To help orient you to housing in San Francisco before diving into our programs and policies page, this page provides a handful of data visuals on population, housing and affordability. However, this is not an analysis of the state of housing and affordability in San Francisco. Instead, visit the following resources:
- For an in-depth analysis of the City’s housing needs (affordable and market rate), please visit the Housing Element of the City’s General Plan.
The Housing Element:
- Analyzes population, employment and income trends as well as the nature and characteristics of existing housing
- Conducts a housing needs assessment
- Provides the list of implementing programs and policies for all forms of housing
- In addition, many groups have conducted their own analyses of housing and affordability. We provide a list of these on our resources page.
Population and Households
Housing can be broken into two parts. The housing units and the people that live in them. The City’s housing programs and policies target both parts. This section focuses on the occupants of housing units. When one or more people live together in a single housing unit they are considered a household. Looking at the number of people and households in San Francisco over time provides context for the City’s housing programs and policies.
Housing Stock and Occupancy
Housing can be broken into two parts. The housing units and the people that live in them. The City’s housing programs and policies target both parts. This section focuses on the housing units, in particular, measures of growth and occupancy.
Renters and Owners
San Francisco is a city dominated by renters. Historically, 2/3 of households are renters. Rental units are located throughout the city but concentrated in the north eastern portion, while owner units represent the majority of the housing stock in the south western part of the city. Explore the trends and distribution of tenure in the charts below.
There is general agreement that if you pay no more than 30% of your income on housing, your housing is "affordable". If you pay over 30% the census considers you “housing-cost burdened.”
The Census publishes estimates of the population that are housing-cost burdened. In San Francisco, estimates from 2014 suggest that over a third of renters and owners with mortgages meet this criteria.
The charts below explore this issue by showing affordability and monthly costs by tenure.