Descriptive Title:

Proportion living at or below 200% of the Census poverty threshold

Geographic Unit of Analysis:

Census tract

Proportion of population living below 200% of the Census poverty threshold (2005-2009)
Neighborhood% living below 200% CPT*90% MOE**
Bayview/Hunter's Point 39% 4%
Bernal Heights 24% 3%
Castro/Upper Market 15% 2%
Chinatown 68% 7%
Excelsior 28% 4%
Financial District/South Beach 34% 11%
Glen Park
Golden Gate Park NA NA
Haight Ashbury 18% 3%
Hayes Valley
Inner Richmond 25% 3%
Inner Sunset 16% 3%
Lakeshore 29% 4%
Lincoln Park
Lone Mountain/USF
Marina 11% 2%
McLaren Park
Mission 33% 3%
Mission Bay
Nob Hill 31% 4%
Noe Valley 14% 3%
North Beach 28% 5%
Outer Mission 22% 4%
Outer Richmond 22% 3%
Pacific Heights 12% 3%
Potrero Hill 22% 6%
Presidio 17% 8%
Presidio Heights 14% 4%
Russian Hill 21% 4%
San Francisco 26% 1%
Seacliff *** ***
South of Market 44% 5%
Treasure Island 44% 12%
Twin Peaks 17% 8%
Visitacion Valley 39% 6%
West of Twin Peaks 12% 2%
Western Addition 31% 3%

Interpretation and Geographic Equity Analysis

Census tracts or neighborhoods with statistically unstable estimates for the percent of the population living at or below 200% of the Census poverty threshold likely have very few people in that income category of a small number of people living in that geographic area.


In determining the poverty status of families and unrelated individuals, the Census Bureau uses thresholds (income cutoffs) arranged in a two-dimensional matrix. The matrix consists of family size (from one person to nine or more people) cross-classified by presence and number of family members under 18 years old (from no children present to eight or more children present). Unrelated individuals and two-person families are further differentiated by age of reference person (RP) (under 65 years old and 65 years old and over). 

To determine a person's poverty status, one compares the person's total family income in the last 12 months with the poverty threshold appropriate for that person's family size and composition. If the total income of that person's family is less than the threshold appropriate for that family, then the person is considered "below the poverty level," together with every member of his or her family. If a person is not living with anyone related by birth, marriage, or adoption, then the person's own income is compared with his or her poverty threshold.

Since American Community Survey (ACS) is a continuous survey, people respond throughout the year. Because the income questions specify a period covering the last 12 months, the appropriate poverty thresholds are determined by multiplying the base-year poverty thresholds (1982) by the average of the monthly inflation factors for the 12 months preceding the data collection. In 2009 the poverty threshold for two adults and a child under 18 was $17,268 ( Becuase San Francisco and the Bay Area has a higher than average cost of living we chose to examine the percent of persons living at or below 200% of the poverty threshold, which would have been $34,536 for the same family in 2009.

The equation used to determine percent below the poverty level is: Percent in poverty = Total persons at or below 200% of the poverty level / Total population with poverty status determined.

In the Percent of Population Living at or Below 100% of the Census Poverty Threshold graph, the Hispanic / Latino category is not a mutually exclusive race category. In the ACS, race and Hispanic origin are treated as separate concepts with a separate question asking about Hispanic origin. Hispanics or Latinos are people who classified themselves in at least one of the specific Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino census categories. People of Hispanic origin may also be of any race, and are asked to answer a race question by marking one or more race categories, including: White, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and Some Other Race. Thus, the listed races such as Asian or Black/African American, may include some persons who identify as Hispanic. In order to better demostrate disparities in povery by race, non-Hispanic whites are included as a mutually exclusive race category.

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 statisitcally unstable. A coefficient of variation of 30% was used to determine statistical instability.

Data Source

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

Map, table, and graphic 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 in the SCI at the following links: