Census data mapped by tract. Dark red indicates median income of over $75,000 a year. Via Census Explorer / ACB

In several recent meetings, activists have shouted down developers over the changes in the Mission and the displacement of low-income communities of color. Census data shows how profound those changes have been.

Long a working class neighborhood, the Mission’s average earnings have risen steadily since 2000, climbing from $54,000 (unadjusted) to $82,000 a year. Its foreign residents are still mostly from Latin America, but they are increasingly also Asian and European and the average level of education has also risen.

Data via American Census Bureau. Chart by Andrew Beckerman

Along the Calle 24 corridor, which used to be a single census tract, median income was measured at about $26,000 in 1990, equivalent to $47,000 income in 2013 dollars. Though the area still has some of the lower-earning census tracts (in the median $60,000 range), incomes have risen to a median of about $90,000 a year.

Earnings can still vary dramatically from one census tract, which span a few blocks, to the next. In the area from Market to 17th between Valencia and South Van Ness, the median income is around $34,000. A few diagonal blocks away, from 17th to 22nd between Valencia and Dolores, median income is $115,000. Such disparities are increasingly common in San Francisco, which now now boasts the second highest income disparity of all U.S. cities. But beyond that, the top earners in San Francisco actually earn hundreds of thousands of dollars more a year than the highest earners in other cities.

The Mission Economic Development Agency’s Mission Promise Neighborhood program shows that the shift is happening through displacement – some 1,500 low-income families have left the Mission since 2000, the agency reported.

Even as household incomes rise, the number of people supported by those earnings is shrinking with the average household size falling to 2.5 from 2.8 in 2000.

Data via American Census Bureau. Chart by Andrew Beckerman

The Mission’s immigrant population is also shrinking. The neighborhood used to be 42% foreign-born; nowadays it is about 34% foreign-born.  In the Mission, casual observers might assume the foreign-born in the Mission are mostly from Latin America, which is the case, but 2014 estimates show that about 25 percent came from Asia, and 11 percent from Europe.

The Examiner reported that an estimated 8000 Latinos had left the Mission in the last ten years.

Data via American Census Bureau, compiled by Andrew Beckerman

The proportion of residents with higher education under their belts is also growing. Nearly a third of neighbors now have college degrees, and graduate degrees became significantly more popular in 2005-2009.

Data via American Census Bureau. Chart by Andrew Beckerman

A Paragon Real Estate report  based on this census data also showed that renting continues to be the most common form of tenancy, but an increasing number of people live in the unit they own in the Mission.

About 34% of the Mission’s housing stock is owner-occupied. That’s about average for the city, but it’s actually an increase from previous census years. In 2000, owner-occupancy ranged from 10 to 30 percent of units across the local census tracts. In 1990, the lowest rate was in the Northeast corner of the Mission, at around seven percent owner-occupied. City-wide, owner-occupied percentage has barely budged since 1990, hovering around 35 percent.

Andrew Beckerman, an interested Mission resident, parsed the Census and American Communities Survey data for this story. 

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