November 15, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                            

Contact: Tony Roshan Samara, Urban Habitat, (917) 270-9255

New Report by Urban Habitat Reveals Growing Inequality and Resegregation in the Bay Area, Reflecting a Divided Nation

Oakland, CA - Urban Habitat has released a new brief entitled Race, Inequality, and the Resegregation of the Bay Area, revealing the new geography of race and class segregation throughout the region. The report highlights the rapid growth of inequality in a region lauded for its progressive politics and shows the Bay Area is experiencing many of the same divisions that shaped the results of the recent election.

The brief highlights key inequality trends across urban and suburban areas in 11 counties from 2000 to 2014. As Urban Habitat analyzed data about changes in the Bay Area, they found remarkable differences between affluent inner regions, like San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, and western Contra Costa counties, and increasingly poor outer regional counties like San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Solano, Napa, and Sonoma counties.

The disparities between inner and outer regions of the Bay Area lay bare the struggles facing low-income communities and communities of color across the region as they search for affordable housing and jobs which pay a living wage near their area of residence.

Key findings of the newly released brief include:

  • There was a clear and dramatic shift in Black and Latino populations from the inner to the outer region between 2000-2014. The region as a whole lost 22,000 Black residents over this period.
  • Poverty in Black and Latino communities grew across the region but places experiencing the greatest growth are located in the outer region.
  • High poverty growth areas, mostly in the outer regions, are increasingly becoming home to workers in lower wage industries (such as retail, accommodation and food services, health care and social assistance).
  • Commutes to work increased for people in areas with the highest growth of poverty in the region -- a geographic expression of the new labor market.

“We believe that displacement is a first step in the process of resegregation. The reversal of white flight and the concentration of affluence in the urban center has pushed existing low-income communities and communities of color to the outer region,” said Tony Roshan Samara, Program Director of Land Use and Housing for Urban Habitat, and author of Race, Inequality, and the Resegregation of the Bay Area. He added, “The data confirms the Bay Area is undergoing rapid demographic shifts and strongly suggests that what is emerging is a new form of race and class resegregation.” Samara continued, “The 2016 election results showed building power from the local up is more important than ever.”

“The increase in poverty we have experienced over the past several years is challenging our city,” stated Patrice Guillory, a long-time resident of Antioch. “We are struggling with inadequate resources, and challenges to civic engagement. Our elected officials will need to address the diverse needs resulting from resegregation in the Bay Area. We hope to work across race, class, and geographic boundaries to develop equitable solutions for the region.”

Urban Habitat’s policy brief is available here.

Urban Habitat is a regional policy advocacy organization that works to democratize power and advance equitable policies to create a just and connected Bay Area for low-income communities and communities of color.