San Francisco

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San Francisco, California
San Francisco, California[1]

San Francisco is located in California along the West coast of the United States of America, and is sitting atop "hills and filled in marshland" among the entrance to one of the Pacific's largest natural harbours where it has had an immense influence on the history and progress of California and on the United States.[2] It was founded in 1776 by Spanish explores, and upon arrival they established the Catholic Church along with the Presidio Army base.[3] It officially became part of the United States in 1846, and in 1849, San Francisco became the entrance port to the Gold rush in the West.[3] San Francisco roared through the 20th century as the centre of wealth, military power, progressive culture, and new and innovative technology.[2]

It is the most densely populated city in California, and the second most densely populated city in the United States, after New York City, New York. San Francisco has maintained its reputation as the center of cultural bohemianism, and it later became the centre for musicians and poets, along with hippies throughout the 1950's and onward.[2] The city has become a welcoming ground for a diverse range of individuals and holds a large LGBTQ population.[2]


[edit] Globalization

Globalization can be understood generally “as an accelerating set of processes involving flows that encompass ever-greater numbers of the world spaces that lead to increasing integration and interconnectivity among those spaces.”[4] San Francisco is globally connected through foreign direct investment, links to other technology regions, large numbers of foreign students at its universities, and a globally diverse population that serves as an important business and cultural bridge. The Bay Area powerfully shapes and is shaped by the global economy.[5] San Francisco has a long experience with global markets, conquest, migration, and competition. The first opening produced San Francisco’s leap forward and initial industrialization, but limits to imperial ambitions forced local capital to intensify the development of California. The region built up a stronger base of production before being propelled into the global forefront by was in the Pacific. After another long ride on the roller coaster of globalization, the Bay Area finds itself facing new and severe challenges. [6]

[edit] Trade

Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco
Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco[7]

San Francisco is one of the nation’s top exporting regions, ranking second only to the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area in the value of its exports with overseas sales exceeding all U.S. states except Texas.[5] In 1948 the Port of San Francisco received a Grant of Authority to establish, operate, promote and maintain Foreign Trade Zone #3 for the City and County of San Francisco. The geographic scope has since been expanded to include all of San Francisco and surrounding areas.[8] A Foreign Trade Zone or Free Trade Zone is an area set-aside within countries to make foreign investment and trade easier by reducing or eliminating trade barriers, including tariffs and bureaucratic requirements.[4]

San Francisco is at the centre of global business. Because of its natural, landlocked harbour, San Francisco has thrived on trade and shipping since its early days. Through its main port in Oakland, eight smaller ports, and three key airports, the Bay area handles nearly 30 percent of West Coast trade.[9] San Francisco’s active trade market, and technological advances have helped to compress time-space barriers; the process by which global markets reorganize the perception of time to reduce the constraints of space
on their activities.[4]

Pacific Coast Stock Exchange, San Francisco
Pacific Coast Stock Exchange, San Francisco[10]

[edit] Economy

San Francisco’s economic activity attracts and supports a range of industries. As a base for some of the country’s largest banks, the Pacific Exchange, San Francisco is a center for world commerce. San Francisco is considered the birthplace of new media; housing some of the most innovative technology companies in the world.[9]

The Bay Area is a major recipient of global capital and a top investor around the world. Since 2006, the region has attracted $5 billion of foreign private equity and venture investment each year. Bay Area companies are most heavily invested in Europe, (United Kingdom and Germany), Asia (China, India and Japan) and Canada. Most of this activity is concentrated in technology, apparel, and engineering. San Francisco companies globally are playing a pioneering role.[5]

[edit] Tourism

Alcatraz Island, San Francisco
Alcatraz Island, San Francisco[11]

Tourism is one of the city’s largest private-sector industries, accounting for more than one out of seven jobs in the city.[12] San Francisco hosted 16.9 million visitors in 2013 spending more than $9.83 billion at local businesses. During an average day in San Francisco, 134,231 visitors are spending $25.7 million. This revenue directly supports local businesses and indirectly bolsters every segment of the city’s economy. The number of jobs supported by tourism rose in 2013, totalling 76,834 jobs with an annual payroll of $2.31 billion.[13] Tourism is an important contributor to the local economy. Offering a plentiful and varied set of attractions welcoming millions of tourists each year as well as millions of participants at conferences and conventions. The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Fisherman's Wharf are a few of the most popular sights in the city.[14]

