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San Francisco on verge of becoming majority-minority city

Pedestrians walk along Mission Street in San Francisco. | Noah Berger/The Standard

San Francisco became more racially diverse during the pandemic and is close to becoming a minority-majority city, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau released Thursday.

The city made national news during the first year of the pandemic when it lost the largest share of residents of any major U.S. city. But that decrease wasn’t distributed evenly across racial groups. 

White people made up about 51% of San Francisco’s population in July 2022, the data shows. That’s down from 53% in 2019, continuing a decadelong slide. In 2010, about 55% of city residents were white.

Meanwhile, the share of Asian people in San Francisco continued growing in recent years. Around 37% of residents were Asian in July 2022, according to the data. That’s up from 36% in 2019, and a major bump from 34% in 2010.

The portion of Black San Francisco residents climbed slightly from 2019 to 2022—reversing a yearslong decline—though Black people still make up less than 6% of the city’s population, the data shows.

About 128,000 Hispanic people lived in San Francisco in July 2022, according to the data. That puts the city’s Hispanic population just shy of 16% of residents, which has been a consistent rate for more than a decade.

The U.S. Census Bureau considers “Hispanic” and “Latino” identity to be an ethnicity, not a race, which is why it is counted separately from other racial groups.

Thursday’s data release comes on the heels of a May data drop from the Census Bureau that showed that San Francisco saw a far more modest population contraction from July 2021 to July 2022 than the rapid decline it experienced in the first year of the pandemic.

San Francisco had about 808,000 residents in July 2022, the data shows. That included about 411,000 white people, 310,000 Asian people, 46,000 Black people, 40,000 multiracial people, 6,000 Native American people and 3,700 Pacific Islanders.

Noah Baustin can be reached at