News

New report lists local communities among Bay Area's most racially and economically segregated neighborhoods

A map showing White-Latino segregation on the Midpeninsula. Courtesy Bay Area Equity Atlas.

A new report from the Bay Area Equity Atlas shows that several Bay Area neighborhoods are highly segregated by race and wealth, with census tracks in Portola Valley, Woodside, Atherton and Menlo Park on the top 20 list of the most segregated neighborhoods by white wealth.

The report is based on an analysis of U.S. Census data that digs down to the census track level and compares population numbers by race and income. The Bay Area Equity Atlas is a partnership between the San Francisco Foundation, PolicyLink and the Equity Research Institute at the University of Southern California.

"A look at the demographics of these neighborhoods of concentrated white wealth reveals the extent to which low-income Black, Latinx, and AAPI households are excluded from wealthy white enclaves compared with their white counterparts," the report says. "Neighborhoods in Belvedere and Woodside top the list of the 20 most segregated neighborhoods in terms of white wealth."

The report compares the number of low-income white households in wealthy neighborhoods to low-income Black, Latino or Asian and Pacific Islander households.

"In these two areas, there are no Black or Latinx households with incomes under $45,000 and just a handful of low-income AAPI households, yet there are more than 100 low-income white households in each census tract, casting doubt on explanations of purely income-based segregation," the report said about Belvedere and Woodside. "For low-income AAPI households, only one neighborhood, in Atherton, has more than 50 households. Meanwhile, neighborhoods in Portola Valley, Mill Valley, and Orinda have more than 200 lower-income white households."

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Five of the Bay Area's 1,572 census tracts are identified in the report as areas of "highly segregated" for low-income Latino households.

These neighborhoods were in Marin, Alameda, Contra Costa and San Mateo Counties.

The region's most segregated Latino neighborhood is in San Rafael's Canal Area, according to the report which was posted July 27 on the Bay Area Equity Atlas website at bayareaequityatlas.org.

According to the report, "Over 700 low-income Latinx households live in the Canal Area, compared with roughly 100 low-income white households and just a handful of high-income white households. Yet less than 10 low-income Black households reside in the Canal Area."

The other highly segregated Latino neighborhoods identified in the report are located in East Oakland, South Concord near Four Points, North Fair Oaks in San Mateo County and in Richmond.

"The neighborhoods that rank highest on Black-white segregation also tend to rank relatively high on Latinx-white segregation," according to the report.

A full version of the report can be found here.

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New report lists local communities among Bay Area's most racially and economically segregated neighborhoods

by Bay City News Service and Almanac staff /

Uploaded: Tue, Aug 9, 2022, 10:01 am

A new report from the Bay Area Equity Atlas shows that several Bay Area neighborhoods are highly segregated by race and wealth, with census tracks in Portola Valley, Woodside, Atherton and Menlo Park on the top 20 list of the most segregated neighborhoods by white wealth.

The report is based on an analysis of U.S. Census data that digs down to the census track level and compares population numbers by race and income. The Bay Area Equity Atlas is a partnership between the San Francisco Foundation, PolicyLink and the Equity Research Institute at the University of Southern California.

"A look at the demographics of these neighborhoods of concentrated white wealth reveals the extent to which low-income Black, Latinx, and AAPI households are excluded from wealthy white enclaves compared with their white counterparts," the report says. "Neighborhoods in Belvedere and Woodside top the list of the 20 most segregated neighborhoods in terms of white wealth."

The report compares the number of low-income white households in wealthy neighborhoods to low-income Black, Latino or Asian and Pacific Islander households.

"In these two areas, there are no Black or Latinx households with incomes under $45,000 and just a handful of low-income AAPI households, yet there are more than 100 low-income white households in each census tract, casting doubt on explanations of purely income-based segregation," the report said about Belvedere and Woodside. "For low-income AAPI households, only one neighborhood, in Atherton, has more than 50 households. Meanwhile, neighborhoods in Portola Valley, Mill Valley, and Orinda have more than 200 lower-income white households."

Five of the Bay Area's 1,572 census tracts are identified in the report as areas of "highly segregated" for low-income Latino households.

These neighborhoods were in Marin, Alameda, Contra Costa and San Mateo Counties.