[edit] Political Geography

Political geography is a sub-division of human geography focused on the nature and implications of the evolving spatial organization of political governance and formal political practice on Earth’s surface. It is concerned with why political spaces emerge in the places that they do and with how the character of those spaces affects social, political, economic, and environmental understandings and practices.[4] San Francisco is comprised of 11 political districts[15] via geometric boundaries; political boundary defined or delimited by a line or arc on a map.[4]

[edit] Political Boundaries

Political Districts, San Francisco
Political Districts, San Francisco[16]

District 1 consists of the Richmond district and Golden Gate Park consisting of an even mix of Caucasians and Asians, largely middle class. Politically, it tends to vote for progressive supervisors and moderates.[15]

District 2 consists of the Marina, Cow Hollow, Pacific Heights, Laurel Heights, and Seacliff, it is home to the city’s wealthiest residents. The district is the most conservative of the city.[15]

District 3 is the tourist area. Consisting of cable cars, Coit Tower, Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, North Beach and the Ferry Building. It is extremely diverse. This district generally votes progressive, but does slip to moderates.[15]

District 4 is the Sunset District. Is consists mainly of Asian middle-class homes. This district generally votes moderate.[15]

District 5 consists of Upper Haight, Japantown, the Fillmore, the Western Addition, Hayes Valley, and the Inner Sunset. This is a progressive stronghold, and moderates don’t see the light of day.[15]

District 6 consists of the Tenderloin, South of Market, and Mission Bay. The arrival of AT&T Park into Mission Bay hastened development, attracting young professionals with means to purchase prime waterfront views. The district has moderated substantially, though progressives are stills strong.[15]

City Hall, San Francisco
City Hall, San Francisco[17]

District 7 consists of West of Twin Peaks, Golden Gate Heights, and West Portal. It’s full of rich and upper-middle-class people. This district is one of the most conservative in the city.[15]

District 8 consists of Castro, Noe Valley, Glen Park, Diamond Heights and parts of the Mission District. D8 I home of the moderate supervisors since its creation.[15]

District 9 is home to Bernal Heights and the heart of the Mission district. This district forms a progressive stronghold of Caucasians and Latinos. The only district in the city with undisputed progressive credentials.[15]

District 10 consists of the neighbourhoods on the eastern side of the city. It is mostly African American and Chinese American. The district is one of the poorest and most crime-infested in the city. The district is parochial about the candidates they support.[15]

District 11 consists of the Excelsior, Outer Mission, Crocker-Amazon, Ingleside, and Ocean View neighbourhoods. Over half the district is Asian, but there is a significant Latino mark here. This district, like D1, tends to elect progressive supervisors.[15]

[edit] Political Bases

Political Strategy, San Francisco
Political Strategy, San Francisco[18]

The moderate strongholds in the city are D2 and D7, with D1 and D4 further to the left. The progressive strongholds are D5 and D9, with D6 and D8 serving as reliable players. D3, D10, and D11 are swing districts, being diverse ethnically and politically. Political strategy usually centers around two maps.

The map on the left is the “Conservative C” used by moderates to win citywide races and ballot propositions. It takes in the moderate bases of D1, D2, D4, and D7, and pulls in the swingy D3, D10, and D11.

