Oakland Local

Bay Area

Census Shows Rockridge Has Most Professional Workers in the Bay Area

Atlantic Cities Blog

Atlantic Cities map shows housing and class issues in the Bay Area using data drawn from the American Community Survey, part of the census.

The Atlantic Cities blog has come out with a fascinating report on housing and class in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Using data from the American Community Survey, reporters Richard Florida and Sara Johnson have mapped out where members of the affluent "creative class" (read skilled professionals), "service class ("read hourly wage and service economy workers") and the working class ("employed in factory jobs as well as transportation and construction") live.

What's the deal with Oakland? According to AC, the #1 location for creative class in the Bay is Rockridge, beating out the Presidio, Russian Hill and even Palo Alto (!!). In Rockridge, according to this report, 86.4 percent of the residents are in this high-income bracket and they live in an area that is right on a BART line, has 77 percent of all housing owner occupied  (compared to a Bay Area cities average of 37 percent owner-occupied), and is 77 percent white.

Oakland also leads in what Florida and Johnson call "working class" residents. They report that half of the top working class tracts are in Oakland, and three are in East Oakland. According to Johnson and Florida, "The working class comprises 16.5 percent of the region's workers, substantially less than the national average of 20.5 percent. These blue-collar workers average $46,540 per year in wages and salaries, substantially better than the national average of $34,015 but just half of what the metro's creative class workers make."

In other words, if you wondered at the people in Oakland who talk about the hills and the flats, or who describe how much poorer East Oakland is compared to Rockridge and Montclair, this research confirms what you already know to be true. 

But the research doesn't call out another reality - the high cost of gentrification. As Bay Area and Oakland home prices continue to rise - and the house market goes into its annual spring/summer frenzy - the "working class" folks making $46,000 a year and less, which includes so many of us in Oakland, are going to feel pretty squeezed to remain in housing in their communities.

Source: Oakland Local []

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