March 20, 2011

2010 Census Data Displays Diverse Diversity Diversions

Thanks to Burbed reader Real Estater for nominating this article by posting it in the comments on Friday.


Image from USA Today

East Bay tops among California’s most diverse places

By Eric Kurhi and Matt O’Brien, Contra Costa Times
Posted: 03/18/2011 03:20:18 PM PDT

HAYWARD — Close to the geographic center of a city known as the “Heart of the Bay,” Luciano Ruiz peered out the pickup window of a burger joint in what is, by one measure, the most racially diverse neighborhood in California.

“There’s been a mix of people here ever since I grew up,” said Ruiz, 18. “It’s always been mainly Latino down here in South Hayward, but now you see more African-Americans, a lot more Asians. I’ve seen a little increase in Middle Eastern people.”

The 2010 census shows a collection of census tracts in the Hayward flatlands as the most diverse in California and a microcosm of the state’s likely future. Latinos are the largest group, but share the space with many other people. Multicultural churches, mosques and businesses are in walking distance.

Thirty-five miles away, in the Walnut Creek retirement community of Rossmoor, a cluster of census tracts reflect an older, less integrated California. About 90 percent of residents are white and less than 1 percent are African-American in the Bay Area’s least-diverse neighborhood.

“It’s probably accurate,” said Rossmoor resident David Smith of the newly released statistics. “Our population is overwhelmingly white.”

imageSince this is from the Contra Costa Times, there’s little about neighborhoods in Santa Clara or San Mateo County, and which would be the most or least diverse. East Palo Alto was specifically called out as one of the 10 most diverse communities in California. The diversity index is the probability that two randomly picked people from the area would be of different race or ethnicity. Maybe you might have an idea which neighborhoods you’d nominate?

imageAnyway, I looked up the data, and East Palo Alto has a DI of 83.4 (the highest was 86.4 and Hayward was 85.1).  Oakland was 81.1. Not mentioned in the article are Sacramento, 79.6, South San Francisco, 79.0, San Jose, 77.1, San Bruno, 76.3, Santa Clara, Cholula Half Gallon - Click Image to Close71.8, and Sunnyvale, 70.7.  On the other end of the scale we find Belvedere, 16.4, Portola Valley, 22.3, Woodside, 25.2, and Boulder Creek at 26.  Don’t assume that a low DI means white-bread; the Central Valley’s Mendota is 96.6% Hispanic and has a DI of 26.0.

In case you’re wondering how some areas end up with lots of diversity, here’s the secret, according to the above article:

It didn’t happen overnight,” Bogue said. “Just like anywhere, somebody puts a house up for sale, somebody looks at it and somebody buys it.”

Yeah, that couldn’t happen in Atherton, where houses are bequeathed.  But while houses are occasionally listed for sale in homogenous census tracts, the diverse ones, such as Richmond, San Pablo, Pittsburg, Hayward, Vallejo, Oakland and San Leandro have another interesting thing in common.

imageLocal historian Frank Goulart said affordability has also long attracted a broad spectrum of people to parts of Hayward.

“If you want an honest answer, it’s the cheap housing,” Goulart said.

He said many of the homes in the city’s most diverse tracts “were built like shacks.”

There you go.  Diversity is code for crapboxes (like this one above, in Hayward, the City of Diversity).  But don’t worry about it.  The majority of California public school students are now Hispanic, so the Diversity Index must be heading down (see Mendota, above).  That means housing quality will go up, so the Real Bay Area will get bigger!

imageThere’s no danger of that in Silicon Valley, though.  Santa Clara County’s index is a kumbayah 74, almost as multicultural as Alameda County’s state-topping 78.  The least diverse Bay Area County?  Marin, at 45. The overall state index is 72.9, second only to Hawaii’s 81.1.

But what’s more important is housing!  And the county with the highest percentage of vacant housing units goes to Alpine, with a whopping 71% of its housing sitting empty.  For the Bay Area, the winner is Sonoma, with 9.2%, imagebut Santa Cruz’s 9.7% would have beaten it had any of the county physically come into contact with the Bay.  Meanwhile San Mateo and Santa Clara county are both in the 4’s, while San Francisco managed double: 8.3% of the housing units sitting empty.

There’s stats, stats, stats to play with, so have fun courtesy of USA Today.  Data is available by city as well, so go wild and wonder why the city (town?) of Almanor has 100% of their 75 housing units empty.

Photo above: foreclosed home in Hayward, showcasing diversity.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

July 19, 2008

Bay Area – highest median family income

Best places to live 2008 – Top 25: Biggest earners – from MONEY Magazine

Biggest earners
Here are towns from the Best Places database with the highest median family income.
Rank City Median 2007 family income
1 New Canaan, CT $231,138
2 Darien, CT $218,130
3 Lake Forest, IL $212,122
4 Saratoga, CA $196,420
5 Westport, CT $193,540
6 Los Altos, CA $189,839
7 Potomac, MD $183,258
8 McLean, VA $180,103
9 Wellesley, MA $172,900
10 University Park, TX $170,150
11 Bethesda, MD $167,043
12 Southlake, TX $166,878
13 Danville, CA $160,560
14 Greenwich, CT $157,232
15 Ridgewood, NJ $153,436
16 Manhattan Beach, CA $151,258
17 La Canada Flintridge, CA $150,985
18 Bloomfield Township, MI $150,969
19 Los Gatos, CA $150,556
20 Wilmette, IL $149,667
21 Lafayette, CA $149,597
22 Dranesville, VA $149,294
23 Deerfield, IL $148,612
24 Highland Park, IL $148,131
25 Garden City, NY $147,804

Thanks to Madhaus for pointing this out. Congrats to the Bay Area for taking a whopping 4 out of the top 25 cities with highest median incomes.

NY only has 1 and it’s in dirt cheap Long Island. CT has a few, but those hedge funders are doomed anyway.

I think the most important metric, what really defines how special a place is, is the “Family purchasing power”. Let’s look at the last few:

  • Los Gatos: $440,376
  • Garden City: $273,437
  • Greenwich: $604,400

Ouch. Greenwich beat Los Gatos. <sigh>

What can we do to make living here more expensive so that we can only have the best and brightest people here?

Sunnyvale is a top 100 city. Here’s why:

Median age 37.5 35.9
Completed at least some college
(% of residents)
77.2% 73.7%
Married 50.9% 57.5%
Divorced 9.0% 8.3%
Racial diversity index
(100 is national average; higher numbers indicate greater diversity)
308.9 104.2
Amount spent on vacations
(domestic and foreign, household avg. per year)
$8,352 $8,007

Check out that diversity index. You’ll never find a place as diverse as the Real Bay Area.

Comments (26) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:02 am