The map on the right is the “Progressive Block” used by progressives to win races. It takes in the progressive bases of D5, D6, D8 and D9, along with the swingy D3, D10, and D11.[15]

[edit] Population

The People of San Francisco
The People of San Francisco[19]

The population of San Francisco is predicted using population estimates, which is the calculated number of people living in an area as of a specific point in time. [20] It is calculated using a component of change model that includes information regarding natural increases such as births and deaths, and the net migration that has occurred in the area since the latest census.[20] As of 2013, there was approximately 837, 442[21] people living within the city limits of San Francisco, and it is predicted to reach a population of 1,000,000 by the year 2032.[22]

[edit] Population Density

Population density is the measurement of the number of people per given unit of land.[4] As of 2010, San Francisco had a population density of 17,179.2 people per square mile,[23] which makes it the second highest densely populated city in the United States, after New York, New York. Population density assumes an even distribution of the population throughout the designated area, however it is not always evenly spread out, particularly in San Francisco. The average person per household as of 2012 is 2.31.[21]

[edit] Population Composition

Population composition can be defined as the structure of a population “in terms of age, sex, and other properties such as marital status and education.”[4] In San Francisco, 54.3% of the population is White alone, 6% is Black of African America, 34.4% is Asian alone, and 15.3% is Hispanic or Latino.[21] Males make up 50.7% of the population, where as females makes up 49.3% of the population as of 2010.[24] The median age of the population in San Francisco is 38.5 as 73% of the population is between the ages of 18 and 64, 13.6% is 65 years and over, and 13.4% of the population is 17 years and under.[24]

Life Expectancy by Sex, 2000-2007
Life Expectancy by Sex, 2000-2007[25]

[edit] Life Expectancy

Life expectancy is the number of years, on average, someone can be expected to live for.[4] As of 2010, San Francisco’s life expectancy was high compared to the rest of the United States.[26] The gap between the sexes is approximately 5 years, and San Francisco women can be expected to live 3.2 years longer than all of US women, while San Francisco men can be expected to live 2.6 years longer than all US men.[26] Approximately 1/3 of deaths occur in the 2.3% of the population aged 85 and older, while 59% of deaths occur in the 7.3% of the population aged 75 and older.[26]

[edit] Migration

Migration is the relocation of an individual, household, or larger group which is intended to be permanent.[4] Migration not only changes the people who are relocating, but it also changes the places that they are relocating to as it can affect population and population composition. In the United States, there is a lot of internal migration, along with high immigration rates from other countries.

Moving to San Francisco
Moving to San Francisco [27]

[edit] Immigration

Immigration can be defined as “the act of migrating to a new country.”[4] Immigration adds to the total population of a country, and it only can be classified under the term immigration if the individual relocates to a new country, otherwise it is simply migration. In 2009, the immigrant population in the United States was 38,516,234, or 12.5% of the total population, and it increases at a rate of about 1 million per year.[28] California, which is the state in which San Francisco is located, has the highest number of immigrants in all of the United States, followed by New York, Texas, Florida, and New Jersey.[28] Although San Francisco County is not one of the top locations of immigration, some of the surrounding counties contain a higher immigration population.[28]

[edit] Internal Migration

Internal migration is migration that occurs within the borders of a single country.[4] In the United States, some of the core area’s of the country’s metropolitan areas were experiencing major net domestic migration loss between the years of 2000-2004[29] San Francisco was among the top cities that were experiencing the largest core percentage loss.[29] This means that people were leaving San Francisco, however not many people were migrating to the city which impacted the domestic migration each year.

[edit] Social Geography

Street View
Street View [30]

Social geography is more than social class and the interaction of people, it is the way the place influences the people and how they act because of it. It is the structure of social class in relations to what people live in the particular place and the identity it forms. Factors the help determine social relations are ideas such as race, gender, sexual orientation, age, class, and power relations.[4]

[edit] Social Class

The social classes in San Francisco consists of lower social class and upper social class with a rapidly disappearing middle class. From 2002 to 2006 the households that had an annual income of $150,000 to $199,999 grew 52.2% and households with an annual income more than $200,000 increased 40.1 percent. With income levels of 149,999 or less dropping 15.7% in total. The increasing wealth of households is creating a larger demand for housing pricing. The social toll this creates is that it forces middle class citizens to go elsewhere. “The less you make, the more likely you are to leave the city or not move here in the first place” is the stigma around San Francisco [31]. The upper social class are slowly being seen as the power group in this dynamic, creating a city that is catered towards them, forcing the other classes to become vulnerable in their place.[4]

Homelessness in San Francisco
Homelessness in San Francisco [32]

The city is catering towards the upper class which sways new families from coming to live in San Francisco. Within one decade the School District of San Francisco in total lost about 800 students each year [31]. The decrease in youth creates a different dynamic in the city. The sense of place changes and not only caters towards the upper class but caters towards the elder population making it less appealing for young people.

