April 2018

Solving the Housing Crisis Is Key to Inclusive Prosperity in the Bay Area

Overview

This report presents new data illustrating how the combination of rising rents and stagnant incomes is straining household budgets and stifling opportunity for all but the very wealthy in the nine-county Bay Area, raising serious questions about the sustainability of the region’s economy. The report was developed as part of the Bay Area Equity Atlas partnership between PolicyLink, the San Francisco Foundation, and the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity at the University of Southern California (PERE). Key findings include:

  • Between 2000 and 2016, rents increased 24 percent while renter incomes rose just 9 percent.
  • There are 480,000 economically insecure renter households in the region that are paying $9,000 too much for housing per year, on average.
  • A family of two full-time workers each making $15/hour can only afford market rent in 5 percent of Bay Area neighborhoods.
  • 92 percent of these neighborhoods affordable to working-class families are rated "very low opportunity" on a comprehensive index of neighborhood opportunity. 

How are people using this data? The analyses in this report served as the basis for factsheets and maps developed with Working Partnerships, Urban Habitat, and EBASE to support their tenant protection policy campaigns. The Bay Area Economic Council used this data in their report analyzing policy solutions to the housing crisis in Alameda County. KQED Forum host Michael Krasny used it to open up his conversation with housing activist Randy Shaw about his book Generation Priced Out. The Partnership for the Bay's Future used our data to frame the need for investment in housing solutions.

Media mentions: Housing Is Key to Bay Area's Economic Future, Study Finds (Philanthropy News Digest), New Report Examines the Bay Area's Broken Housing Market (Planetizen), World Journal

Authors

Sarah Treuhaft
Sarah Treuhaft