Household Incomes: San Francisco versus the Mission, 2000 to 2013

While the population of San Francisco’s Mission District has actually dropped nearly 10 percent since the year 2000 census, the number of households has increased 11 percent. And the percentage of households in the Mission with incomes over $150,000 has jumped 65 percent versus 10 percent for the city as a whole.

And while the Hispanic/Latino population in San Francisco has increased 13 percent since 2000, it dropped 27 percent in the Mission (from 60 to 48 percent of the total) and accounted for 170 percent of the neighborhood’s population loss.

If the current trend continues, San Francisco’s Budget and Legislative Analyst’s office is projecting that the Hispanic/Latino population in the Mission will drop to 31 percent of the neighborhood total by 2025.

And with a projected “significant increase” in the number of households with incomes over $100,000 over the next ten years, “more neighborhood residents will be able to pay higher rents, making housing [even] less accessible and affordable to those with relatively lower incomes,” according to a just released Policy Analysis Report with respect to Displacement in the Mission District:

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by bleeper

    Sounds like we should give all of the affordable housing money for the city of SF to the mission district. /s
    Why is it that this site has never reported on the Pro prop I coalitions “plan” should prop I pass?

    [Editor’s Note: We’ll stick with reporting actual plans and actions versus “plans”.]

  2. Posted by moto mayhem

    wish they had more income bands showing that this.

    $150K-$250K income is still pretty middle class, so >150K is not that helpful in determining if Mission has gotten “wealthy”. The 1% only starts at $475K/y

    i would liek to see the following bands
    100-175K
    175-250K
    250K-400K
    >400K

    • Posted by HousingWonk

      $150k to $250k is NOT middle class. The median household income in San Francisco is roughly $75k. Meaning 50% of households in SF earn less than that and 50% earn more than that. It is, by definition, the middle. $150k is 200% of the median household income. $250k is over 300% of that.

      $150k puts you in the rough top 25% of households for SF. $250k put you in roughly the top 10%. NOT middle class.

      • Posted by moto mayhem

        250k/yr is certainly not upper class. you might stretch and call it upper middle class, but 150 is firmly rooted in middle class

        • Posted by OtherDan

          If it’s top ten percent, then it is, by definition, the upper class. This seems pretty straightforward.

          • Posted by REPornaddict

            Based on what definition which is so straightforward??

            Even from a quick Wiki glance: “According to this view, the upper class is generally contained within the wealthiest 1-2% of the population, and is distinguished by immense wealth (in the form of estates) which is passed on from generation to generation”

          • Posted by OtherDan

            Oh, come on. This is the standard straining to point at people who make more as the really rich ones. The top one to two percent is, for all intents and purposes, the economic aristocracy. Middle 50%, from 25 to 75%, defines middle pretty easily. The top of the middle is upper middle, but still at or below 75%. Between that and the top one or two percent is upper class. Such a tortured process to try to weasel out of that kind of definition.

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            the 76% percentile is most certainly not upper class.

            Upper class is defined by both assets and salary. the 76% for the country is ~100K. nowhere near upper class, and probably paycheck to paycheck in any of the top 20 cities.

          • Posted by OtherDan

            It must be a mighty burden to you to be rich an ignorant of it.

      • Posted by pringles

        At $250k/year, it’s still hard to afford a house in the city.

      • Posted by anon2

        $250K is “middle class” if you’re personally in that category, but spend your money frivolously and so you still feel like you’re broke.

        $250K is “middle class” if you don’t get out much, surround yourself with mostly wealthy friends and assume that group is representative of the typical people living in the area.

        $250K is “middle class” if you define that as being able to afford a 2500 square foot single family residence with 3 cars, 2 kids, 1 dog, and a white picket fence.

        Believe me, it’s entirely possible to live in San Francisco comfortably on $75K per year. It just depends on your priorities and how you define “comfortably”. You rent a room in an apartment, or maybe an in-law in someone’s basement. You might not own a car. Many people do exactly that, and do it quite comfortably too. Maybe it’s a lower standard of living than the same income might enjoy out in Podunk Missouri, but out here it’s still considered “middle class”.

        • Posted by moto mayhem

          paycheck to paycheck is not middle class

  3. Posted by Alai

    What is the definition of “household”– do roommates count as a household, or not? It seems not, or else it’s unlikely that there would have been such an increase in low-income households.

  4. Posted by moto mayhem

    the ownership ratio in the mission actually increased over this timeframe, which is very good for the neighborhood

    • Posted by SFCitizen

      I agree that an increase in home ownership is a very good thing. But, I doubt certain elected politicians would agree. As the percentage of resident owners increases we will likely see a change in City political direction.

