S.F. Study Documents Sharp Decline in Mission’s Latino Population

Mission District residents join Supervisor David Campos outside City Hall a week before Election Day. ((Alex Emslie/KQED))

San Francisco’s Mission District is distinct from the rest of the city in a hundred obvious and subtle ways, from its mural-lined streets and alleys to its close-packed and vividly painted homes to the maze of flickering Dia de los Muertos altars that spring up at this time of year.

Much of the district’s unique character grows out of the Latino community that long ago took root in the Mission — a population that a new city report shows is increasingly at risk of being pushed out amid a relentless increase in housing prices.

The study, by the Board of Supervisors budget and legislative analyst, found that if current trends continue, the Mission’s Latino population will fall from 60 percent in 2000 to 31 percent in 2025. It is now at 48 percent.

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Here’s a map showing the most recent demographic data:

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The loss of Latino Mission dwellers is projected to coincide with an increase in the number of households earning $150,000 and above annually — a demographic projected to rise from 12 percent in 2000 to 26 percent by 2025.

The number of Mission households with children is also expected to drop, to a projected 11 percent by 2025, compared with an estimated 21 percent today.Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 11.46.00 PM

“If the status quo continues, we are going to lose this neighborhood as we know it,” Supervisor David Campos, who represents the Mission, said at a City Hall press conference Tuesday.

“If the current trend in development continues and we let the market do what it has been doing — which is continue to build luxury housing — what will happen to the racial and economic diversity of the Mission?” Campos asked. “How much housing would we have to build in this neighborhood for prices to actually come down?”

The budget and legislative analyst’s report broadly answered that question, too — with some mind-boggling math.

Borrowing from an analysis performed by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, the report suggested San Francisco wouldn’t find itself in its present housing affordability mess if it had managed to build 459,000 housing units between 1980 and 2010, instead of the 60,334 units actually built. Currently, the city has about 370,000 housing units.

Essentially, this means that to bring housing costs down to a level considered normal nationwide, “we’d have to double the size of San Francisco,” Campos said.

The study was released a week before San Franciscans vote on Proposition I, a measure backed by Campos that would impose a moratorium on market-rate housing development in the Mission.

“What’s happening in this city is not working,” Campos said. “We need a change of direction. That’s what Prop. I and the neighborhood stabilization plan are about — creating a new plan and a new direction for the Mission.”

The legislative analyst’s report isn’t the first formal study examining the future of the Mission in light of the proposed Mission development moratorium.

In September the city controller’s office released a report by chief economist Ted Egan, which found that the proposed moratorium would “lead to slightly higher housing prices across the city, have no appreciable effect on no-fault eviction pressures, and have a limited impact on the city’s ability to produce affordable housing during the moratorium period.”

The study also found that a moratorium “would temporarily preserve sites that could later be acquired for affordable housing, but it is highly unlikely that it would reduce the cost of any such site.”

Egan’s study was produced at the behest of supervisors Mark Farrell and Scott Wiener, who both oppose Prop. I.

“Proposition I for me is going to be a huge step in the wrong direction,” Farrell said in an interview. “I don’t think that today in San Francisco we should be promoting policies that will cause housing prices to increase and that will halt the production of affordable housing. That is the wrong approach.”

Prop. I proponents champion the moratorium as a strategy to allow for a plan to create affordable housing, but Egan’s report suggested the housing freeze would do little to address the underlying issue of displacement due to property prices. If trends from the last two years continue, the legislative analyst said, Mission home prices could more than double in the next decade. Under the report’s most conservative projection, prices would rise by 9 percent by 2025.

The new report by the budget and legislative analyst also suggests San Francisco’s total Latino population has actually held steady despite the recent declines in the Mission. U.S. Census data reflect an increase in Latino households in other San Francisco neighborhoods, including the Bayview, Mission Terrace, Excelsior and Lakeshore.

The report said it’s impossible to say whether Latinos from the Mission are relocating to these other neighborhoods or are leaving the city entirely and being replaced with Latino residents new to San Francisco.

Alex Emslie contributed to this report.

S.F. Study Documents Sharp Decline in Mission’s Latino Population 28 October,2015Rebecca Bowe

  • america___first

    I don’t think it’s really relevant. I hope the mission stays diverse, but we HAVE to build there. That neighborhood happens to be sitting on the two most important transit stations beyond Market St. It’s the fastest way for commuters to get downtown. I understand that it hasn’t always been as much of a concern, but we are at a point where we can’t just ignore the need to cluster as much housing as possible next to our major transit hubs. To not do so is pathological city planning.

  • Eaabbs Schevere

    The district was not always “latino.” After the 1906 earthquake, Italians, Germans and others settled in the area, then later moved to the outer areas of S.F. The Spanish speaking population in the area is relatively new overall. No particular ethnic or language speaking group has a “right” to the Mission.

    • pitipua

      Except that nobody forced out the Germans, Irish, etc… This city has always been a haven for immigrants, who in turn have left when better options appeared for them… Or were forced out as in the present case. The Mission was home to many of us Latinos, and we haven’t left willingly. Big difference, which, of course is hard to see when the lens is clouded by privilege.