The region's most segregated Latino neighborhood is in San Rafael's Canal Area, according to the report which was posted July 27 on the Bay Area Equity Atlas website at bayareaequityatlas.org.

According to the report, "Over 700 low-income Latinx households live in the Canal Area, compared with roughly 100 low-income white households and just a handful of high-income white households. Yet less than 10 low-income Black households reside in the Canal Area."

The other highly segregated Latino neighborhoods identified in the report are located in East Oakland, South Concord near Four Points, North Fair Oaks in San Mateo County and in Richmond.

"The neighborhoods that rank highest on Black-white segregation also tend to rank relatively high on Latinx-white segregation," according to the report.

A full version of the report can be found here.

Comments

K. Dumont
Registered user
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 9, 2022 at 2:46 pm
K. Dumont , Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
Registered user
on Aug 9, 2022 at 2:46 pm

I hope this is a wake-up call to everyone who thinks segregation is a thing of the past. We need to use all available tools to end race and class segregation in our lifetime. We can move to desegregate housing by supporting more housing projects, especially more AFFORDABLE housing projects, in ALL our neighborhoods. Yes, change is uncomfortable, but change is necessary if we want to end segregation. The problem isn't going to solve itself. Housing policies that "preserve neighborhood character" only promote and perpetuate the shameful reality of racial and economic segregation right here in our town, and that is just unacceptable. We can't just talk a progressive line--we have to walk it, too.


Resident
Registered user
another community
on Aug 9, 2022 at 5:30 pm
Resident , another community
Registered user
on Aug 9, 2022 at 5:30 pm

K. Dumont, I have an especially easy, simple, and fast solution to the problem that you are citing. White families could buy homes in East Palo Alto. As a resident of East Palo Alto, here are a few reasons for this easy, simple, fast solution to the segregation that you are mentioning (I note the ones I like)
1. Homes are cheaper in East Palo Alto. In fact we have a bunch of homes here with for sale signs that are not even listed on Zillow or Redfin. I am guessing they are just waiting for all cash offers investor to investor. You could probably get one cheap by selling whatever home you are in and still have enough money to buy another home for a friend on the same street.
2. Most of our homes have extra random rooms. They may look small, but the present occupants could be as many as ten or twelve in what is listed as a 3-1. Imagine being able to cram all of your friends or associates in with you.
3. Most of our homes without random ADUs have good yard space and good soil for gardens and fruit trees you may want to plant. (I like this one)
4. All of our homes are a mile or less from the awesome Bay Trail. I run or bike it almost everyday. Relax or fish (still relaxing) at Cooley Landing. You can even hunt waterfowl at the Ravenswood portion of the Don Edwards preserve behind Meta/Facebook (hard to believe right?) (I really like this one too)
5. If you really, really like fireworks, people running stop signs and doing donuts in intersections, random dirt bikes running up and down streets, we have daily displays of all of those.

Ultimately, why don’t the folks living on the economic high end of the scale, concerned with segregation, move over to the “segregated” neighborhoods? Take Malcolm X’s advice
Web Link
So everyone concerned about segregation can walk over the pedestrian bridges at Newbridge, Bay Road, or over the University Ave overpass bridge and prove what truly has value and purpose to them, not just “matters”


MenloVoter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Aug 10, 2022 at 7:53 am
MenloVoter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Aug 10, 2022 at 7:53 am

K Dumont:

"affordable housing" is a myth and a lie. Those that push it are virtue signaling pretending that it is some how possible in this area. It's not without major government subsidies. One only need run the numbers using the land values and the costs of construction here and it becomes obvious that "affordable" isn't possible. We live in a state with the highest or second highest tax rate in the nation. I don't see California stepping up with the billions in budget surplus and funding these projects, do you? If they aren't going to fund it now when they have a ridiculous surplus, how do you think they'll fund it? That's right, they'll raise taxes. Again. Sorry, but I pay enough taxes already.

By the way, I'd like to live in Atherton. You think maybe someone could arrange to build something I could afford so I can live there?


