San Francisco

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San Francisco
San Francisco from the Marin Headlands
San Francisco from the Marin Headlands
San Francisco is located in Earth
San Francisco
San Francisco
San Francisco (Earth)
Coordinates: 37°46′39″N 122°24′59″W / 37.77750°N 122.41639°W / 37.77750; -122.41639
St. Francis of Assisi
 • TypeStrong mayor–council
 • BodyBoard of Supervisors
 • MayorLondon Breed (D)[5]
 • Supervisors[9]
ZIP Codes[19]
  • 94102–94105
  • 94107–94112
  • 94114–94134
  • 94137
  • 94139–94147
  • 94151
  • 94158–94161
  • 94163–94164
  • 94172
  • 94177
  • 94188
GDP (2021)[21]
City—$200.5 billion

MSA—$668.7 billion (4th)

CSA—$1.251 trillion (3rd)
  1. ^ Urban area population/density are for the San Francisco–Oakland, CA urban area as of the 2020 Census.

San Francisco (

New York City boroughs. Among the 91 U.S. cities proper with over 250,000 residents, San Francisco was ranked first by per capita income[24] and sixth by aggregate income as of 2021.[25] Colloquial nicknames for San Francisco include SF, San Fran, The City, Frisco, and Baghdad by the Bay.[26][27][28]

San Francisco was founded on June 29, 1776, when

Panama-Pacific International Exposition nine years later. In World War II, it was a major port of embarkation for naval service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater.[31] It then became the birthplace of the United Nations in 1945.[32][33][34] After the war, the confluence of returning servicemen, significant immigration, liberalizing attitudes, the rise of the beatnik and hippie countercultures, the sexual revolution, the peace movement growing from opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War, and other factors led to the Summer of Love and the gay rights movement, cementing San Francisco as a center of liberal activism in the United States

San Francisco and the surrounding

One of the top tourist destinations in the United States, San Francisco is known for its steep rolling

varied neighborhoods, as well as its cool summers, fog, and landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, Alcatraz, and Chinatown and Mission districts.[48] The city is home to a number of educational and cultural institutions, such as the University of California, San Francisco, the University of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the de Young Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Ballet, the San Francisco Opera, the SFJAZZ Center, and the California Academy of Sciences. Two professional sports teams, MLB's San Francisco Giants, and the NBA's Golden State Warriors, all play their home games within San Francisco proper. Transport to, from, and within San Francisco is also among the most robust in the nation, with a main international airport flying to over 125 destinations and a light rail and bus network in tandem with the BART and Caltrain systems connecting nearly every part of San Francisco with the wider region.[49][50]


3000 BC–1845 AD: Early history and rule by Spain and Mexico

The earliest archaeological evidence of human habitation of the territory of the city of San Francisco dates to 3000 BC.[51] The Yelamu group of the Ohlone people resided in a few small villages when an overland Spanish exploration party (led by Don Gaspar de Portolá) arrived on November 2, 1769, the first documented European visit to San Francisco Bay.[52]

The first European maritime presence occurred on August 5, 1775, when the Spanish

Juan Manuel de Ayala became the first ship to anchor in the bay.[53] Soon after, on March 28, 1776, the Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza established the Presidio of San Francisco. On October 9, Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores) was founded by Padre Francisco Palóu.[3] In 1804, the province of Alta California
was created, which included San Francisco.

In 1821, the Presidio and the Mission were

barques from various Atlantic ports which regularly sailed in California waters.[54][55]

In 1834,

William Richardson, a naturalized Mexican citizen of English birth. Richardson had arrived in San Francisco aboard a whaling ship in 1822. In 1825, he married Maria Antonia Martinez, eldest daughter of the Californio Ygnacio Martínez.[56][b]

1846–1905: Population growth and American acquisition

Juana Briones de Miranda, considered the "Founding Mother of San Francisco"[57]

Yerba Buena began to attract American and European settlers; an 1842 census listed 21 residents (11%) born in the United States or Europe, as well as one Filipino merchant.[58] Commodore John D. Sloat claimed California for the United States on July 7, 1846, during the Mexican–American War, and Captain John B. Montgomery arrived to claim Yerba Buena two days later. Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco on January 30 of the next year, and Mexico officially ceded the territory to the United States at the end of the war in 1848. Despite its attractive location as a port and naval base, San Francisco was still a small settlement with inhospitable geography.[59] Its 1847 population was said to be 459.[54]

