Newly released demographic data from the 2020 Census — which is, albeit, three pandemic years out of date already — shows that Asians now represent a plurality of Bay Area residents, overtaking white people for the first time as the largest racial group in the region.
As the Mercury News reports, the new demographic analysis looks at only six of the Bay Area's typically bundled nine counties — the data reflects San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, and Marin counties, and leaves out most of the North Bay. But it shows a number of notable shifts, a big one being the quickly growing Asian population.
Back in 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau found that the six-county Bay Area was home to 40.3% white people, and 25.5% Asians. Fast-forward to 2020, and the numbers changed pretty significantly, with the two racial groups fairly close in number and Asians now outnumbering whites by two-tenths of a percent — 32.9% white, 33.1% Asian.
As in other parts of the country, the data also shows the population aging, with a 38% jump in the number of people over the age of 65 — and a simultaneous decrease in the birth rate, as shown in a 12% drop in the last decade in the number of children under five years old.
That declining number of kids overall is being felt in school districts across the Bay Area which are experiencing declining enrollment, and a consequent decline in state funding, which has led to battles over the closing of schools.
And, in a shift that should come as no surprise to Millennials, the percent of renter-occupied homes grew from 44.8% in 2010 to 47.1% in 2020, with the number of residents who own their homes declining about 2% over that decade.
Fewer people were able to afford to live alone in 2020 than in 2010, and household sizes generally got bigger. The number of households with five or more people rose 1% over the last decade, from 11% to 12%, and the number of single-person households dropped from 27% to 24%.
As the Mercury News notes, that latter trend may have reversed during the three years of the pandemic, as more people likely moved out of crowded housing situations, but we don't yet have data on that.
Significant shifts occurred in many peoples' lives during the pandemic, especially between mid-2020 and mid-2021, and we know that San Francisco lost a significant chunk of its population in that first year as people worked remotely and fled to more suburban and rural locales. Between July 2021 and July 2022 we know that trend was reversing, however the city did not see any huge influx of newcomers in those 12 months — and actually lost around 2,000 more people.
Previously: Census: Santa Cruz Grew Quickly, SF Shrank Less Quickly In Second Year of Pandemic; Sun Belt Cities Saw Most Growth