Race/ethnicity: Nurturing diversity and increasing equity are critical to our region’s future.

Insights & Analyses

  • The Bay Area region has long been one of the most diverse in the nation. People of color became the majority around 1980, some 65 years before the nation as a whole will be majority people of color.
  • San José and San Francisco already have the largest and second-largest Asian or Pacific Islander populations in the country, and the number of Asian or Pacific Islander residents in the region will continue to grow.
  • The Black population in the Bay Area has been steadily declining over time, though the statewide Black population is stable.
  • The area's Native American population has also continued to dwindle, decreasing by over 25 percent between 2000 and 2019.
  • Overall, the region's Latinx and Asian or Pacific Islander populations are increasing. But in some historic cultural neighborhoods, such as San Francisco's Mission District and Chinatown, these populations are decreasing as a share of total because of displacement.
  • The region's aging White population is expected to continue to decline for the foreseeable future due to deaths, low immigration levels, and low birth rates.

Drivers of Demographic Shifts

With its ties to the Pacific Rim and Mexico, as well as its Gold Rush history, the Bay Area has long been a destination for immigrants from within the United States and abroad, and boasts one of the most diverse populations in the country, if not the world. The housing crisis is placing the region's diversity at risk. Since 1980, the region’s high cost of living has pushed out many of its Black and Latinx residents, contributing to significant decline in the Black population overall and the resegregation of the region as lower-income Black and Latinx residents are displaced to the outer suburbs.


Invest in people: Strategies to strengthen racial diversity and inclusion

Strategy in Action

Preserving Filipinx culture and heritage in a changing neighborhood. The Filipinx community has long-standing and strong roots in San Francisco’s South of Market (SOMA) neighborhood. However, over the past few decades economic and real estate developments have threatened cultural and physical displacement of long-time residents. In 2016, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors designated SOMA Pilipinas as a cultural heritage district, tasked with preserving and celebrating the rich and diverse history of the Filipinx community in SOMA through community organizing, cultural events, protection of community assets, and advocating for justice and the rights of residents. One such effort designed to boost economic vitality among local entrepreneurs and cultural awareness is the UNDISCOVERED SF night markets that began in fall 2017. With more than 10,000 people in attendance on opening night, the night market not only generated revenue for Filipinx small businesses, but also provided skill-set-building workshops and mentorship to sustain long-term growth. Learn more.


Photo: SOMA Pilipinas 

In Their Own Words...

“ Having stable housing means having my independence.”

— Sonja Sawyer, San Francisco

51-year old Sonja Sawyer's mother was among the nearly 6,000 predominantly Black families displaced from the Western Addition and Hunters Point by San Francisco's urban renewal program during the 1960s and '70s. The city issued these households a "certificate of preference" that gives them priority in accessing city-funded housing projects. Sonja's mother passed down the certificate, but it took Sonja seven years to navigate the various eligibility requirements and successfully find her new home in Mission Bay. She likes her new neighborhood, and appreciates living near a transit stop where she can take the train to work at Young Community Developers in the Bayview.


Photo: Felix Uribe

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