About six years ago, I moved to San Francisco — right as the current startup boom kicked off.
Those six years have seen a lot of change in the city, sparking tensions between longtime San Francisco residents and the tech industry.
Those tensions trace their roots back to the San Francisco Bay Area’s housing crisis, where people are going to ridiculous lengths to find an affordable place to live, including turning to boats, vans, and even cardboard boxes.
The thing is, San Francisco’s housing woes were here before the tech industry rose to prominence here, and they’ll be here even if the tech industry withers. And you can blame them on decisions made back in the 1950s and 1960s.
San Francisco is the second-densest city in the US after New York City, with more than 870,000 people packed into about 47 square miles, giving you about 18,580 people per square mile.
That density, combined with continuous influx of people into San Francisco in recent decades, has led to an epic housing crisis. In 2017, the median house price in San Francisco was over five times higher than the median price nationwide.
High home prices, plus high population density, plus low availability has led to San Francisco becoming the most expensive place in the country to rent an apartment.