Berkeley Study Finds Increasing Racial Segregation in Bay Area Housing

The Urban Displacement Project at the University of California, Berkeley and the California Housing Partnership has found that rising housing costs between 2000 and 2015 have contributed to displacement of low-income people of color and resulted in new concentrations of poverty and racial segregation in the Bay Area.

The project found that between 2000 and 2015, the Bay Area lost thousands of low-income Black households due to rising housing prices. In 2015, 65 percent of San Francisco’s low-income Black households lived in high-poverty, segregated neighborhoods. This is a substantially higher rate than low-income groups of other races. Additionally, the researchers found large increases in the number of low-income people of color living in newly segregated and higher-poverty areas over the 15-year period. Low-income households who moved during the 15-year period paid a higher share of their income on rent than those who did not move. Also, 40 percent of low-income Black households that moved in 2015, left the Bay Area all together.

“These reports provide clear evidence that low-income people of color in the Bay Area suffer the most as housing prices rise and displacement pushes them into higher-poverty, lower-resource neighborhoods where the odds are stacked against them,” says Matt Schwartz, president and CEO of the California Housing Partnership. “We can and must do better.”

The researchers suggest that the Bay Area should implement more policies and investments that support housing affordability, stability, and greater access to high-resource neighborhoods for low-income people of color. Additionally, they believe that these policies and investments need to account for both the history of racial segregation and their findings of recent trends in resegregation in order to be successful.

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