Study: San Francisco Bay Area More Segregated in 2010 than 1970

San Francisco Skyline Painted Ladies (Justin Sullivan / Getty)
Justin Sullivan / Getty

A new study published by the University of California Berkeley has found that the San Francisco Bay Area was more racially segregated in 2010 than it was in 1970, at the peak of the civil rights era.

The study, published UC Berkeley’s Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society with an interactive web map, notes that racial segregation has actually declined in San Francisco and Alameda counties (though it remains high there), but has risen elsewhere.

In addition, the authors note:

Some measures of [nationwide] segregation show improvement while others indicate stagnation or worsening conditions. For example, the most widely used measure shows that racial segregation has declined substantially since 1970 while remaining at a high level nationwide. On the other hand, economic segregation has grown significantly [nationwide] in the last 50 years.

Some counties, such as San Francisco, have shown substantial reduction in segregation since 1980 but are still in the “High segregation” zone. Other counties, such as San Mateo, have gone from moderately segregated to nearly high levels of segregation during the same period.

Alameda and San Francisco can be classified as being highly segregated under this index since 1980, though both counties display substantial decline in segregation. Perhaps most concerning, all but two of the nine counties have had increases in segregation under this measure since 1980, though Contra Costa and Solano display moderate level of increase within the same time period. And, in fact, in many cases, the increases in levels of segregation have been relatively large (such as in Sonoma, Napa, Marin, and Santa Clara), even if the final value is at a relatively low or moderate level. Thus, Marin has had a twofold increase in the level of segregation, even if the initial level was fairly moderate.

The San Francisco Chronicle notes that black-white segregation is actually falling in the Bay Area, but the segregation of Asians and Latinos from whites is increasing, according to the study.

Many critics of development and zoning policies in the Bay Area and other liberal regions have argued that the adoption of “progressive” priorities has often resulted in high housing costs that have pushed minority groups away.

Economist Thomas Sowell wrote in 2012:

No city is more liberal in its rhetoric and policies than San Francisco. Yet there are less than half as many blacks living in San Francisco today as there were in 1970.

Nor is San Francisco unique. A number of other very liberal California counties saw their black populations drop by 10,000 people or more, just between the 1990 and 2000 censuses — even when the total population of these counties was growing.

One of the many reasons why rhetoric does not automatically translate into reality is that the ramifications of so many government policies produce results completely different from what was claimed, or even believed, when these policies were imposed.

Breitbart News noted in 2015 that certain black neighborhoods in the city of San Francisco are losing black residents as the tech sector, and its wealthy employees, move in and price long-term residents out of the housing market.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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