Aaron Glantz, Bay Citizen (San Francisco), March 30, 2011
White people are leaving the Bay Area.
New census numbers released this month show the region is becoming more ethnically diverse not only because its Asian and Hispanic populations are increasing, but also because the Bay Area’s white population is in decline.
The Bay Area’s non-Hispanic white population dropped by more than 185,000 in the past decade, the census figures show.
Census figures show San Jose lost 20,000 white residents over the past decade, even as it added 63,000 Asians and 44,000 Latinos.
San Francisco was the only county to see an increase in the number of white residents, with a modest rise of 4,659.
Meanwhile, the white population fell by 69,000 in Santa Clara County, 55,000 in Alameda County and 37,000 in San Mateo County.
Many of the largest losses occurred in Silicon Valley suburbs, which saw significant increases in their Asian population.
It’s a trend that’s common across the country, said Dowell Myers, a professor who heads the Population Dynamics Research Group at the University of Southern California.
“White residents are much more expectant of the middle-class lifestyle, meaning that you have to be a homeowner, by age 30, of a traditional detached, single-family home,” Myers said.
“But the high price of housing doesn’t seem to discourage Latino and Asian migration that much,” he added. “They are willing to double up and make sacrifices that middle-class whites don’t really expect to make.”
Myers also pointed to a decline in the number of white children, a statewide phenomenon.
The number of white children declined in all but two of California’s 58 counties over the last decade.
There are nearly 150,000 fewer white children in the Bay Area than there were 10 years ago. San Francisco was the only county to see an increase. Comparatively, the number of Hispanic children in the Bay Area increased by 100,000 and Asian children by 50,000. The number of black children declined by 34,000.
“The bulk of white kids statewide were the children of baby boomers, but when these kids have gotten older, they’ve scattered because of the high cost of housing. That’s what’s mainly driving the slow attrition” of whites, he said.