    • Posted by HousingWonk

      Why is that a good thing? The assumption that homeowners are “better” for a neighborhood is a complete myth and not at all borne out by an academic studies that have examined the issue. There was a fad in academic circles that thought they had found a positive correlation between homeownership and various positive quality of life and neighborhood civic engagement metrics, but those studies have since been debunked.

      Your statement is complete normative and arbitrary.

      • Posted by Alai

        I think the idea is that once there are enough homeowners, we will be able to dispense with this “make housing affordable” nonsense and have public policy which is 100% dedicated to increasing comfort and convenience (and property values) for the select group of people who are property owners.

        Some people look forward to this a great deal.

  5. Posted by Jake

    moto, the census data has 10 income bands, but the two highest are $150k-$199k and $200k or more. They are just republishing census data that has been publicly available for more than a year.

    Alai, household includes everyone that is a resident of the housing unit. The increase in poor people has long been known and is not a surprise in the Mission or in the USA for that matter. Notice that 2000 was at an economic peak in SF and 2009-2013 spans a recession that was hardest on lower income people.

    Anyway, these proportional increases in the top and bottom economic tiers and a decline in the middle is old news in the Mission. As is the increase in ownership and decrease in population.

    For ~20 years, relatively wealthier people have been buying in the Mission, bidding/driving up housing costs, and families with children and less money have been moving out of SF and to less desirable neighborhoods in SF, mostly in the Excelsior to Bayview area. There are 4 year-old studies of this based on the 2010 census. Most of the projections in this report look like they are just forecasting more of the same. Not a surprise given an already 20 year-old trend.

  6. Posted by BayviewSF

    Homeownership is only 25% in the Mission, which is abnormally low. It has a long way to increase its homeownership to a normal level.

    • Posted by Jake

      What do you mean by “abnormally low”? That’s about the homeownership rate or a little lower than the Marina, Pac Heights, Russian Hill, Haight, Inner Richmond, and SoMa. It is higher than Lakeshore, Nob Hill, North Beach, Western Addition, Chinatown, Downtown, and FiDi. It is actually close to the norm for SF east of the Presidio and north of Cesar Chavez.

      • Posted by scott

        Jake’s informative comments are one of the reasons I appreciate this site and visit it daily. Keep it up Jake!

  7. Posted by Pfffttt

    Whatever. Where did this report/these numbers come from? This report is useless. What about the CASH income that I’m sure some of these Mission residents get paid that don’t get reported? Cash income may not change these numbers drastically, but they probably also wouldn’t make things look so apocalyptically bleak. My parents’ customer base is largely Hispanic, and in speaking with them over the years, A LOT of US dollars get sent “home” to their “other” family in Mexico.

  8. Posted by brooder

    The real scandal seems to be that the lowest income group is expanding the fastest citywide. We appear to be attracting households that have no chance – not even close – to maintain their own lives in the city.

    • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

      Well, are low-income families moving here? Or are families that previously earned higher incomes now earning less? I can’t tell from these numbers, and those are two very different situations.

    • Posted by BayviewSF

      More illegal immigrants and more retirees. If every adult earns a minimum wage in SF, it would be over $60k easily for a 2 adult household. Many of the sub-35k household are probably under-reporting their cash income to get welfare.

  9. Posted by Grubber2

    These are nominal, non-inflation adjusted figures, from what I can tell. Without using real, inflation adjusted figures any analytical conclusion is bogus.

    • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

      If these are not real numbers, then the large growth in under-$35,000 households is truly remarkable (and tragic) given that the 2013 dollar is worth almost 40% less than the 2000 dollar.

  10. Posted by EDTA

    In terms of numbers of people increasing, rather than relative percentage, the “less than $35k” population is the demographic that is increasing most rapidly, at 18,461 people for SF, and 910 for the Mission.
    The priorities at City Hall are dysfunctional and typical of the rest of American politics. The working middle is being squeezed, while political policies only help the bottom and the top.

    • Posted by BayviewSF

      If more BMR and more public housing is built, low income population will increase even more.

  11. Posted by NOPASF

    Can’t we all be middle class?

  12. Posted by Alex

    “And while the Hispanic/Latino population in San Francisco has increased 13 percent since 2000, it dropped 27 percent in the Mission (from 60 to 48 percent of the total) and accounted for 170 percent of the neighborhood’s population loss.”

    How can a group account for 170% of a total number? If the neighborhood lost 100 people, 170 of them were Hispanic/Latino?

    • Posted by SocketSite

      That’s correct. Because at the same time, 70 people who are not Hispanic/Latino moved in.

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