The California Gold Rush brought a flood of treasure seekers (known as "forty-niners", as in "1849"). With their sourdough bread in tow,[60] prospectors accumulated in San Francisco over rival Benicia,[61] raising the population from 1,000 in 1848 to 25,000 by December 1849.[62] The promise of wealth was so strong that crews on arriving vessels deserted and rushed off to the gold fields, leaving behind a forest of masts in San Francisco harbor.[63] Some of these approximately 500 abandoned ships were used at times as storeships, saloons, and hotels; many were left to rot, and some were sunk to establish title to the underwater lot. By 1851, the harbor was extended out into the bay by wharves while buildings were erected on piles among the ships. By 1870, Yerba Buena Cove had been filled to create new land. Buried ships are occasionally exposed when foundations are dug for new buildings.[64]

California was quickly

Fort Point at the Golden Gate and a fort on Alcatraz Island to secure the San Francisco Bay. San Francisco County was one of the state's 18 original counties established at California statehood in 1850.[65] Until 1856, San Francisco's city limits extended west to Divisadero Street and Castro Street, and south to 20th Street. In 1856, the California state government divided the county. A straight line was then drawn across the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula just north of San Bruno Mountain. Everything south of the line became the new San Mateo County while everything north of the line became the new consolidated City and County of San Francisco.[66]

City seal from before the Consolidation Act of 1856. The phoenix references the early fires that burn early San Francisco. Significant fires occurred December 1849, May 1850, June 1850, September 1850, May 1851, and June 1851.[67]

Entrepreneurs sought to capitalize on the wealth generated by the Gold Rush. Silver discoveries, including the

eighth-largest city in the United States at the time. Around 1901, San Francisco was a major city known for its flamboyant style, stately hotels, ostentatious mansions on Nob Hill, and a thriving arts scene.[73] The first North American plague epidemic was the San Francisco plague of 1900–1904.[74]

1906–1940: San Francisco earthquake and reconstruction

At 5:12 am on April 18, 1906, a major

East Bay

"Not in history has a modern imperial city been so completely destroyed. San Francisco is gone." –Jack London after the 1906 earthquake and fire[78]

Rebuilding was rapid and performed on a grand scale. Rejecting calls to completely remake the street grid, San Franciscans opted for speed.

Panama–Pacific Exposition

During this period, San Francisco built some of its most important infrastructure. Civil Engineer

Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct that would have the largest effect on San Francisco.[83]
An abundant water supply enabled San Francisco to develop into the city it has become today.

In ensuing years, the city solidified its standing as a financial capital; in the wake of the

Robert Franklin Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz. San Francisco later celebrated its regained grandeur with a World's fair, the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939–40, creating Treasure Island in the middle of the bay to house it.[85]

1941–present: World War II and urbanization


United Nations Charter creating the United Nations was drafted and signed in San Francisco in 1945 and, in 1951, the Treaty of San Francisco re-established peaceful relations between Japan and the Allied Powers.[86]

Urban planning projects in the 1950s and 1960s involved widespread destruction and redevelopment of west-side neighborhoods and the construction of new

freeways, of which only a series of short segments were built before being halted by citizen-led opposition.[87] The onset of containerization made San Francisco's small piers obsolete, and cargo activity moved to the larger Port of Oakland.[88] The city began to lose industrial jobs and turned to tourism as the most important segment of its economy.[89] The suburbs experienced rapid growth, and San Francisco underwent significant demographic change, as large segments of the white population left the city, supplanted by an increasing wave of immigration from Asia and Latin America.[90][91]
From 1950 to 1980, the city lost over 10 percent of its population.

The Transamerica Pyramid was the tallest building in San Francisco until 2016, when Salesforce Tower
surpassed it.

Over this period, San Francisco became a magnet for America's

The Castro as an urban gay village, the election of Harvey Milk to the Board of Supervisors, and his assassination, along with that of Mayor George Moscone, in 1978.[95]

Bank of America completed 555 California Street in 1969 and the Transamerica Pyramid was completed in 1972,[96] igniting a wave of "Manhattanization" that lasted until the late 1980s, a period of extensive high-rise development downtown.[97] The 1980s also saw a dramatic increase in the number of homeless people in the city, an issue that remains today, despite many attempts to address it.[98] The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake caused destruction and loss of life throughout the Bay Area. In San Francisco, the quake severely damaged structures in the Marina and South of Market districts and precipitated the demolition of the damaged Embarcadero Freeway and much of the damaged Central Freeway, allowing the city to reclaim The Embarcadero as its historic downtown waterfront and revitalizing the Hayes Valley neighborhood.[99]

