Aug 14, 2023 - News

Forecast predicts 25K fewer people in San Francisco by 2060

People walk in Hayes Valley in 2022. Photo: Samantha Laurey/AFP via Getty Images

San Francisco is not expected to recover from its pandemic-related population losses through at least 2060, according to a new state forecast.

Why it matters: The past few years have been exceptionally turbulent for population trends, with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting birth and death rates, interstate and international migration, and more.

What's happening: A recent forecast from the state Department of Finance anticipates San Francisco's population will remain stagnant through 2026, due to an aging population and fewer pregnancies, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

  • The department predicts San Francisco will have a population of around 845,000 people in 2060, 2.9% below the city's 2020 population of about 870,000 people.

What they're saying: "It's going to be hard to get back to those levels just because we're continuing the demographic trends," Andres Gallardo, a Department of Finance demographer, told the Chronicle. "We see low births. We see low migration."

Meanwhile, other counties in the Bay Area are projected to grow through 2060.

  • Alameda County's population, for example, is expected to increase by 18% between 2020 and 2060, while Contra Costa is projected to grow 24%.

Between the lines: In San Francisco, the population decline from 2020 was likely at least partly fueled by tech workers newly unshackled from their offices in the remote work era, combined with high housing costs in the area.

  • "The shift to remote work has led to a slower recovery in our downtown core, but we are confident the area will continue to bounce back," Lori Lincoln, a spokesperson with the San Francisco Travel Association, told Axios via email earlier this week.

What to watch: San Francisco has begun implementing its plan to build 82,000 new homes over the next eight years, more than half of which must be considered affordable.


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