What Does Displacement Look Like?, Part 1: Census 2020 and Latinos in the Mission

by Senior Analyst Ryan Fukumori

This blog is the first in a series where we will illustrate the long-term trends of gentrification and Latino displacement in San Francisco’s Mission District, using demographic and socioeconomic data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other public sources. The out-migration of Latinos from the Mission over the last few decades is just one part of the story; we hope that sharing this data can spark a broader conversation about displacement and the collective strategies needed to reverse these trends. 

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released the first batch of data from the 2020 decennial Census, which allows us to look at data on population by race and ethnicity for all of San Francisco, as well as the Mission District specifically. We also combine these new data points with population data from the previous four versions of the Census. In doing so, we can take a longer-term view of population change in the Mission and citywide, with a particular focus on the displacement of Latinos from the Mission since 2000. In all, the 2020 data reveals that this trend of Latino displacement continued throughout the 2010s, even as the citywide Latino population grew during the same period. However, the rate of Latino displacement was smaller relative to the 2000s, suggesting that Mission community organizations and allies have been somewhat successful in combatting the market forces and inequitable policies that locally drive gentrification.

The interactive dashboard above features Census population data for the Mission and San Francisco between 1980 and 2020. You can hover over or click on any graph above for additional information. Some key talking points:

  • Between 2010 and 2020, San Francisco’s overall Latino population increased by about 15,000 people, as Figure 1 shows. This also amounted to a slight increase in Latino population rate, from 15.1% of the citywide population to 15.6%.
  • Over the same period, the Mission’s Latino population fell by about 3,400 residents, dropping the population rate from 40.5% to 34.7%. As Figure 2 shows, this represents a net loss of 10,000 Latino residents from the Mission since 2000. By contrast, the overall Mission population has fluctuated very little since 2000.
  • However, Latino displacement from the Mission between 2010 and 2020 was less severe than the drop between 2000 and 2010 (per Figure 6, a decrease of 22.1%, compared to a decrease of 22.1%). While it is not possible to discern from these data alone, this could indicate that MEDA and our partners have been more successful in reversing displacement over the past 10 years.
  • With a growing citywide Latino population in areas besides the Mission, this means that the percentage of SF Latinos living in the Mission is at its lowest point in at least the past 40 years. As Figure 5 shows, only about one in seven Latinos in San Francisco called the Mission home in 2020, versus about one in five Latinos in 2010.
  • One consequence of gentrification: the youth population in the Mission has plummeted over the past two decades, from over 10,000 to fewer than 7,000. The Latino youth population alone fell by more than half between 2000 and 2020, as Figure 3 shows. Per Figure 4, only about one in six Mission Latinos in 2020 was under the age of 18, compared to one in four Mission Latinos in 2000.
  • However, Latino residents in the Mission are still more likely to have children than the population at large, as Figure 4 also shows. While Latinos of all ages made up about one-third of the Mission in 2020, Latinos under 18 comprised over half of all neighborhood youth.

The interactive map above disaggregates Latino population change in the Mission by the 13 Census tracts that comprise the neighborhood. The Census tracts are color-coded by the rate of Latino population change between 2000 and 2020. You can also hover over or click on any of the tracts to produce a graph with population change for that particular tract between 1980 and 2000. A few key talking points:

  • Since 2000, the areas with the steepest decline in the Latino population rates have been the southern tracts around the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District. By contrast, only the northeastern tract (#177), adjacent to SoMa, has seen a net gain in the Latino population over the last 20 years.
  • In several Census tracts, including the tract where MEDA’s offices are located (#228.01), Latino displacement was already underway between 1990 and 2000. These trends correspond with the rise of the first dot-com boom in the Bay Area in the 1990s.
  • The Mission’s overall population has remained relatively stable since 1990, only fluctuating by a few thousand people at most between decennial Censuses. However, over that same period, the population distribution has shifted more to the northern tracts adjacent to Market Street, while the southernmost tracts around the Latino Cultural District have largely seen larger net population losses alongside higher rates of Latino displacement. These trends correlate with the net loss of youth from the Mission, as the displacement of Latino families coincides with the influx of residents who are less likely to have children. 

We look forward to sharing more data from the 2020 Census upon its publication, as well as analyses that use data from the Census Bureau’s annual survey, the American Community Survey.

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