Descriptive Title: Proportion of residents who both live and work in San Francisco

Geographic Unit of Analysis: Census tract

Proportion of residents that both live and work in San Francisco (2005-2009)
Neighborhood% working in SF90% MOE*
Bayview/Hunter's Point 76% 3%
Bernal Heights 73% 3%
Castro/Upper Market 72% 3%
Chinatown 85% 5%
Excelsior 75% 4%
Financial District/South Beach 84% 6%
Glen Park
Golden Gate Park NA NA
Haight Ashbury 79% 3%
Hayes Valley
Inner Richmond 80% 3%
Inner Sunset 77% 3%
Lakeshore 74% 4%
Lincoln Park
Lone Mountain/USF
Marina 76% 3%
McLaren Park
Mission 80% 2%
Mission Bay
Nob Hill 84% 4%
Noe Valley 68% 4%
North Beach 77% 4%
Outer Mission 71% 3%
Outer Richmond 79% 3%
Pacific Heights 78% 3%
Potrero Hill 70% 4%
Presidio 76% 9%
Presidio Heights 73% 5%
Russian Hill 80% 3%
San Francisco 76% 1%
Seacliff 76% 11%
South of Market 72% 3%
Treasure Island 81% 9%
Twin Peaks 74% 7%
Visitacion Valley 72% 4%
West of Twin Peaks 74% 3%
Western Addition 78% 2%

Why Is This An Indicator Of Health and Sustainability?

Residence in the city of employment creates health benefits through reducing commuting times and through the use of public transit and more "active" commutes.  Shorter commuting times allow for increased time for physical activity, family interactions, community engagement, and leisure/rest. Active commutes, via walking or bicycling, help meet requirements for physical activity, and reduce the environmental consequences of driving.

Interpretation and Geographic Equity Analysis

This indicator shows the proportion of residents who both live and work in San Francisco.   On average, 76% of San Francisco’s working residents work in San Francisco. This figure includes only workers 16 years and older who are employed.]  This means that 24% of the working residents in San Francisco work outside of the city limits. 

The map and table illustrate the distribution of residents who live and work in San Francisco.  The neighborhoods with the lowest proportion of residents who live and work in San Francisco (Mission Bay, Potrero Hill, Outer Mission, South of Market, Ocean View, and Visitacion Valley) tend to be the neighborhoods with closest proximity to major freeways and regional transit (BART or Caltrain), with the exception of Noe Valley.  The neighborhoods with the highest proportion of residents who live and work in San Francisco (Downtown/Civic Center, Chinatown, Nob Hill, and the Financial District) tend to be the neighborhoods with some of the highest density of public transportation and highest number of jobs (as illustrated by EC.1.c, with the exception of Treasure Island/Yerba Buena Island.

According to the US Census’ Longitudinal Employer–Household Dynamics (LEHD) survey, there were 543,026 jobs in San Francisco in 2009.   According to the American Community Survey, there were an estimated 341,769 residents of San Francisco working in San Francisco in 2009 (ACS 1 Year Sample).  This means that roughly 63% of San Francisco jobs are filled by local residents. 

Numerous factors influence housing choice including availability and quality of jobs, good wages, schools, childcare, transportation, and perceived safety.   While San Francisco is an established regional job center, as a result of the high housing costs within the city, some San Francisco employees must commute in from outside the city rather than live within city limits.

Over the past two decades, San Francisco has introduced various measures to increase the amount of housing affordable to workers, notably through the creation of an inclusionary housing fee (administered to residential buildings over five units) and a jobs/housing linkage fee (administered to commercial buildings over 25,000 square feet).  According to the San Francisco Controller’s Office, the Jobs-Housing Linkage Fee has cumulatively generated over $56 million since 1994 and the Inclusionary Program has generated over $48 million since 2005.  As of 2011, $10.8 million of the fees had deferred payment until the first occupancy certificate was issued.  For more information, visit:


To calculate the percent of San Francisco residents that work in San Francisco, the number of employed San Franciscans who report that they carry out their occupational duties in San Francisco was divided by the total number of workers who live in San Francisco. Civilian and members of the Armed Forces, 16 years of age and older, are included.

The ACS is a sample survey, and thus, data are estimates rather than counts. Estimates have accompanying margins of error that indicate the span of values that the true value could fall within. Margins of error should be subtracted from and added to the value to determine the range of possible values. If the margin of error is too big relative to the value, data are not shown because they are statistically unstable. A coefficient of variation of 30% was used to determine statistical instability.


Various factors impact whether an individual works in the same city or neighborhood that she or he lives.  One of the most important factors is the availability and quality of jobs available to the resident, which is impacted by educational attainment, race/ethnicity, class, languages spoken, job training, gender, disability status, age, and other factors that impact employment.  Individuals employed in the service sector will likely have a significantly lower income and subsequently fewer housing options than individuals employed in the financial or managerial sectors (see Indicator  EC.1.d).

The availability of affordable and quality housing is also a strong determinant of housing choice for many workers.  San Francisco has one of the highest housing costs for both rental and owner-owned housing in the nation.  Despite various efforts to increase the amount and availability of affordable housing in the City, a significant proportion of residents continue to pay more than 30% of their income on housing ( 

Other factors affecting housing choice include the quality of schools, the proximity of basic services, transportation options, social cohesion, and perceived safety and trust of neighbors. 

The data presented above is from 2005-2009.  In 2008, the United States began to experience a significant economic recession ,which led to increasingly layoffs and competition for jobs over the subsequent years.  Thus the data presented above may not accurately represent the current number, percentage and distribution of workers across San Francisco.  During this time, San Francisco has also undergone significant development growth in certain neighborhoods, notably Mission Bay, the South of Market and the Financial District, all of which are very closely located to regional transit and major freeway entrances to head east or south towards other employment centers.    It is not known how the increased availability of market-rate and other housing in these neighborhoods has impacted worker density and the proportion of workers that live and work in the same city.

Data Source

American Community Survey (ACS), 5-year Estimates, 2005-2009.

Map and table created by San Francisco Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Section using ArcGIS software.

Map data is presented at the level of the census tract. The map also includes planning neighborhood names, in the vicinity of their corresponding census tracts.

Table data is presented by planning neighborhood. Planning neighborhoods are larger geographic areas than census tracts. SFDPH chose to use the San Francisco Planning Department's census tract neighborhood assignments to calculate neighborhood values. This assignment method relies on a 'centroids within' methodology to convert census tracts to geographic mean center points. Census tracts are assigned to planning neighborhoods based on the spatial location of those geographic mean center points and neighborhood totals are calculated for the table. In a few case, certain census tracts were redesignated to different neighborhoods based on knowledge of the population dispersion in the tract.

Detailed information regarding census data, geographic units of analysis, their definitions, and their boundaries can be found at the following links:

Interactive boundaries map