The data is in and it’s true, the grass is not greener in the ‘burbs, and yet another reason to get thee to the city. “A new report released today by the ULI Terwilliger Center for Workforce Housing finds that the average Bay Area household spends more than $41,000 a year – nearly 60 percent of their income – on transportation and housing costs alone.” Are you kidding!?
Our simple math: living in the city = less time and money spent in transit. But if you must get down to details, check out the Terwilliger Housing & Transportation Costs Calculator, which we used to get some basic data in the image below. It’s pretty slick and definitely good ammunition to put in front of your boss when you ask to “work” out of the house or closer to home.
-“Housing that appears affordable based solely on housing costs may not be truly affordable when it is located far from transit, jobs and services,” said Cisneros. “[The] report underscores the importance of broadening the understanding of housing affordability challenges to also include transportation costs, time and the environmental impacts of commuting.”
-[The report, Bay Area Burden] provides a comprehensive analysis of the “cost of place” in nine counties located throughout the San Francisco region by examining the costs and impacts of housing and transportation on residents, their neighborhoods and the environment. The report demonstrates the severity of the problem in the region and how the combined costs of housing and transportation are leaving San Francisco Bay Area workers with insufficient resources to meet their basic needs. The report finds that three fifths of all Bay Area residents live in communities that are unaffordable to households earning less than $80,000.
In terms of environmental impact (because it’s so hip to be green):
Bay Area Burden also demonstrates the unintended environmental impacts of [living in the 'burbs]. The successful implementation of greenhouse gas emission reduction plans in the transportation sector is particularly important in the Bay Area, where transportation accounts for 40.6 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 33 percent nationally. Bay Area Burden illustrates how densely developed urban counties like San Francisco are estimated to have substantially fewer vehicle miles traveled per household (19.4) and thus lower per-household carbon dioxide emissions (20.2) than do more rural and suburban counties such as Solano, where those figures are 50.4 and 49.4 respectively. Considering that less than one in ten (9.5%) Bay Area workers use public transit, compared with 26.5% in the New York Metropolitan area and 11.1% in the Washington DC region, these figures are even more compelling [and SAD!!!].
Obviously, we take this data and use it for supporting a healthy and vibrant life in the city of San Francisco, but it clearly extends waaaay beyond our boundaries to other world class cities (New York, Chicago, Singapore, Tokyo, Paris, London, etc.), so if you happen to live in one of those areas, we’d be happy to hear your thoughts (in the comments below).
We keep trying to tell you, the city is THE place to be, now and in the future, so get in while you still can…
-Bay Area Burden Housing/Transportation Report Key Findings
-Terwilliger Housing & Transportation Costs Calculator
[Props go out to the Center for Neighborhood Technology for providing much of the data, and the Center for Housing Policy who provided much of the analysis of that data for the report.]