Demographia

San Francisco Bay Area:
Distribution of High Income Households

County Total Households Incomes $100,000 & Over Incomes $150,000 & Over Incomes $200,000 & Over
HOUSEHOLDS IN THE BAY AREA BY INCOME
Alameda County 523,787 116,351 45,659 20,877
Contra Costa County 344,422 92,041 39,599 20,214
Marin County 100,736 35,334 19,206 12,157
Napa County 45,395 8,426 3,364 1,794
San Francisco County 329,850 81,407 37,873 20,260
San Mateo County 254,219 82,041 38,937 21,972
Santa Clara County 566,485 196,082 90,145 44,205
Santa Cruz County 91,244 19,994 7,908 3,917
Sonoma County 172,690 31,226 10,862 5,345
San Francisco Bay Area 2,428,828 662,902 293,553 150,741
SHARE OF HOUSEHOLDS IN THE BAY AREA
Alameda County 21.6% 17.6% 15.6% 13.8%
Contra Costa County 14.2% 13.9% 13.5% 13.4%
Marin County 4.1% 5.3% 6.5% 8.1%
Napa County 1.9% 1.3% 1.1% 1.2%
San Francisco County 13.6% 12.3% 12.9% 13.4%
San Mateo County 10.5% 12.4% 13.3% 14.6%
Santa Clara County 23.3% 29.6% 30.7% 29.3%
Santa Cruz County 3.8% 3.0% 2.7% 2.6%
Sonoma County 7.1% 4.7% 3.7% 3.5%
San Francisco Bay Area 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
         
SHARE OF HIGHER INCOME HOUSEHOLDS IN RELATION TO SHARE OF ALL HOUSEHOLDS
Alameda County   -18.6% -27.9% -35.8%
Contra Costa County   -2.1% -4.9% -5.4%
Marin County 28.5% 57.7% 94.4%
Napa County -32.0% -38.7% -36.3%
San Francisco County -9.6% -5.0% -1.0%
San Mateo County 18.2% 26.7% 39.3%
Santa Clara County 26.8% 31.7% 25.7%
Santa Cruz County -19.7% -28.3% -30.8%
Sonoma County -33.7% -48.0% -50.1%
San Francisco Bay Area 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
         
Calculated from 2000 US Census Data      

It has been argued that the high property values of dense central city neighborhoods demonstrate the attractiveness of such a living style to the market. The data above compares the distribution of high-income households in the San Francisco Bay Area, which at its core has the city and county of San Francisco, the nationís second most dense major municipality. Generally property values and the cost of housing is higher in this dense core than in the rest of the San Francisco Bay Area. At the same time, average densities in the urbanized portions of the San Francisco Bay Area are one-third that of San Francisco.

If higher density living were generally more attractive to the market, then it would be expected that a higher density area, such as the city of San Francisco, would contain a higher percentage of the higher income people able to afford the higher prices. This is not the case.

  • The city of San Francisco contains 13.6 percent of the Bay Areaís households, but only 12.3 percent of the households with annual incomes of more than $100,000.
  • Even at the highest US Census category of $200,000 and above, San Francisco has a smaller share of households than its overall share (13.4 percent).

What this suggests is that high density living is attractive to some people, and not others. In the San Francisco Bay Area, perhaps the nationís best example of a high density vibrant core surrounded by similarly vibrant suburbs, high density living is a niche market.

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