(The following figures and data are taken from the 2015 US Census unless otherwise stated)

When gold was discovered in San Francisco in 1848 (though it wouldn’t be incorporated as a city as such until 1850), the population of what had been Yerba Buena (translating to “Good Herb” due to the ubiquitous mint growing in the region) jumped to around 10,000 people, something on the order of a 2,400% increase.

The Diversity of San Francisco’s Population

The population has grown steadily ever since. Despite minor regressions in the latter half of the twentieth century, the tech boom of the 90s brought the population soaring upward again. As of 2016, the population of the city proper is usually given as 864,816, with a metropolitan area population of a little over 4.6 million. Extending to the whole of the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland metropolitan area, the total population figures clock in a little less than 9 million. (8.7 as of 2016.)

San Francisco is the 13th most populous city in the country, but it’s more crowded than most. With a population density of 6,266 people per square mile, San Francisco ranks as the second most densely populated city in the country, second only to New York City.

Ethnographic Data — A Minority-Majority City

San Francisco is one of a relatively small number of minority-majority cities, as no single ethnic group makes up more than 50% of the population.

As of 2015 census estimates, San Francisco’s ethnic makeup is as follows:

  • White 49.48%
  • Asian 33.56%
  • African American 5.74%
  • American Indian or Alaska Native 0.38%
  • Pacific Islander 0.43%
  • Other 5.98%
  • Two or More Races 4.43%

As of the 2010 census, there were 121,744 Hispanics or Latinos of any race (15.1%).

The single largest ethnic minority group in San Francisco is the Chinese population, mostly in Chinatown, Sunset District, and Richmond District, at 21.4% of the population. Of other Asian minorities, Filipinos (4.5% of the population), primarily concentrated in Crocker-Amazon and SoMa, make up one of the largest Filipino communities outside of the Philippines.

San Francisco’s Booming Economic Climate

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (of the US Department of Labor) the civilian labor force of San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward (loosely described as the San Francisco Bay Area) is currently 2,539,800, with an unemployment rate of close to 4%, or 93,900).

The average per capita personal annual income is about $50,000, with a median household income of about $78,000.

Let’s Talk Social in San Francisco

San Francisco is close to evenly split between males (50.7%) and females (49.3%) [2010 US census.]

This graph breaks down the population by age and sex (as a percentage of the total population)

The LGBT population of San Francisco is the largest in the US, at 15.4% of the population, and San Francisco accordingly has the highest percentage of same-sex households.

The Future of San Francisco Demographics

San Francisco is one of the fastest growing cities in the US. Anticipating that growth, San Francisco is already laying the groundwork to build the infrastructure that will be needed to accommodate the anticipated population growth. By some estimates, the city will need to add 191,000 new jobs (out of 1.1 million for the greater Bay Area) and 92,000 housing units (of the Bay Area’s 660,000 housing units) to meet the needs of the 2.1 million people expected to move to the area by 2040. That may sound far off, but, in terms of city planning, twenty years is near enough indeed.

As the population continues to grow, and the civic infrastructure continues to develop, San Francisco will become more dense and more prosperous. With more opportunities and greater influence, the city will continue to grow and to flourish.

Understand Demographics for San Francisco Real Estate



All of the data contained in San Francisco demographics in part explains what draws people to this city and why San Francisco real estate experiences continued stability. If you’re looking to move to this fabulous city, Danielle Lazier :: SFhotlist Team and Compass San Francisco have the experience and reputation to help you buy a home that works for your needs and budget.

Are you looking to sell a home in San Francisco? We excel at that, too! Reach out today for a free consultation.

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We are a collective of highly experienced, full-time real estate agents, founded by DanielleLazier, who believe that real estate is not just about square footage. It's about how you live inside & outside of your home. We are skilled consultants, down-to-earth educators, fierce negotiators and organized project managers. Our top priority when we work with a client is to provide a 5 star experience delivering the best results possible.

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