      • Chairman Meow

        Property owners are the only people with rights to property. If you are a renter, you are making an economic decision to forgo property ownership for freedom of movement and freedom from financial liability. As residents, renters have voting rights in their neighborhoods, and as voters, the neighborhood voted overwhelmingly to build a heavy rail spur across this neighborhood, which now makes it the most ideal location to infill and densify housing during what is now the worst housing supply crisis in this city’s history. Had the community and its activists made any effort to understand the economics of property markets, it would not have adopted such utterly nearsided NIMBY stances over the past four decades while the cost of housing was relatively cheap and tenant mobility was extremely affordable. In retrospect, you can draw a line across history that shows how a tenant community has sown its own fate by voting to have it both ways without understanding what downstream effects their contradictory actions would have. Today the activists still lack any real understanding about what is driving gentrification and they continue to target scapegoats like owners and renters rather than true root causes.

      • Eaabbs Schevere

        No one is being FORCED out. Tenants have always known they have no right of ownership no matter how long they lived in a dwelling. After 30 years of renting on the Northern slope of Bernal Heights I was evicted per the Ellis Act. I used the payment from my landlords and my 401(k) to buy a home on the Southern slope. I knew that someday I would have to move and was surprised I was able to stay in one place for 30 years. I am so glad I was evicted and bought a home because rents are 4 times what my mortgage is. I would be homeless if I were a renter due to not being able to afford the sky high rents. Save your money people. That is what I did. I saved religiously and never went crazy buying fancy clothes, shoes, cars, etc. I took my breakfast and lunch to work everyday and made my dinner at home. Save for the future and do not rely on someone else to take care of your living situation.

  • Chairman Meow

    The Mission has always been changing and as part of a living, breathing city it will continue to change. Change doesn’t begin after the person talking about it starts living in the neighborhood. Before the Latin community moved in it was predominantly an Irish, Italian, and German neighborhood. People should learn to value history before they decry the dynamism of culture.

  • Dave Campos, this your district, you “attempted to pass measures” to assure, equality “fair housing” also this. “Scott district Mr.Micro House” LGBTQ: facing discrimination! Gentrified tactics,what I’ll be specific “TIC” conversations majority former apts of LGBTQ why? Mission besides heritage learn, to say every sq ft is profitability “Ed instead using “bogusstics there “bundance low income units Mission where? Charade paid, by the supporters of “The Ellis act matter fact, to be exact using limited numbers of “BMR” units no Ed. Instead there selling sales, not rentals majority why measure I on the ballot for moratorium on development 30 months. Lottery system, causing problem renters city wide how Ed, popular neighborhoods finally come about for yes evictions due Ellis act. Majority Castro street, Mission and Noe Valley what can you do nothing only ignore the damage seek reelection? Disagreement with statistics forget gender and heritage simply renters on lower income yes majority “rent controlled” neighborhoods during former years wasn’t essential to look upon proximity towards profits as “Social networking firms” displacing non-profits around Army and Mission streets. Other words, time gentrify the neighborhoods simply “The Ellis act” dirty tricks used harassment and arson when fires engulf former properties Ed, why never investigation? Your saying, I’m vague and rationalizing following properties where on rent controlled suddenly caught fire not rallies of repeal Ellis act lose of housing never investigation Ed! 89 Dolores St next,38 Dolores and 2001 Market ideal condo’s,15 Church st,22nd Mission now for sale tenants are suing worth $25 million zoned for 8 or 10fls and Dubuce and Valencia tenants harassed unexpected fire how? Ed, your saying going bring how many “BMR” shall be non-profit development or 5% for BMR once again majority are sale units you finding adequate housing those displaced. Ellis act is fair to degree within 10yrs. former residents have first priority on relocating former neighborhoods rentals why “NAIOP” decided build only sales reason many can’t qualify for loans Ed where are 30,000 coming from? Monster on the Mission which charade paid by NAIOP going increase BMR units,2017 Mission 10fls former McDonalds and 23rd Valencia 52 units only 6 BMR can be rented? 3620 Cesar Chaves St condo 28 units no BMR,19th So.Van Ness 54 units finally Ed, going assure Mission respect of gentrified policies why 72 BMR units 490 So. Van Ness I guess only lower income before 2020. Rest only affluent time for change encourage those experiencing “Ellis act” evictions use your political convictions to decide efficient San Francisco vote for change November 3 2015.

  • MPetrelis

    The Write-In Petrelis for Mayor team wishes to note that out-migration of Latinos has been happening for as long as David Campos has been a supervisor and the usual Mission Inc folks behind the misguided moratorium have been running their nonprofits, and not addressing the folks leaving the City. No mention by this KQED “reporter” about why Campos and Mission Inc took so long to address the problems of renters, Latinos forced out of the Mission and lack of affordable housing.


Rebecca Bowe

Rebecca Bowe is a journalist based in San Francisco. She's covered Bay Area news since 2009, and previously served as News Editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Follow her on Twitter @ByRebeccaBowe.

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