Gentrification of San Francisco Bay Area

Updated August 12, 2022

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Gentrification of San Francisco Bay Area essay

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The Bay Area is the only place I have known my whole life, I moved to a city called Hayward when I was about 3 years old, I grew up in a beautiful area where I got to interact with many people of many cultures and learn new things. Gentrification is a big word and didn’t know what it meant until high school when everything suddenly started changing and since I became older I could see it with my own eyes. When I moved here to the “Bay” my parents and I, moved into a one bedroom apartment in a fairly good neighborhood, I lived there until I was about 12, then we had to move out. I didn’t understand why I had to leave my school and my neighborhood friends.

I would often complain to my parents I hated the new school I attended to but they told me that a one bedroom apartment was too small for our growing family and that the prices had skyrocketed and they could no longer afford our old home. She told me paying close to 2,000 was insane for a place that small and luckily enough they had found a cheaper place a few miles away in the same city. It was a duplex that had two rooms and much cheaper than living in the old apartments we used to. As years have gone by I have seen the city I love so much change in good ways and bad ways.

The mall has been re-modified, shopping centers have been built, schools have been upgraded; however, with all these new improvements they have caused people to begin to migrate to this small city that used to be so unknown. Which also cause rent increase and raise property value. Gentrification is an issue that is starting to become a big problem for Bay Area residents, Increasing property values which creates housing crisis, loss of culture in neighborhoods, and increases the number of property crimes that occur.

Gentrification affects those of middle class and low income. Low-income neighborhoods although are the ones targeted by gentrification the most and are the ones that experience the most negative sides of it. Most places that are gentrified are started by big corporation companies capitalizing on the riches the city brings. They start this by providing “high” quality housing and entertainment to attract those of high income to live/visiting the location while taking everything down that does not meet “high” quality.

Over the past years, the Bay area located in the middle west side of California has shown prosperity with its many important landmarks, successful sports teams and rich neighborhoods filled with many different cultures, music, and arts. Being part of such an important part of California has attracted a lot of outsiders but sadly those who had helped make the Bay Area such a vibrant place are being kicked out. Being considered low income in the bay area doesn’t really mean they are considered low income in other parts of California. An example of this is an article published by The New York Times San Francisco Is So Expensive, You Can Make Six Figures and Still Be ‘Low Income’. In the article, they talk about how ridiculously expensive it is to live in San Francisco.

In the article, they state “for a two-bedroom in the San Francisco area at $3,121. The median home price has climbed above $1 million, according to a recent report by the California Association of Realtors, and sales are robust.”(Zraick) Housing prices escalate and rent is constantly being raised, this causes people who have lived in there home for decades no longer being able to afford their rent. People become evicted from their homes, which leaves space for wealthy people who can afford the high prices to move in. This process leaves more people on the street homeless were nowhere to go since the city they love so much and had lived in out of reach for them.

A melting pot of cultures and race. The bay area is the melting pot, however as gentrification continues to occur in places like these, cultures are lost. As wealthy white people move into these historical cultured based neighborhood, people who actually belong to the culture are being kicked out and these once historical neighborhoods lose what made them so special. A good example of this is Mission District in San Francisco which has deep roots to the community, There are many activists trying to protect the neighborhood from gentrification, often protesting evictions, rent increase and big changes in the neighborhood. Mission District isn’t the own place losing a big part of there community so is Castro district.

In an article by the Guardian called Is San Francisco losing its soul? The author Zoe Corbyn writes “The Castro district, the world famous ‘gayborhood’ synonymous with progressive hero Harvey Milk. The area was hit badly by evictions in the first dot com boom, he says, and has been finished off by the latest tech surge. ‘It is more homeowner and much straighter, much whiter and much more conservative.’ Places like Castro are famous for the people that live in those communities, however now many of those who used to live there no longer do, straight wealthy people move into those move into there and things like gay flags are taken down, rainbow murals are painted over and the Castro district isn’t what it used to be.