[edit] Homelessness

The homeless population as of 2010 accounts for 6,500 living on the street and a total 7,000 people living in city-funded housing. The increase in people on the streets and poverty levels impedes tourism in San Francisco. With the locals as well as visitors complaining about the panhandling on the streets and the homelessness [33]. San Francisco depends on tourism for their local economy [13] and homelessness plays a role in the identity of the place which may factor the appeal of tourism.

[edit] Cultural Geography

Cable Cars, San Francisco
Cable Cars, San Francisco[34]

The culture of a place is defined by what it is made of. Defined by the people who live there, the landscape in the area and the traditions it entails. Culture is a complex, a way of life and is distinct to each place.[4] Culture is perceived by the people who are in it and the people who view it.

[edit] Cultural Landscape

Buildings, the environment and structures that are iconic to a certain region help to create the landscape of that place, the imprint the people of that place create with the different landscapes is what creates the cultural landscape.[4] Common structures and places that San Francisco is know for are the Golden Gate Bridge, Castro Street, Alcatraz, the Fishermans Wharf and the Painted Ladies housing.[13] San Fransisco is also known for the transportation ways of Street/Cable Cars.

Castro Street, San Francisco
Castro Street, San Francisco[35]

Castro Street
San Fransisco is known for its contribution to the LGBT movement. Also being an early supportive of the Pride Parades, 2014 marking the 44th annual San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade.[36] San Francisco is also the home of the iconic Rainbow flag that is used at many pride events around the world.[13] Castro street in San Francisco is known to be a LGBT community in a community. Castro street is also an important tourism destination creating a vibrant destination.[37] Castro Street adds to the sexual diversity that creates the culture of San Fransisco.

Fishermans Wharf
The famous Fisherman’s Wharf is a tourist attraction and a neighbourhood. History pertaining to the Wharf began in the days of the Gold Rush and continues to this day, bringing in the fishing fleets.[38] Being a popular tourist attraction there are many tours, shops and restaurants to be found. The harbour front entailing income and a home.

[edit] Sports

San Fransisco is home to the baseball team the San Fransisco Giants and the football team San Francisco 49ers. The Giants originally started in 1880 in New York but moved to San Fransisco in 1957.[39] They have won a total of 7 World Series titles,[40] and being the team with the most game wins of all time.[39] The 49ers have won a total of five Super Bowls and have been around since the 1940’s.[39]

St. Ignatius Church
St. Ignatius Church [41]

[edit] Language and Religion

San Francisco is one of the countries top linguistically diverse cities speaking a total of 112 languages. English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog and Vietnamese are the five most commonly spoken languages, English being the official language.[42] Compared to the national average of 49% of the population being affiliated with a religion, San Francisco ranks below average, at 35%. There is a substantial chunk of the population that is Jewish or have Eastern Religion, but the main religions affiliation is Roman Catholic Church.[40] The populate church being the St. Ignatius Church.[13]

City Skyline, San Francisco
City Skyline, San Francisco[43]

