lost thousands of low-income Black households. These areas include the Bayview in San Francisco, flatland neighborhoods in Oakland and Berkeley, and the cities of East Palo Alto, Richmond, and Vallejo. Increases in low-income Black households during the same period were concentrated the region’s outer edges, namely cities and neighborhoods in Solano County, eastern Contra Costa County, and southern Alameda County that have relatively lower housing prices and fewer resources.
  • Large increases in the number of low-income people of color living in areas that became newly segregated and high-poverty between 2000 and 2015 are evidence that rising housing costs and migration patterns have contributed to new concentrations of segregation and poverty in the region.
  • Low-income households of color were much more vulnerable than low-income White households to the impact of rapid increases in housing prices. In the Bay Area, a 30% tract-level increase in median rent paid between 2000 and 2015 was associated with a 28% decrease in low-income households of color but no change in low-income White households.
  • Low-income households who made any kind of move in 2015—whether they stayed within their county of origin or left it—ended up paying a higher share of their income on rent than those who did not move, a clear indicator of the high cost of displacement.
  • Upon moving, a substantial share of low-income people left the region altogether; approximately 30% of low-income people of color who moved in 2015 left the Bay Area. The share of movers leaving the region was highest among those moving from San Francisco and San Mateo counties, which have some of the most expensive rents in the region.