Media Coverage: "Racial Segregation in the San Francisco Bay Area"

"The Racist History of Single-Family Home Zoning"
Oct. 5, 2020

A recent study from UC Berkeley's Othering & Belonging Institute found that 83% of residential land in the Bay Area is devoted to single-family zoning. That means that on only 17% of the land, it's legal to build apartments, condos, duplexes of triplexes.

And that's not unusual. A New York Times analysis found that about 75% of the residential land in major cities across the country is devoted exclusively to single-family homes.

The same Othering & Belonging Institute study found that as you increase the percentage of single-family zoning in a city, you increase the percentage of white residents.


"Why Bay Area neighborhoods are still racially segregated"
Berkeley News
Sept. 10, 2020

When Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Jim Crow laws that enforced racial segregation in the United States became illegal. But according to new research from UC Berkeley’s Othering and Belonging Institute, those divisive practices still exist in the Bay Area through zoning laws that create restrictive neighborhoods segregated by race.

The study is the fifth and final installment of the institute’s “Racial Segregation in the San Francisco Bay Area” series. Researchers mapped jurisdictions and produced a set of maps of 67 cities across six Bay Area counties that show the correlation between segregated neighborhoods and areas zoned for single-family homes.

The findings were clear: As the proportion of single-family zoning increases in a city, so does its white population, while Black and Latinx populations decrease.


"UC Berkeley study offers solutions to diversify Bay Area neighborhoods"
Daily Cal
Aug. 24, 2020

To spread awareness of racial segregation in Bay Area residential areas, UC Berkeley’s Othering and Belonging Institute published its final brief of a five-part research series Aug. 11, providing solutions and strategies to encourage diversity and inclusion.

The series, titled “Racial Segregation in the San Francisco Bay Area,” began with a brief that was published in October 2018. The final brief wraps up the series with a reflection on the legacy of segregation in the Bay Area and suggests five strategies to rectify the damaging effects of racial division in neighborhoods.

“We must do more than simply educate ourselves about the problem; we must find ways to put the Bay Area on a new trajectory, one of greater racial equity and deliberate inclusion and belonging,” the brief states.


"Single-family housing in the Bay Area linked to more racially segregated cities: report"
Mercury News
Aug. 21, 2020

With California cities under mounting pressure to boost housing density, a new report suggests that coveted single-family neighborhoods may be a key driver of racial segregation in the Bay Area.

The University of California, Berkeley’s Othering & Belonging Institute found that single-family zoning typically leads to more expensive homes, while costs are lower in denser communities, locking out many middle and low-income families. That, in turn, helps exclude many residents of color with less wealth, creating more racially segregated neighborhoods, said Stephen Menendian, the report’s co-author.

“It separates people from life-enhancing resources — from jobs, from good schools, from infrastructure and transit, from neighborhood amenities, and parks and safety,” he said.


"UC Berkeley study research Black/Latinx communities' quality of life"
The Daily Californian
Nov. 4, 2019

"The study proves what we've already known, it's been happening forever," saud District 3 City Councilmember Ben Bartlett. "We need to create new paradigms that incentivize integration - it's everything."

Consistent with the rest of the country, segragation in the Bay Area appears to accompany a "hoarding of resources" by certain communities, namely wealthier white ones, at the expense of communities of color, according to the report. 

The research points to the resulting unequal access to opportunity as on the the main drivers of the observed disparities in quality of life.


"Study finds strong correlation between segregation and life outcomes in the Bay Area"
Nov. 1, 2019











"Asians are now largest group in these two Bay Area counties, new data shows"
East Bay Times/Mercury News
June 20, 2019

In San Mateo, San Francisco and Contra Costa counties, white residents make up the largest share of the population. Asians make up the second largest share in San Francisco and San Mateo counties, while Hispanics rank second in Contra Costa, the data showed.

Samir Gambhir, a program manager with the Haas Institute who co-authored a 2018 report on segregation in the Bay Area, said in an email that the Asian population in the nine-county region  has been growing rapidly for decades.

“The plurality of Asians within the region is not surprising given the trajectory of rate of growth of this racial group,” Gambhir said. Between 1980 and 2010, he said, the Asian population in the Bay Area increased 300 percent.


"The Bay Area of 1970 was less racially segregated than it was in 2010"
San Francisco Chronicle
May 28, 2019

The Bay Area was more racially segregated in 2010 than it was 40 years prior, a UC Berkeley paper published Tuesday found. Segregation in the Bay Area persisted and, in some cases, grew since 1970. Seven of the region’s nine counties had more segregation in 2010 than they did in 1970. The only two that saw declines — San Francisco and Alameda counties — remain classified as “high” segregation places.

Meanwhile, Marin, Santa Clara, Sonoma and Napa counties had relatively large increases in segregation. That’s according to a brief from researchers at UC Berkeley’s Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society — the third in a five-part series.