[edit] References

  1. City of San Francisco [Picture]. (2014). Retrieved November 30, 2014, from:
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 San Francisco(2014). San Francisco: Prehistory and Founding. San Francisco. Accessed December 8, 2014 from:
  3. 3.0 3.1 (2014). San Francisco History. Accessed December 8, 2014 from:
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 Fouberg, E., H., Murphy, A., B., De Blij, H., J, & Nash, C., J. (2012). Human Geography: People, Place and Culture (Canadian Edition). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley and Sons.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 HSBC (2014). Trade in the Bay Area: Investment and Global Financial Flows. Retrieved from:
  6. Walker, R. (1996). Another round of globalization in San Francisco. Urban Geography, 17(1), 60-94.
  7. Port of San Francisco [Picture]. (2014). Retrieved November 30, 2014, from:
  8. City & County of San Francisco (2014). Foreign Trade Zone #3. Retrieved from:
  9. 9.0 9.1 City Data (2009). San Francisco: Economy. Retrieved from:
  10. Pacific Coast Stock Exchange [Picture]. (2014). Retrieved November 30, 2014, from:
  11. Alcatraz Island [Picture]. (2014). Retrieved November 30, 2014, from:
  12. Waters, R. (2009). Biotech Jobs Germinate as San Francisco Diversifies Economy. Bloomberg.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 San Francisco Travel (2014). Visitor Industry Statistics. Retrieved from:
  14. World Port Source (2014). Port of San Francisco. Retrieved from:
  15. 15.00 15.01 15.02 15.03 15.04 15.05 15.06 15.07 15.08 15.09 15.10 15.11 15.12 Kuryk, H. (2012). A crash course in San Francisco politics. Retrieved from:
  16. Political Districts [Picture]. (2012). Retrieved December 8, 2014, from:
  17. City Hall [Picture]. (2014). Retrieved December 8, 2014, from:
  18. Political Strategy [Picture]. (2012). Retrieved December 8, 2014, from:
  19. Well, Look At Us [Picture]. (2014). Retrieved December 3, 2014 from:
  20. 20.0 20.1 Census Bureau (2013). Population Estimates Terms and Definitions. The United States Census Bureau. Accessed December 2, 2014 from:
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Census Bureau (2014). State and Country Quick Facts: San Francisco County, California. The United States Census Bureau. Accessed December 2, 2014 from:
  22. Schreiber, Dan (2013). San Francisco at 1 million: City’s population is booming once again. The Examiner. Accessed December 2, 2014 from:
  23. Maciag, Mike (2013). Mapping the Nation’s Most Densely Populated Cities. Governing. Accessed December 2, 2014 from:
  24. 24.0 24.1 Bay Area Census (2012) San Francisco City and County. Bay Area Census. Accessed December 3, 2014 from:
  25. Life Expectancy Chart [Picture]. (2007). Retrieved December 3, 2014 from:
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Sfhip (2014). 2010 Community Health Assessment Mortality Data Key Findings. San Francisco Health Improvement Plan. Accessed December 3, 2014 from:
  27. Moving to San Francisco [Picture]. (2013). Retrieved December 3, 2014 from:
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 MPI (2014). Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States. Migration Information Source. Accessed December 5, 2014 from:
  29. 29.0 29.1 Wendell Cox (2006). U.S. Census Domestic Migration Data Reveals Heavy Core Area Losses: Exodus to the Suburbs and Beyond Continues. Demographia. Accessed December 3, 2014 from:
  30. Street View [Picture]. (2013). Retrieved December 7, 2014 from
  31. 31.0 31.1 Temple, J. (2008, June 22). Exodus of S.F.'s middle class. SF Gate. Retrieved from
  32. Homelessness in San Francisco [Picture]. (2011). Retrieved December 7, 2014 from
  33. Matier, P., Ross, A. (2012, September 27). Homeless problem lingers as S.F. spends millions. SF Gate. Retrieved from
  34. Cable Cars [Picture]. (2013). Retrieved December 8, 2014 from:
  35. Castro Street [Picture]. (2014). Retrieved December 8, 2014 from:
  36. San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration Committee. (2012). History of Pride. San Francisco Pride. Retrieved from:
  37. Timberlake, S. (2014). San Francisco: The Castro. Sf Gate. Retrieved from
  38. Fisherman's Wharf Merchants Association. (2014). San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf. Retrieved from:
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 San Francisco. (2014). San Francisco Bay Area Sports. San Retrieved from
  40. 40.0 40.1 World Population Statistics. (2013). San Francisco Population 2013. Retrieved from:
  41. St. Ignatius Church [Picture]. (2012). Retrieved December 7, 2014 from
  42. Hendricks, T. (2005, March 14). BAY AREA / Report: 112 languages spoken in diverse region. SF Gate. Retrieved from
  43. San Francisco City Skyline [Picture]. (2014). Retrieved November 30, 2014, from:
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