The two recent decades have seen booms driven by the internet industry. During the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, startup companies invigorated the San Francisco economy. Large numbers of entrepreneurs and computer application developers moved into the city, followed by marketing, design, and sales professionals, changing the social landscape as once poorer neighborhoods became increasingly gentrified.[100] Demand for new housing and office space ignited a second wave of high-rise development, this time in the South of Market district.[101] By 2000, the city's population reached new highs, surpassing the previous record set in 1950. When the bubble burst in 2001, many of these companies folded and their employees were laid off. Yet high technology and entrepreneurship remain mainstays of the San Francisco economy. By the mid-2000s (decade), the social media boom had begun, with San Francisco becoming a popular location for tech offices and a common place to live for people employed in Silicon Valley companies such as Apple and Google.[102]

The Ferry Station Post Office Building, Armour & Co. Building, Atherton House, and YMCA Hotel are historic buildings among dozens of historical landmarks in the city according to the National Register of Historic Places listings in San Francisco.[citation needed]


San Francisco is located on the

Angel Island—are part of the city. Also included are the uninhabited Farallon Islands
, 27 miles (43 km) offshore in the Pacific Ocean. The mainland within the city limits roughly forms a "seven-by-seven-mile square", a common local colloquialism referring to the city's shape, though its total area, including water, is nearly 232 square miles (600 km2).

There are more than 50 hills within the city limits.

. Near the geographic center of the city, southwest of the downtown area, are a series of less densely populated hills. Twin Peaks, a pair of hills forming one of the city's highest points, forms an overlook spot. San Francisco's tallest hill, Mount Davidson, is 928 feet (283 m) high and is capped with a 103-foot (31 m) tall cross built in 1934.[104] Dominating this area is Sutro Tower, a large red and white radio and television transmission tower reaching 1,811 ft (552 m) above sea level.

The nearby

Hayward Faults are responsible for much earthquake activity, although neither physically passes through the city itself. The San Andreas Fault caused the earthquakes in 1906 and 1989. Minor earthquakes occur on a regular basis. The threat of major earthquakes plays a large role in the city's infrastructure development. The city constructed an auxiliary water supply system and has repeatedly upgraded its building codes, requiring retrofits for older buildings and higher engineering standards for new construction.[105] However, there are still thousands of smaller buildings that remain vulnerable to quake damage.[106] USGS has released the California earthquake forecast which models earthquake occurrence in California.[107]

San Francisco's shoreline has grown beyond its natural limits. Entire neighborhoods such as the

El Polin Spring) are within parks and remain protected in what is essentially their original form, but most of the city's natural watercourses, such as Islais Creek and Mission Creek, have been partially or completely culverted and built over. Since the 1990s, however, the Public Utilities Commission has been studying proposals to daylight or restore some creeks.[109]


San Francisco viewed from Mt. Tamalpais
in February 2019


The historic center of San Francisco is the northeast quadrant of the city anchored by

Nob Hill, once the home of the city's business tycoons, and down to the waterfront tourist attractions of Fisherman's Wharf, and Pier 39, where many restaurants feature Dungeness crab from a still-active fishing industry. Also in this quadrant are Russian Hill, a residential neighborhood with the famously crooked Lombard Street; North Beach, the city's Little Italy and the former center of the Beat Generation; and Telegraph Hill, which features Coit Tower. Abutting Russian Hill and North Beach is San Francisco's Chinatown, the oldest Chinatown in North America.[110][111][112][113] The South of Market, which was once San Francisco's industrial core, has seen significant redevelopment following the construction of Oracle Park and an infusion of startup companies. New skyscrapers, live-work lofts, and condominiums dot the area. Further development is taking place just to the south in Mission Bay area, a former railroad yard, which now has a second campus of the University of California, San Francisco and Chase Center, which opened in 2019 as the new home of the Golden State Warriors.[114]

West of downtown, across

better source needed] and a few controversial chain stores,[117] although it still retains[timeframe?][citation needed] some bohemian

North of the Western Addition is Pacific Heights, an affluent neighborhood that features the homes built by wealthy San Franciscans in the wake of the 1906 earthquake. Directly north of Pacific Heights facing the waterfront is the Marina, a neighborhood popular with young professionals that was largely built on reclaimed land from the Bay.[118]

In the southeast quadrant of the city is the

the Castro, was once a working-class Scandinavian and Irish area. It has become North America's first gay village, and is now the center of gay life in the city.[120] Located near the city's southern border, the Excelsior District is one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in San Francisco. The predominantly African American Bayview-Hunters Point in the far southeast corner of the city is one of the poorest neighborhoods and suffers from a high rate of crime, though the area has been the focus of several revitalizing and controversial urban renewal

