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It is critical that the economy and housing market function in ways that minimize disparities between communities; that housing be affordable to a range of household types; that growth doesn’t lead to displacement; that work doesn’t lead to poverty; and that life expectancy is not determined by one’s zip code.

Photo by: Joey Kotfica

Explore Equity Indicators


Jobs by Wage Level

Jobs by wage level refers to the distribution of jobs among low-, middle- and high-wage occupations. In the San Francisco Bay Area, low-wage occupations through 2017 had a median hourly wage of less than $21. Median wages for middle-wage occupations ranged from $21 to $31, and high-wage occupations had a median hourly wage above $31.

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Housing Affordability

Housing affordability refers to the share of household income spent on housing. This measure, which can be broken down by income level and by home ownership versus rental, captures the burden of housing costs on a household budget. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a household is considered “cost-burdened” if it spends more than 30% of its monthly income on housing costs. However, the U.S. Census Bureau data source used for this analysis merges housing expenditure brackets into three consistent bins: less than 20%, 20% to 34%, and more than 35%. Accordingly, Vital Signs refers to households spending more than 35% of their income on housing costs as cost-burdened.

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Displacement Risk

Displacement risk refers to the share of lower-income households living in neighborhoods that have been losing lower-income residents over time, thus earning the designation "at risk". While "at risk" households may not necessarily ever be displaced, neighborhoods identified as "at risk" are those in which the number of lower-income households (who are presumed to have relocated to other, more affordable communities) is lower than the number in the previous year.

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Migration refers to the movement of people from one location to another, typically crossing a county or regional boundary. Migration captures both voluntary relocation – for example, moving to another region for a better job, better schools or lower home prices – and involuntary relocation as a result of displacement. By looking at net flows (or net migration), we can better understand from where our region is attracting new residents and where current residents are moving. Importantly, due to data limitations, five-year rolling average data is used throughout for this indicator.

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Poverty refers to the share of the population living in households that earn less than 200% of the federal poverty limit, which varies based on the number of individuals in a given household. It reflects the number of individuals who are economically struggling due to low household income levels.

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Life Expectancy

Life expectancy refers to the average number of years a newborn is expected to live if mortality patterns remain the same. The measure reflects the mortality rate across a population for a point in time.

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The Vital Signs initiative is led by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).

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