Private citizen
Registered user
Laurel School
on Aug 10, 2022 at 1:50 pm
Private citizen , Laurel School
Registered user
on Aug 10, 2022 at 1:50 pm

Just for yucks, I researched the two Menlo Park tracts of land listed among the top 20. First, I’m bewildered at the the areas not listed, like Palo Alto and Los Altos, even though Los Altos hills got a special mention in the paragraph below the list. It makes me wonder at the methodology. That aside, the two mp land tracts listed in the Equity Atlas are located in West Menlo Park, around and just west of downtown. And yet, our city continues to focus mostly on sites in district 2 - having already overdeveloped district 1. District 2 must do its part, but the virtue signaling, especially by districts who have avoided or argued their way out of participating in the city's affordable housing goals, continues to be laughable.


Iris
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 10, 2022 at 8:14 pm
Iris, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Aug 10, 2022 at 8:14 pm

The largest lots in Menlo Park are west of downtown. They cost more, a lot more, than the lots cost elsewhere. On larger lots, the houses can be larger so they cost more, too. A lot more. It should be no surprise that there are few affordable houses there. The math doesn't work.


Private citizen
Registered user
Laurel School
on Aug 11, 2022 at 3:23 am
Private citizen , Laurel School
Registered user
on Aug 11, 2022 at 3:23 am

@iris,
I’m mentioning the location of the two specific tracts in the top 20 list. I don’t believe the tracts are necessarily the very largest, but the study *claims* they are amongst the 20 most segregated - racially and economically — and the list includes neighborhoods well beyond San Mateo county. (As I said, the list doesn’t include several of the cities one might assume it would. And it’s fairly challenging to unpack the study given the wide range of data sources and goals.)

The idea is that the city has almost no affordable housing…anywhere. If “the math” works for districts 1 and 2, there should be a way to make it work for districts across the city. (A stated goal.)


MenloVoter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Aug 11, 2022 at 7:32 am
MenloVoter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Aug 11, 2022 at 7:32 am

Private Citizen:

"affordable housing" math doesn't work anywhere in Menlo Park without government subsidies or tax breaks for developers of "affordable housing". The cost of land and construction are simply too high. The cheapest anyone is likely to get anything built around here is $500/sf. So, if you build a 1000 sf house, your cost of construction alone is $500,000. That is exclusive of soft costs which adds another 15 to 20 percent. Then you have to buy the land that goes under that house. Even if you were able to find a lot that cost $500,000 (not likely, but for sake of argument), that means you're looking at a house that cost $1,075.000. Do you honestly believe someone making minimum wage or even say $20/hr can afford to buy a $1 million house? Hint: they can't. Oh, and they'll have to pay property taxes on that home every year. That's around $16,000 a year. Sound "affordable"?

So if "affordable housing" is wanted it will have to be subsidized. Funny thing though, in this state any time you involve public money in construction the labor has to be paid prevailing wage which drives UP the cost of construction. So, that "affordable housing" becomes even less affordable or costs the tax payer more.

People need to get real about this subject and stop virtue signaling. If you want "affordable housing" built those of you that want it are going to have to step up and put your money where your mouth is and pay for it. Not to mention you'll have to accept higher density in your neighborhood. And that's the rub. You all want to support "affordable housing", but you don't want it built in your neighborhood. I would guess the majority of you don't want to put your money where your mouth is either.


Private citizen
Registered user
Laurel School
on Aug 11, 2022 at 9:49 am
Private citizen , Laurel School
Registered user
on Aug 11, 2022 at 9:49 am

@MenloVoter, It seems we will have it …a lot of it, in or near our district’s small-lot neighborhoods —whether or not the math works. Personally, I’m good with affordable housing at the former flood school, but the project as specified doesn’t fit the site or the neighborhoods. It seems to be as much about RCSD covering budget shortfalls as it is about providing affordable housing for staff. (All rentals, no path to ownership, potential for offices. How many eligible employee *tenants* does RCSD have? No one knows - but they won’t budge on the size, regardless of impact. And our council, as it’s currently inclined, won’t likely exercise their legal right to adjust the zoning to help manage the impact. But I digress. So, if it’s mandatory, and it seems to be, you can imagine why district 2 might appreciate other districts stepping up to share the love. Everything you say is true, and yet here we are. the plan of record is to locate as many potential affordable housing sites in district 2 as possible. I’m certain you fully understand the predictable impact. So, yes, the virtue signaling, from our council and from districts without any skin in the game, some of whom have fought mightily to avoid participating —it’s annoying.


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