The construction of the Twin Peaks Tunnel in 1918 connected southwest neighborhoods to downtown via streetcar, hastening the development of West Portal, and nearby affluent Forest Hill and St. Francis Wood. Further west, stretching all the way to the Pacific Ocean and north to Golden Gate Park lies the vast Sunset District, a large middle-class area with a predominantly Asian population.[121]

The northwestern quadrant of the city contains the

The Avenues
. These two districts are each sometimes further divided into two regions: the Outer Richmond and Outer Sunset can refer to the more western portions of their respective district and the Inner Richmond and Inner Sunset can refer to the more eastern portions.

Many piers remained derelict for years until the demolition of the

Embarcadero Freeway reopened the downtown waterfront, allowing for redevelopment. The centerpiece of the port, the Ferry Building
, while still receiving commuter ferry traffic, has been restored and redeveloped as a gourmet marketplace.


San Francisco has a

warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csb) characteristic of California's coast, with moist, mild winters and dry summers.[122] San Francisco's weather is strongly influenced by the cool currents of the Pacific Ocean on the west side of the city, and the water of San Francisco Bay to the north and east. This moderates temperature swings and produces a remarkably mild year-round climate with little seasonal temperature variation.[123]

Among major U.S. cities, San Francisco has the coolest daily mean, maximum, and minimum temperatures for June, July, and August.[124] During the summer, rising hot air in California's interior valleys creates a low-pressure area that draws winds from the North Pacific High through the Golden Gate, which creates the city's characteristic cool winds and fog.[125] The fog is less pronounced in eastern neighborhoods and during the late summer and early fall. As a result, the year's warmest month, on average, is September, and on average, October is warmer than July, especially in daytime.

Temperatures reach or exceed 80 °F (27 °C) on an average of only 21 and 23 days a year at downtown and San Francisco International Airport (SFO), respectively.[126] The dry period of May to October is mild to warm, with the normal monthly mean temperature peaking in September at 62.7 °F (17.1 °C).[126] The rainy period of November to April is slightly cooler, with the normal monthly mean temperature reaching its lowest in January at 51.3 °F (10.7 °C).[126] On average, there are 73 rainy days a year, and annual precipitation averages 23.65 inches (601 mm).[126] Variation in precipitation from year to year is high. Above-average rain years are often associated with warm El Niño conditions in the Pacific while dry years often occur in cold water La Niña periods. In 2013 (a "La Niña" year), a record low 5.59 in (142 mm) of rainfall was recorded at downtown San Francisco, where records have been kept since 1849.[126] Snowfall in the city is very rare, with only 10 measurable accumulations recorded since 1852, most recently in 1976 when up to 5 inches (13 cm) fell on Twin Peaks.[127][128]

The highest recorded temperature at the official National Weather Service downtown observation station[c] was 106 °F (41 °C) on September 1, 2017.[130] During that hot spell, the warmest ever night of 71 °F (22 °C) was also recorded.[131] The lowest recorded temperature was 27 °F (−3 °C) on December 11, 1932.[132] The National Weather Service provides a helpful visual aid[133] graphing the information in the table below to display visually by month the annual typical temperatures, the past year's temperatures, and record temperatures.[importance?]

During a normal year between 1991 and 2020 San Francisco would record a warmest night at 64 °F (18 °C) and a coldest day at 49 °F (9 °C).[126] The coldest daytime high since the station's opening in 1945 was recorded in December 1972 at 37 °F (3 °C).[126]

As a coastal city, San Francisco will be heavily affected by climate change. As of 2021, sea levels are projected to rise by as much as 5 feet (1.5 m), resulting in periodic flooding, rising groundwater levels, and lowland floods from more severe storms.[134]

San Francisco falls under the

USDA 10b Plant hardiness zone, though some areas, particularly downtown, border zone 11a.[135][136]

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 79
Mean maximum °F (°C) 67.1
Average high °F (°C) 57.8
Daily mean °F (°C) 52.2
Average low °F (°C) 46.6
Mean minimum °F (°C) 40.5
Record low °F (°C) 29
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.40
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 11.2 10.8 10.8 6.8 4.0 1.6 0.7 1.1 1.2 3.5 7.9 11.6 71.2
relative humidity
80 77 75 72 72 71 75 75 73 71 75 78 75
Mean monthly sunshine hours 185.9 207.7 269.1 309.3 325.1 311.4 313.3 287.4 271.4 247.1 173.4 160.6 3,061.7
Percent possible sunshine 61 69 73 78 74 70 70 68 73 71 57 54 69
Average ultraviolet index 2 3 5 7 9 10 10 9 7 5 3 2 6
Source 1: NOAA (sun 1961–1974)[126][137][138][139]
Source 2: Met Office (humidity)[140], Weather Atlas (UV)[141]

Time Series

See or edit raw graph data.

