San Francisco’s population grew by 8.5 percent between 2010 and 2020, primarily due to an increasing Asian population, according to an analysis of Census Data.
Most neighborhoods saw only slight population growth within the decade, but the northeast experienced a boom. Mission Bay is a particular standout. Its population almost doubled, from around 9,000 to more than 17,400 residents in just 10 years, an indication of how much the Mission Bay development plan has been realized.
In only one decade, nearly 3,700 new housing units have gone up in Mission Bay, biotech has continued to grow, UCSF has expanded, the Warriors have opened a new stadium and the San Francisco Police Department has a gleaming new headquarters.
There were pockets of slight decline throughout the city, most significantly in the southern neighborhoods of Lakeshore and Excelsior.
In some neighborhoods, the changes in San Francisco’s four biggest ethnic groups — the Hispanic, white, Black, and Asian populations — changed dramatically. You can explore these shifts using the map below. Click the buttons to view by ethnic group and click the neighborhoods to see population change.
The graphs below show these changes on the city level.
Here are a few of the most notable transformations seen in San Francisco neighborhoods.
1. In the Mission, the Hispanic population has continued to decrease
In the Mission, the population remained fairly stable over the decade, but its ethnic makeup shifted significantly.
Gentrification has chipped away at the Hispanic population of the Mission — which the Census Bureau counted as half of the total population in 1990 and 2000. This trend continued over the past decade.
“The Mission District has historically had a huge percentage of renters,” said Nancy Mirabal, an academic who has written on Latinx displacement in the Mission and now teaches at the University of Maryland.
When rent prices began to spike in the early 2000s, Mirabal said, many tenants were pushed out of their homes. According to the 2009 American Community Survey, 62 percent of the city’s housing stock was renter-occupied, compared to 74 percent in the Mission, so people in the Mission were heavily impacted by price increases.
Last year, there were about 3,400 fewer Hispanic residents in the area compared to 10 years prior. That constituted a drop of 14.4 percent, and was the largest decrease in Hispanic population seen in any major San Francisco neighborhood.
Meanwhile, in most neighborhoods, the Hispanic population grew by more than a quarter.
During the same period, the smaller Asian and Black communities in the Mission grew.
2. Northeast San Francisco saw a huge increase in population
Populations skyrocketed in Mission Bay, the Financial District/South Beach, South of Market and Potrero Hill.
These northeastern neighborhoods saw a far higher rate of growth than other areas of the city. This increase was driven primarily by an increase in the Asian population: In three of these four neighborhoods, the Asian population more than doubled.
Each of these neighborhoods saw similar change among ethnic groups.
It’s likely that new housing developments were behind this population growth, as the rise correlates with an increase in housing units.
For example, in Mission Bay, a 77 percent rise in the number of housing units accompanied a 92 percent population increase. Similar correlations can be seen in other northeast neighborhoods.
3. The Black population is decreasing in San Francisco
The Black population shrank slightly, becoming the only racial group to dwindle over the decade. It made up 5.2 percent of the total population in 2020, compared to 5.8 percent in 2010.
“Black San Franciscans have been leaving the city since the 1970s,” said Rachel Brahinsky, an expert in Urban Studies from the University of San Francisco. Unaffordable housing and other economic pressures have meant that the past decade’s loss was part of a longer trend.
The decrease since 2010 was driven primarily by Black residents leaving Bayview, where they made up almost a quarter of the city’s Black population. By 2020, 10.1 percent had left Bayview, and Black residents comprised 23.5 percent of the residents as more people overall flocked to the neighborhood.
The U.S. Census Bureau released results on the changes in population and racial and ethnic demographics in August after surveying U.S. residents in the midst of the pandemic from early 2020 to Oct. 15, 2020.
We looked at ethnicity data, which breaks down demographics by Hispanic and non-Hispanic.
For the purposes of our analyses, we used the neighborhood boundaries denoted by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development and the Department of Public Health with support from the Planning Department in 2010.
Maps by Will Jarrett. Charts by David Mamaril Horowitz.