Oakland is the largest city and the county seat of Alameda County, California, United States. A major West Coast port city, Oakland is the largest city in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, the third largest city overall in the San Francisco Bay Area, the eighth most populated city in California, and the 45th largest city in the United States. With a population of 428,827 as of 2018, it serves as a trade center for the San Francisco Bay Area; its Port of Oakland is the busiest port in the San Francisco Bay, the entirety of Northern California, and the fifth busiest in the United States of America. An act to incorporate the city was passed on May 4, 1852, and incorporation was later approved on March 25, 1854, which officially made Oakland a city. Oakland is a charter city.
Oakland is in the eastern region of the San Francisco Bay. In 1991 the City Hall tower was at 37°48′19″N 122°16′21″W / 37.805302°N 122.272539°W / 37.805302; -122.272539 (NAD83). (The building still exists, but like the rest of the Bay Area, it has shifted northwest perhaps 0.6 meters in the last twenty years.)
The United States Census Bureau says the city’s total area is 78.0 square miles (202 km), including 55.8 square miles (145 km) of land and 22.2 square miles (57 km) (28.48 percent) of water.
Oakland’s highest point is near Grizzly Peak Blvd, east of Berkeley, just over 1,760 feet (540 m) above sea level at about 37°52′43″N 122°13′27″W / 37.8786°N 122.2241°W / 37.8786; -122.2241. Oakland has 19 miles (31 km) of shoreline, but Radio Beach is the only beach in Oakland.
Oaklanders refer to their city’s terrain as “the flatlands” and “the hills”. Until recent waves of gentrification, these terms also symbolized Oakland’s deep economic divide, with “the hills” being more affluent communities. About two-thirds of Oakland lies in the flat plain of the East Bay, with one-third rising into the foothills and hills of the East Bay range.
Ruptures along the nearby San Andreas Fault caused severe earth movement in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1906 and 1989. San Andreas quakes induces creep (movement occurring on earthquake faults) in the Hayward fault, which runs directly through Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose and other Bay Area cities.
The 2010 United States Census reported Oakland had a population of 390,724. The population density was 5,009.2 inhabitants per square mile (1,934.1/km). The racial makeup of Oakland was 134,925 (34.5%) White (non-Hispanic White 25.9%), 129,471 (28.0%) African American, 3,040 (0.8%) Native American, 65,811 (16.8%) Asian (8.7% Chinese, 2.2% Vietnamese, 1.6% Filipino, 0.7% Cambodian, 0.7% Laotian, 0.6% Korean, 0.5% Japanese, 0.5% Indian, 0.1% Mongolian), 2,222 (0.6%) Pacific Islander (0.3% Tongan), 53,378 (13.7%) from other races, and 21,877 (5.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 99,068 persons (25.4%). 18.1% of the population were of Mexican descent, 1.9% Salvadoran, 1.3% Guatemalan, and 0.7% Puerto Rican.
The greater Oakland area has the fifth largest cluster of “elite zip codes” ranked by the number of households with the highest combination of income and education. 37.9% of residents over 25 years of age have bachelor’s degree or higher. Oakland ranked among the top cities with residents with bachelor’s degrees and graduate degrees per square mile.
Oakland ranks in the top 20 of American cities in median household income, with a 2012 value of US$51,863. In 2012, the median income for a household in the city was US$51,863 and the median income for a family was US$59,459. The mean income for a household was US$77,888 and the mean income for a family was US$90,948. Males had a median income of US$50,140 versus US$50,304 for females. The unemployment rate as of December 2013 was 9.7%.
In 2007 approximately 15.3 percent of families and 17.0 percent of the general population were below the poverty line, including 27.9 percent of those under age 18 and 13.1 percent of those age 65 or over. 0.7% of the population is homeless. Home ownership is 41% and 14% of rental units are subsidized.
As of the census of 2000, 19.4% of the population and 16.2% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 27.9% of those under the age of 18 and 13.1% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
The census reported 382,586 people (97.9% of the population) lived in households, 5,675 (1.5%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 2,463 (0.6%) were institutionalized.
There were 153,791 households, out of which 44,762 (29.1%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 50,797 (33.0%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 24,122 (15.7%) had a female householder with no husband present, 8,799 (5.7%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 11,289 (7.3%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 3,442 (2.2%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 52,103 households (33.9%) were made up of individuals and 13,778 (9.0%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49. There were 83,718 families (54.4% of all households); the average family size was 3.27.
The population was spread out with 83,120 people (21.3%) under the age of 18, 36,272 people (9.3%) aged 18 to 24, 129,139 people (33.1%) aged 25 to 44, 98,634 people (25.2%) aged 45 to 64, and 43,559 people (11.1%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.2 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.8 males.
There were 169,710 housing units at an average density of 2,175.7 per square mile (840.0/km), of which 153,791 were occupied, of which 63,142 (41.1%) were owner-occupied, and 90,649 (58.9%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 3.0%; the rental vacancy rate was 8.5%. 166,662 people (42.7% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 215,924 people (55.3%) lived in rental housing units.
Oakland has consistently ranked as one of the most ethnically diverse major cities in the country. A 2019 analysis by WalletHub showed that Oakland was the most ethnoracially diverse city in the United States. The city’s formerly most populous ethnic group, whites, declined from 95.3% in 1940 to 32.5% by 1990, due to a combination of factors, including suburbanization. Oakland became a destination for African Americans in the Great Migration during and after World War II as they gained high-paying jobs in the defense industry. Blacks have formed a plurality in Oakland for many years, peaking in 1980 at about 47% of the population.
Oakland’s black population decreased by nearly 25 percent between 2000 and 2010. The city’s demographics have changed due to a combination of rising housing prices associated with gentrification and with blacks relocating to better housing in Bay Area suburbs or moving to the Southern United States in a reverse migration, where conditions are considered to have improved. This trends and cultural shifts have led to a decline among some of Oakland’s long standing black institutions, such as churches, businesses and nightclubs, which had developed during the growing years of the 1950s through 1970.
In the 2010 census African Americans maintained their status as Oakland’s single largest ethnic group, with 27% of the population, followed by non-Hispanic whites at 25.9%, and Hispanics of any race at 25.4%. Ethnic Asians constitute 17%, followed by smaller minority groups.
Many immigrants have settled in the city. Immigrants and others have marched by the thousands down Oakland’s International Boulevard in support of legal reforms benefiting undocumented immigrants.
An analysis by the Urban Institute of U.S. Census 2000 numbers showed Oakland had the third-highest concentration of gays and lesbians among the 50 largest U.S. cities, behind San Francisco and Seattle. Census data showed that among incorporated places that have at least 500 female couples, Oakland had the nation’s largest proportion. In the 2000 census, 2,650 lesbian couples identified as such in Oakland; one in every 41 Oakland couples identified as a same-sex female partnership.