Flora and fauna


De Anza Expedition on March 23, 1776. Herbert Eugene Bolton wrote about the expedition camp at Mountain Lake, near the southern end of today's Presidio: "Round about were grazing deer, and scattered here and there were the antlers of large elk."[144] Also, when Richard Henry Dana Jr. visited San Francisco Bay in 1835, he wrote about vast elk herds near the Golden Gate: on December 27 "...we came to anchor near the mouth of the bay, under a high and beautifully sloping hill, upon which herds of hundreds and hundreds of red deer [note: "red deer" is the European term for "elk"], and the stag, with his high branching antlers, were bounding about...", although it is not clear whether this was the Marin side or the San Francisco side.[145]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[146]

The 2020 United States census showed San Francisco's population to be 873,965, an increase of 8.5% from the 2010 census.[147] With roughly one-quarter the population density of Manhattan, San Francisco is the second-most densely populated large American city, behind only New York City among cities greater than 200,000 population, and the fifth-most densely populated U.S. county, following only four of the five New York City boroughs.

San Francisco forms part of the five-county

San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area, whose population is over 9.6 million, making it the fifth-largest in the United States as of 2018.[148]

Race, ethnicity, religion, and languages

San Francisco has a

Pacific Islanders (0.4%) and 73,169 persons of other races (8.4%). There were 136,761 Hispanics or Latinos
of any race (15.6%).

In 2010, residents of Chinese ethnicity constituted the largest single ethnic minority group in San Francisco at 21% of the population; other large Asian groups include Filipinos (5%) and Vietnamese (2%), with Japanese, Koreans and many other Asian and Pacific Islander groups represented in the city.[150] The population of Chinese ancestry is most heavily concentrated in Chinatown and the

Crocker-Amazon; the latter neighborhood shares a border with Daly City, which has one of the highest concentrations of Filipinos in North America.[150][151] The Tenderloin District is home to a large portion of the city's Vietnamese population as well as businesses and restaurants, which is known as the city's Little Saigon.[150]

The principal Hispanic groups in the city were those of Mexican (7%) and Salvadoran (2%) ancestry. The Hispanic population is most heavily concentrated in the Mission District, Tenderloin District, and Excelsior District.[152] The city's percentage of Hispanic residents is less than half of that of the state.

Marin County.[156]

Demographic profile[157] 1860 1880 1920 1960 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020[158]
Non-Hispanic White alone 90.2% 87.7% 93.5% 72.7% 52.8% 46.9% 43.5% 41.7% 39.1%
Non-Hispanic Asian alone 4.6% 9.3% 2.7% 7.9% 21.3% 28.0% 30.7% 33.1% 33.7%
Chinese American 4.6% 9.3% 1.5% 5.1% 12.1% 17.6% 20.0% 19.8% 21.0%
Filipino American 0.2% 1.5% 5.2% 5.4% 5.0% 4.9% 4.4%
Hispanic or Latino, any race(s) 3.0% 2.4% 3.4% 9.4% 12.6% 13.3% 14.2% 15.2% 15.6%
Mexican American 1.8% 1.4% 1.5% 5.1% 5.0% 5.2% 6.0% 7.5% 7.9%
Non-Hispanic Black alone 2.1% 0.6% 0.4% 9.7% 12.3% 10.7% 7.6% 6.0% 5.1%
Non-Hispanic Pacific Islander
<0.1% 0.2% 0.4% 0.4% 0.5% 0.3%
Non-Hispanic Native American alone <0.1% <0.1% <0.1% 0.1% 0.4% 0.4% 0.3% 0.3% 0.2%
Non-Hispanic Other 0.2% 0.4% 0.2% 0.3% 0.3% 0.8%
Non-Hispanic Two or more races 3.0% 2.9% 5.2%
Foreign-born[f] 50.2% 44.5% 30.1% 20.2% 29.5% 35.4% 38.4% 38.2% 34.2%

Source: US Census and IPUMS USA[157]

According to a 2018 study by the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, Jews make up 10% (80,000) of the city's population, making

agnostics, while 5% identify as atheists.[159][160]

