California Interactive Map Shows How Your Oakland Neighborhood Has Changed

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When the 2020 census data was released in August, we learned that Oakland had gained 50,000 residents over the past 10 years, mostly Hispanic and white. The black population continued to decline. During this time, 9,000 housing units were added and the number of vacant units decreased.

But every neighborhood in Oakland has experienced these changes differently, and a new interactive map made by Berkeley resident Darrell Owens lets you zoom in to any census tract and see localized statistics. The map covers the entire state of California.

“My intentions here were for people to see how their cities and neighborhoods have changed over the past 10 years,” Owens said. “People like to guess these things, but with the census you get real answers, and we only get an actual count once every 10 years.”

Owens grew up in Oakland and Berkeley and works as a political analyst at California YIMBY, a group that advocates for more housing. Tinkering with census data is a “personal hobby,” Owens said, and he’s made the map at his own pace, not as part of his job.

The Oaklandside did not independently verify all of the data included in the map, but the items we crossed with the census data were correct. Some of the major changes visualized on the map, like the addition of several thousand new housing units in downtown and Uptown Oakland, or the growth of the city’s Latin American population, particularly in the deep east. Oakland, have also been documented in other reports.

To use the map, switch between the different data categories (“Pacific Islander”, “vacant units”) in the drop-down menu under “Subject” in the upper right corner. Then hover your mouse over a census tract to see how that category has changed since 2010.

Take Census Tract 4096, better known as the Deep East Oakland Ward in Elmhurst, near the San Leandro border. The area now of 5,777 residents gained 714 people between 2010 and 2020, reflecting city-wide population growth. The Hispanic population grew by a third, adding 948, while the black population declined by 370 people or 22%.

Despite the increase of 714 people, the Elmhurst area saw an increase of just 24 new housing units. Some of those people moved into the 99 units that went from vacant to occupied, according to census data, but the disparity between population growth and housing growth likely points to widespread overcrowding in the neighborhood.

Use the map to see how many homes have been built or lost (due to fire or demolition, for example) in each plot. Credit: Darrell Owens / Mapbox

Other neighborhoods have resisted the trends, such as a section delimited by 23rd and Frutivale avenues, which lost 124 inhabitants. If you zoom out to see the entire color-coded map of Oakland, you can see how population, demographic, and housing changes have been distributed throughout the city.

City staff and policymakers can also view the map, Owens said. Cities like Oakland are preparing to renew their general housing plans.

“It brings a lot of clarity on development policy, gentrification and diversity,” he said.

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