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Creating great communities for all

San Francisco lost a greater percentage of residents than any other large U.S. city

By Anna Tong, San Francisco Standard, May 26, 2022

“Nearly every large U.S. city lost residents during Covid, but nowhere was that trend felt more acutely than San Francisco.

“The city lost 6.3 percent of its residents from July 2020 to July 2021, the biggest percentage decline among all 800-some cities with more than 50,000 residents, according to data released by the Census Bureau today. That represents a loss of 54,813 individuals.

“While San Francisco came in first on the nationwide list, other Bay Area cities also saw big population declines. San Jose, San Mateo, Redwood City, San Leandro, Palo Alto, Union City, and Alameda all lost about 3 percent of their residents in the same time period. Pleasanton, Sunnyvale, Berkeley, Livermore, Fremont, and Milpitas recorded smaller losses during the same period, around 2 percent.

“Nationwide, cities with the biggest population growth were in Arizona, Texas, Florida, and Idaho. Georgetown, Texas, a booming suburb north of Austin, registered the largest percentage growth, increasing its population by 10.5 percent. Among cities with over 1 million residents, Phoenix, Arizona, grew the most, at 0.8 percent. In California, many inland cities experienced population growth — in particular Sacramento, Riverside, Merced, Modesto, and Fresno.

“Many of San Francisco’s residents are office workers who were able to work remotely during Covid, said Stanford economics professor Nick Bloom, who studies working from home. The population decline is bad for the city’s government due to lost tax revenue, but it may not be a bad thing for residents, he said.”

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