As of 2010[update], 55% (411,728) of San Francisco residents spoke only

variety of Chinese (mostly Taishanese and Cantonese[161][162]), 12% (88,147) Spanish, 3% (25,767) Tagalog, and 2% (14,017) Russian. In total, 45% (342,693) of San Francisco's population spoke a language at home other than English.[163]

Ethnic clustering

San Francisco has several prominent Chinese, Mexican, and Filipino neighborhoods including Chinatown and the Mission District. Research collected on the immigrant clusters in the city show that more than half of the Asian population in San Francisco is either Chinese-born (40.3%) or Philippine-born (13.1%), and of the Mexican population 21% were Mexican-born, meaning these are people who recently immigrated to the United States.[164] Between the years of 1990 and 2000, the number of foreign-born residents increased from 33% to nearly 40%.[164] During this same time period, the San Francisco metropolitan area received 850,000 immigrants, ranking third in the United States after Los Angeles and New York.[164]

Education, households, and income

Of all major cities in the United States, San Francisco has the second-highest percentage of residents with a college degree, second only to Seattle. Over 44% of adults have a bachelor's or higher degree.[165] San Francisco had the highest rate at 7,031 per square mile, or over 344,000 total graduates in the city's 46.7 square miles (121 km2).[166]

San Francisco has the highest estimated percentage of gay and lesbian individuals of any of the 50 largest U.S. cities, at 15%.[167] San Francisco also has the highest percentage of same-sex households of any American county, with the Bay Area having a higher concentration than any other metropolitan area.[168]

Income in 2011
Per capita income[169] $46,777
Median household income[170] $72,947
Median family income[171] $87,329

San Francisco ranks third of American cities in median household income[172] with a 2007 value of $65,519.[153] Median family income is $81,136.[153] An emigration of middle-class families has left the city with a lower proportion of children than any other large American city,[173] with the dog population cited as exceeding the child population of 115,000, in 2018.[174] The city's

poverty rate is 12%, lower than the national average.[175]
The city is believed to have the highest number of homeless inhabitants per capita of any major U.S. city.[177][178]

There are 345,811 households in the city, out of which: 133,366 households (39%) were individuals, 109,437 (32%) were

same-sex married couples or partnerships
. The average household size was 2.26; the average family size was 3.11. 452,986 people (56%) lived in rental housing units, and 327,985 people (41%) lived in owner-occupied housing units. The median age of the city population is 38 years.

San Francisco declared itself a sanctuary city in 1989, and city officials strengthened the stance in 2013 with its 'Due Process for All' ordinance. The law declared local authorities could not hold immigrants for immigration offenses if they had no violent felonies on their records and did not currently face charges."[179] The city issues a Resident ID Card regardless of the applicant's immigration status.[180]


Homelessness in San Francisco emerged as a major issue in the late 20th century and remains a growing problem in modern times.[181]

8,035 homeless people were counted in San Francisco's 2019 point-in-time street and shelter count. This was an increase of more than 17% over the 2017 count of 6,858 people. 5,180 of the people were living unsheltered on the streets and in parks.[182] 26% of respondents in the 2019 count identified job loss as the primary cause of their homelessness, 18% cited alcohol or drug use, and 13% cited being evicted from their residence.[182] The city of San Francisco has been dramatically increasing its spending to service the growing population homelessness crisis: spending jumped by $241 million in 2016–17 to total $275 million, compared to a budget of just $34 million the previous year. In 2017–18 the budget for combatting homelessness stood at $305 million.[183] In the 2019–2020 budget year, the city budgeted $368 million for homelessness services. In the proposed 2020–2021 budget the city budgeted $850 million for homelessness services.[184]

In January 2018 a United Nations special rapporteur on homelessness, Leilani Farha, stated that she was "completely shocked" by San Francisco's homelessness crisis during a visit to the city. She compared the "deplorable conditions" of the homeless camps she witnessed on San Francisco's streets to those she had seen in Mumbai.[183] In May 2020, San Francisco officially sanctioned homeless encampments.[185]


San Francisco
Crime rates* (2018)
Violent crimes
Motor vehicle theft222.4
Total property crime2,649.2

*Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.