A very common myth is that gentrification decreases crime rates, this has been proven false as a matter a fact crime rates stay the same or even increase a bit, this occurs because wealthier residents mean a bigger target. West Oakland which is a place most used to consider as ‘the ghetto’ and was a place of high crime and poverty has begun to change. Although yes, some crime has decreased because of gentrification, serious crimes like rape and murder have fallen. In an article by The Mercury News, they state “In a year that saw its overall crime rate dip significantly, Oakland finished 2018 with 68 murders, its lowest total since 62 in 1999.” Murders, especially in Oakland have always been a problem in the community, part of the reason why many people have always avoided those areas, however as gentrification occurs some crime does go down, however as rich wealthy people move in property crimes also increase like car break-in, thefts, and burglaries.

To most problems, there are solutions that help prevent them from occurring. In the case of gentrification, one of the biggest problems it creates an increment in the cost rent. The ongoing increase of rent leaves many long-time residents no choice but to relocate and in some cases become homeless. A solution to this although is constructing affordable homes and apartments that many of the longtime residents especially those of low income and of color that they can afford. In an area like the Bay Area where rent prices have doubled affordable housing would be a good start to combating the current Gentrification problem.

In an article written by KQED News, they state that “In Oakland, 14.6 percent of households make less than $30,000, so we’d expect about 14.6 percent of people in that income level to leave the city” This is a high percentage for number people estimated to leave Oakland, one of the Bay Area’s bustling cities. With the start of more affordable housing projects, many of those projected to relocate out of Oakland could have the chance of staying with the chance of living in a place that fits their income. Tax policies should also be developed as it prevents many of the longtime residents to receive overbearing tax on their homes. This tax policy would help longtime homeowners avoid receiving high tax prices on their homes. Many of them have their home taxes piling up and becoming too much for them to cover a policy like this would help many long residents recite their homes without the fear of not being able to afford it.

In conclusion, gentrification continues to push long term residents out the inner cities to the outer ones. As this becomes a bigger problem, there should be acts to help prevent it from becoming a greater issue. Longtime residents deserve affordable housing and do not deserve to be forced to relocate. More projects should be created to help fund and create affordable housing and laws that help protect those of low income from becoming homeless. Resources should be given to families and neighborhoods to help them prosper such as jobs and startups for companies owned by low-income people of color. Help maintain cultural neighborhoods such as Mexican, African American, Asian etc. intact. All of this could help the Bay Area be a bustling area while preventing the negatives of gentrification from pushing longtime residents out the area they have helped construct and prosper.

Work Cited

  1. Allen-Price, Olivia. “How Many Are Being Displaced by Gentrification in Oakland?” KQED, KQED News, 12 Jan. 2018
  2. Corbyn, Zoë. “Is San Francisco Losing Its Soul?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 23 Feb. 2014
  3. Hurd, Rick, et al. “2018 Review: Oakland Murders Dip to Lowest Level since 1999; Major Crimes Fall Regionally.” The Mercury News, The Mercury News, 2 Jan. 2019
  4. Richards, Kathleen. “The Forces Driving Gentrification in Oakland.” East Bay Express, East Bay Express, 19 Feb. 2019,
  5. Zraick, Karen. “San Francisco Is So Expensive, You Can Make Six Figures and Still Be ‘Low Income’.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 30 June 2018,
Gentrification of San Francisco Bay Area essay

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Gentrification of San Francisco Bay Area. (2022, Feb 11). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/gentrification-of-san-francisco-bay-area/


Does San Francisco have gentrification?
Ongoing and advanced gentrification is most prevalent in San Francisco (18.5% of all tracts) and Alameda (11.1% of tracts) counties , and least prevalent in Contra Costa, Sonoma, and Yolo counties, mainly due the absence of densely populated, urban tracts.
How has gentrification affected the Bay Area?
A 30 percent increase in rents, for example, led to a nearly 30 percent decline in low income minority residents in Bay Area communities . Existing white residents, however, were likely to stay put as their neighborhood changed, the study found. “The impacts were not equal,” Schwartz said.
How is San Francisco being gentrified?
A major increase of gentrification in San Francisco has been attributed to the Dot-Com Boom in the 1990s, creating a strong demand for skilled tech workers from local startups and close by Silicon Valley businesses leading to rising standards of living.
What is the impact of gentrification in San Francisco?
Gentrification can improve neighborhoods that suffer from underinvestment, but it can also cause the displacement of long-term residents, cherished landmarks and long-standing businesses and it can make neighborhoods homogenous, sterile and less able to meet the day-to-day needs of their residents.
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