But the story of where people live in relation to each other isn’t uniform across racial groups. While black residents became less segregated from white and Latino peers, for instance, Asians and Latinos both became more segregated from whites. Black-white segregation remains the highest, even though it’s on the decline, said authors Stephen Menendian and Samir Gambhir.


"Study: Minorities make up nearly half of Napa County's population"
Napa Valley Register
Feb. 19, 2019

Racial and ethnic minorities are within a few percentage points of becoming a majority of Napa County residents, according to recently released survey of demographics — and segregation patterns — across the Bay Area and its more than 7 million people.

Latinos account for 34.28 percent of the Napa County population, Asians 7.95 percent and African Americans 2.16 percent, according to the study conducted by the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, a research and social justice center at UC Berkeley. Combined, their numbers approach the white, non-Latino population of the county, 52.28 percent out of the 140,973 listed in a 2017 U.S. Census Bureau estimate.

Authors Stephen Menendian and Samir Gambhir released their findings in the first two segments of a planned five-part study, including an analysis of Bay Area segregation published in October and a report on the demographics of regional counties released Feb. 6.


"Vallejo is diverse but segregated, new study finds"
Times Herald Online
Feb. 12, 2019

Solano County and even Vallejo, in particular, may be ethnically diverse, but, there are still pockets of stubbornly segregated neighborhoods, a new study finds.

The first two parts of a five-part Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society study have been released, showing that even the most diverse cities have disparities that seem to be at least in part, based on race, study co-author Samir Gambhir said.

“More than 60 years since the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision denounced racial segregation in primary and secondary public schools, and 50 years since the enactment of the federal Fair Housing Act, our neighborhoods and schools have yet to reflect the rich diversity of our nation as a whole,” the authors said, proving that segregation remains “one of our nation’s most enduring and intractable problems.”


"Bay Area housing prices push low-income minorities farther out, study finds"
SF Chronicle
Feb. 7, 2019

African Americans remain the most racially segregated group in the Bay Area, with three-quarters of all black residents living in just one-quarter of the region’s census tracts, according to a different paper last year from UC Berkeley.


"Recent study reveals trends of racial segregation in Bay Area"
Daily Cal
Feb. 7, 2019

While the Bay Area is one of the most racially and ethnically diverse places in the world, segregation persists, and certain communities of color are increasingly forced to more distant parts of the Bay, according to a recently released study by the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society.

The institute launched its series on “Racial Segregation in the San Francisco Bay Area” in 2018, when it released its first brief on the topic, highlighting segregation throughout the region through detailed maps that break down the racial makeup for various counties. This second brief, published Wednesday, expands on the initial findings of racial segregation and tracks trends in racial demographics throughout the Bay Area for five major ethno-racial groups — African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinx, whites and Native Americans.

According to Stephen Menendian, co-author of the report, one of the most important points of the study concerns the Asian American population — a group that has the highest growth rate in recent decades compared to other racial groups. Asian Americans currently make up almost 24 percent of the overall Bay Area population as of 2010, and Menendian predicts that they may soon constitute a plurality in the region.


"Segregation in the San Francisco Bay Area"
El Show de Andrés Soto, KPFA
Feb. 7, 2019


"UC Berkeley Haas Institute study shows Bay Area segregation, despite region’s diversity"
Daily Cal
Nov. 14, 2018

While the Bay Area is diverse, many neighborhoods or cities within the region are highly segregated and do not reflect the diversity of the region, according to a report published Oct. 29 by the UC Berkeley Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society.

According to the report, titled “Racial Segregation in the San Francisco Bay Area,” 39 percent of census tracts in the Bay Area were classified as highly segregated, about 27 percent of tracts were moderately segregated and about 31 percent of tracts showed low segregation.

Using data from the 2010 census and the 2015 American Community Survey, the report shows that white people are the most segregated racial group in the region. Although 39 percent of the Bay Area population is white, about 11 percent of census tracts are more than 75 percent white, and about 22 percent of tracts are more than 66 percent white.


"The grim reality of racial segregation in the S.F. Bay Area"
Berkeley Blog
Oct. 30, 2018

Social scientists have long known that the root cause of racial inequality – that is, the large disparities in life outcomes between racial groups – is primarily a byproduct of racial segregation, and racial residential segregation in particular. Prevailing wisdom suggests, however, that racial segregation has declined in the last several decades while economic segregation has grown substantially in that time.

Although true, this ignores the fact that racial segregation remains stubbornly high – it fell just modestly from an extremely high level between 1970 and 2010. To give you a sense of how segregated the nation is, more than half of either blacks or whites would have to move to a different neighborhood to create a “perfectly integrated” nation.

There are a number of excellent visualization of racial demographics that immediately illustrate this reality. One of my favorites is a dot map of every person in the United States created by a researcher at the University of Virginia, which Wired magazine called “the best map ever made of America’s Racial Segregation.” Another amazing interactive map illustrating racial demographics and racial diversity was created by the Washington Post this past summer.