The conventional definition of the Bay Area was always the nine counties that touched SF Bay somewhere. These were:
- San Francisco, which everyone used to acknowledge as The City, because it was a City and a County both!
- Alameda, its close-by yet cheaper urban commuter residence, home to Oakland, Berkeley, and of course, Hayward.
- Contra Costa, further away, and featuring the lovely features of Richmond contrasted with the excitement of the I-680 corridor.
- San Mateo, the nicer bedroom county. Not as nice as Marin, but easier to get to, and more importantly now, waaaaay closer to Google.
- Santa Clara, formerly the valley of fruits and nuts, now home to the real economic engines. As in Google and Apple and Facebook and Intel and Cisco and a bunch of other places that make it possible for you to read this blog every day.
- Marin, home to aging hippies and even more aging real estate, it’s the whitest part of the Bay Area
- Sonoma, rural and removed from, well, everything above.
- Napa, even more rural and removed except when the tourists clog up the wineries.
- Solano, our very own Stockton on the Bay. That’s a reference to their finances, not their cattle ranching. Vallejo has a different economy.
Yet The Bay Area is often missing from lists comparing different parts of the country because the Census Bureau (now in shutdown mode!) decided to break The Bay Area into two different metropolitan areas. There’s the San Francisco Metropolitan Statistical Area, and there’s the San Jose one. San Francisco also got Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Marin counties.
What did San Jose get? San fucking Benito. Thanks a LOT, Census anal-retentives. You take the fifth largest metro area in the country and bust us into number 11. And number 34. Thanks a fucking lot, people counting geeks. We really appreciate all the respect for our geographic integrity.
Breaking SF and SJ into different metros is utterly stupid. Also, SF gets San Mateo AND Alameda Counties, which have plenty of commuters crossing into Santa Clara County.
I finally found some actual commuting numbers in this chart here. 72 thousand San Mateo County residents commute to SF and 61 thousand commute to Santa Clara County. But… this was in 2010. Lots more people even in SF taking the Google Bus now. (SF-to-SCC commuters was 18K, the reverse was 7K)
You know what else is stupid? This graph. The size of the arrows seems to have little to do with how many commuters they represent when compared to the same size arrow in another county. That big-assed snot-green one coming out of Contra Costa to Alameda? It actually is the biggest inter-county commute, with 120 thousand people crossing the line to get to work. But the two opposed arrows out of San Mateo County, going to SF and Santa Clara County? The baby shit brown one is longer but the purple one represents 10,000 more people. Similarly, the same two colors coming out of Alameda? That fabulous purple arrow is longer and just as wide, but there’s 6,000 more people heading to Silicon Valley than The City.
The chart key says arrow width is what matters, not length. But that’s bad design. A stubby arrow connotes direction but also represents area. A longer arrow should either show a longer commute or also more commuters. And both SF vs SJ (well, SCC) arrows are not equilinear, yet the danged chart doesn’t tell us why that is.
There are more jobs in SCC than any other county in the Bay Area, too, 953K. The next biggest job center is Alameda County with 737K, and The So-Called City is third with 621K.
Feel free to talk about your commute, where your job is in relation to your house, or anything you want. It’s not like we’ve ever removed a post for being off-topic.