Source: FBI 2019 UCR data

In 2011, 50 murders were reported, which is 6.1 per 100,000 people.[186] There were about 134 rapes, 3,142 robberies, and about 2,139 assaults. There were about 4,469 burglaries, 25,100 thefts, and 4,210 motor vehicle thefts.[187] The Tenderloin area has the highest crime rate in San Francisco: 70% of the city's violent crimes, and around one-fourth of the city's murders, occur in this neighborhood. The Tenderloin also sees high rates of drug abuse, gang violence, and prostitution.[188] Another area with high crime rates is the Bayview-Hunters Point area. In the first six months of 2015 there were 25 murders compared to 14 in the first six months of 2014. However, the murder rate is still much lower than in past decades.[189] That rate, though, did rise again by the close of 2016. According to the San Francisco Police Department, there were 59 murders in the city in 2016, an annual total that marked a 13.5% increase in the number of homicides (52) from 2015.[190] The city has also gained a reputation for car break-ins, with over 19,000 car break-ins occurring in 2021.[191]

During the first half of 2018, human feces on San Francisco sidewalks were the second-most-frequent complaint of city residents, with about 65 calls per day. The city has formed a "poop patrol" to attempt to combat the problem.[192]

Hate crimes

In January 2022,

hate crimes against the API community in San Francisco last year," and that he "was allowed to be out of custody despite the number of charges against him."[193]



Excelsior District. His victims had no relationship with him, nor did they have any known gang or street crime involvement.[196][citation needed

African-American street gangs familiar in other cities, including the

Hunters Point projects.[200][needs update] In 2004, a Westmob member fatally shot a SFPD officer and wounded his partner; he was sentenced to life without parole in 2007.[201]

Criminal gangs with shotcallers in China, including

Joe Boys gang were arrested and convicted of the crime.[203] In 1990, a gang-related shooting killed one man and wounded six others outside a nightclub near Chinatown.[204] In 1998, six teenagers were shot and wounded at the Chinese Playground; a 16-year-old boy was subsequently arrested.[205]


According to academic Rob Wilson, San Francisco is a global city, a status that pre-dated the city's popularity during the California Gold Rush.[206] However, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the exodus of business from the downtown core of San Francisco.[45][207]

San Francisco has a diversified

architecture and design—San Francisco is designated as an Alpha(-) World City.[215] The 2017 Global Financial Centres Index ranked San Francisco as the sixth-most competitive financial center in the world.[216]

Beginning in the 1990s, San Francisco's economy diversified away from finance and tourism towards the growing fields of high tech, biotechnology, and medical research.[217] Technology jobs accounted for just 1 percent of San Francisco's economy in 1990, growing to 4 percent in 2010 and an estimated 8 percent by the end of 2013.[218] San Francisco became a center of Internet start-up companies during the dot-com bubble of the 1990s and the subsequent social media boom of the late 2000s (decade).[219] Since 2010, San Francisco proper has attracted an increasing share of venture capital investments as compared to nearby Silicon Valley, attracting 423 financings worth US$4.58 billion in 2013.[220][221][222] In 2004, the city approved a payroll tax exemption for biotechnology companies[223] to foster growth in the Mission Bay neighborhood, site of a second campus and hospital of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Mission Bay hosts the UCSF Medical Center, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, and Gladstone Institutes,[224] as well as more than 40 private-sector life sciences companies.[225]

The top employer in the city is the city government itself, employing 5.6% (31,000+ people) of the city's workforce, followed by

formula retail chains into the city has been made intentionally difficult by political and civic consensus. In an effort to buoy small privately owned businesses in San Francisco and preserve the unique retail personality of the city, the Small Business Commission started a publicity campaign in 2004 to keep a larger share of retail dollars in the local economy,[230] and the Board of Supervisors has used the planning code to limit the neighborhoods where formula retail establishments can set up shop,[231] an effort affirmed by San Francisco voters.[232] However, by 2016, San Francisco was rated low by small businesses in a Business Friendliness Survey.[233]

Like many U.S. cities, San Francisco once had a significant manufacturing sector employing nearly 60,000 workers in 1969, but nearly all production left for cheaper locations by the 1980s.[234] As of 2014, San Francisco has seen a small resurgence in manufacturing, with more than 4,000 manufacturing jobs across 500 companies, doubling since 2011. The city's largest manufacturing employer is Anchor Brewing Company, and the largest by revenue is Timbuk2.[234]

As of the first quarter of 2022, the median value of homes in San Francisco County was $1,297,030. It ranked third in the US for counties with highest median home value, behind Nantucket and San Mateo.[235]


San Francisco became a hub for technological driven economic growth during the

internet boom of the 1990s, and still holds an important position in the world city network today.[164][236] Intense redevelopment towards the "new economy" makes business more technologically minded. Between the years of 1999 and 2000, the job growth rate was 4.9%, creating over 50,000 jobs in technology firms and internet content production.[164]

In the second technological boom driven by social media in the mid-2000s, San Francisco became a location for companies such as

Ubisoft, Facebook and Twitter to base their tech offices and for their employees to live.[237] Since then, tech employment has continued to increase. In 2014, San Francisco's tech employment grew nearly 90% between 2010 and 2014, beating out Silicon Valley's 30% growth rate over the same period.[238]

The tech sector's dominance in the Bay Area is internationally recognized and continues to attract new businesses and young entrepreneurs from all over the globe.[238] San Francisco is now widely considered the most important city in the world for new technology startups.[239] A recent high of $7 billion in venture capital was invested in the region.[238] These startup companies hire well educated individuals looking to work in the tech industry, which helps the city have a well educated citizenry. Over 50% of San Franciscans have a four-year university degree, thus the city ranks high in terms of its population's educational level.[237]

Tourism and conventions

Tourism is one of the city's largest private-sector industries, accounting for more than one out of seven jobs in the city.[217][240] The city's frequent portrayal in music, film, and popular culture has made the city and its landmarks recognizable worldwide. In 2016, it attracted the fifth-highest number of foreign tourists of any city in the United States.[241] More than 25 million visitors arrived in San Francisco in 2016, adding US$9.96 billion to the economy.[242] With a large hotel infrastructure and a world-class convention facility in the Moscone Center, San Francisco is a popular destination for annual conventions and conferences.[243]

Some of the most popular tourist attractions in San Francisco noted by the Travel Channel include the

California sea lions, the Aquarium of the Bay, and the famous Alcatraz Island.[244]

San Francisco also offers tourists cultural and unique nightlife in its neighborhoods.[245][246]

The new Terminal Project at Pier 27 opened September 25, 2014, as a replacement for the old Pier 35.[247] Itineraries from San Francisco usually include round-trip cruises to Alaska and Mexico.

A heightened interest in conventioneering in San Francisco, marked by the establishment of convention centers such as Yerba Buena, acted as a feeder into the local tourist economy and resulted in an increase in the hotel industry: "In 1959, the city had fewer than thirty-three hundred first-class hotel rooms; by 1970, the number was nine thousand; and by 1999, there were more than thirty thousand."

commodification of the Castro District has contributed to San Francisco's tourist economy.[249]

Arts and culture

Boutiques along Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights

Although the

Cow Hollow, 24th Street in Noe Valley, Valencia Street in the Mission, Grant Avenue in North Beach, and Irving Street in the Inner Sunset. This approach especially has influenced the continuing South of Market neighborhood redevelopment with businesses and neighborhood services rising alongside high-rise residences.[251][failed verification

Since the 1990s, the demand for skilled

highest quality of living of any U.S. city.[256] However, due to the exceptionally high cost of living, many of the city's middle and lower-class families have been leaving the city for the outer suburbs of the Bay Area, or for California's Central Valley.[257] By June 2, 2015, the median rent was reported to be as high as $4,225.[258] The high cost of living is due in part to restrictive planning laws which limit new residential construction.[259]

The international character that San Francisco has enjoyed since its founding is continued today by large numbers of immigrants from Asia and Latin America. With 39% of its residents born overseas,[229] San Francisco has numerous neighborhoods filled with businesses and civic institutions catering to new arrivals. In particular, the arrival of many ethnic Chinese, which began to accelerate in the 1970s, has complemented the long-established community historically based in Chinatown throughout the city and has transformed the annual Chinese New Year Parade into the largest event of its kind in its hemisphere.[260][261]

With the arrival of the

indigent medical programs into the Healthy San Francisco program,[263] which subsidizes certain medical services for eligible residents.[264][265][266]

Since 1993, the San Francisco Department of Public Health has distributed 400,000 free syringes every month aimed at reducing HIV and other health risks for drug users, as well as providing disposal sites and services.[267][268][269]

San Francisco also has had a very active environmental community. Starting with the founding of the Sierra Club in 1892 to the establishment of the non-profit Friends of the Urban Forest in 1981, San Francisco has been at the forefront of many global discussions regarding the environment.[270][271] The 1980 San Francisco Recycling Program was one of the earliest curbside recycling programs.[272] The city's GoSolarSF incentive promotes solar installations and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is rolling out the CleanPowerSF program to sell electricity from local renewable sources.[273][274] SF Greasecycle is a program to recycle used cooking oil for conversion to biodiesel.[275]

The Sunset Reservoir Solar Project, completed in 2010, installed 24,000 solar panels on the roof of the reservoir. The 5-megawatt plant more than tripled the city's 2-megawatt solar generation capacity when it opened in December 2010.[276][277]


the Castro