The East Bay

San Francisco

Peninsula & South

Central Valley
Neighborhood Info
The San Francisco Bay Area         Neighborhood Info

The San Francisco Bay Area, colloquially known as the Bay Area or The Bay, is a geographically and ethnically diverse metropolitan region that surrounds the San Francisco Bay in Northern California. It encompasses the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. It also includes the smaller urban and rural areas of the North Bay. Overall, the Bay Area consists of nine counties, 101 cities, and comprises 7,000 square miles. 

The nine counties are Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma.  As of July 2006, the Bay Area is home to 7.2 million people, making it the fifth most populous metropolitan area in the United States, with the majority of the growth due to international immigration.  The Bay Area comprises many cities, towns, military bases, airports, and associated regional, state, and national parks sprawled over nine counties (sometimes defined as ten or eleven counties) and connected by a massive network of roads, highways, railroads, bridges, tunnels and commuter rail.

While San Jose is now the largest city in the Bay Area (having surpassed San Francisco in the 1990 census), for most of its history San Francisco was the most populous city. San Francisco remains the focal point and major cultural center in the region. The Bay Area has the highest median household and per capita income of any metropolitan area in the United States and is also one of the most politically liberal areas in the nation. 
The East Bay           Neighborhood Info

The East Bay is a sub-region of the San Francisco Bay Area and is comprised of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. It lies on the eastern shores of the San Francisco Bay and San Pablo Bay and is generally considered to include not just the shorefront cities but the nearby inland valleys located on the east side of the Berkeley Hills.

San Francisco Bay's eastern shore was once known as "Contra Costa" (literally "opposite coast"), a name now used for and exclusively associated with Contra Costa County, which occupies the East Bay shoreline's northern quarter and extensive inland areas, amounting to about half of the land area, with the remainder in Alameda County.

Except for its mountains and hills which remain undeveloped and some farmland in eastern Contra Costa and Alameda Counties, the East Bay is highly urbanized. The East Bay shoreline is an urban corridor with several cities exceeding 100,000 residents, including, Oakland, Hayward, Fremont, Richmond, and Berkeley. In the inland valleys on the east side of the Berkeley Hills, the land is fairly well developed, but there are areas which are still rapidly growing, particularly on the eastern fringe of Contra Costa county and the Tri-Valley area. In the inland valleys, the housing stock tends to be more suburban, the population density less and the cities smaller. The only cities exceeding 100,000 residents in the inland valleys are Antioch and Concord.

Upper end homes in the east bay can be found in each city.  Cities like Alamo, Danville, and Lafayette tend to feature the most custom, desirable homes in the Easy Bay.  San Ramon features a large new development known as Windemere where the majority of the newer subdivisions can be found. 

The East Bay is an economically well-developed area offering many employment opportunities. The largest employers are:

1. University of California, Berkeley with approximately 20,000 employees
2. AT&T with around 11,000 employees
3. The U.S. Postal Service with around 10,000 employees
4. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory with approximately 8,750 employees
5. Chevron Corp. with 8,730 employees
6. The county of Contra Costa County by offering 8,416 jobs
7. Safeway with 7,922 employees
8. Bank of America with 7,081 employees
9. PG&E employing roughly 5,200 people
10. New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI) about 5,100 employees
11. Kaiser Permanente with 4,730 employees
12. Lucky Stores with 4,631 employees
13. Bio-Rad Laboratories with 4,300 employees
14. Wells Fargo that has around 4,000 people working for them in the East Bay
15. Mount Diablo Unified School District with 3,700 employees
16. West Contra Costa Unified School District with 3,360 employees
17. John Muir Medical Center with 3,023

Other companies include Pixar, Longs Drugs and Contra Costa Newspapers all of which have their headquarters in the East Bay.

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San Francisco           Neighborhood Info

The City and County of San Francisco is the 4th most populous city in California and the 14th most populous city in the United States, with a 2006 estimated population of 744,041.  One of the most densely populated major cities in the U.S., San Francisco is part of the much larger San Francisco Bay Area, which is home to approximately 7.2 million people. The city is located on the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, with the Pacific Ocean to the west, the San Francisco Bay to the east, and the Golden Gate to the north.

In 1776, the Spanish settled the tip of the peninsula, establishing a fort at the Golden Gate and a mission named for Francis of Assisi. The California Gold Rush in 1848 propelled the city into a period of rapid growth. After being devastated by the 1906 earthquake and fire, San Francisco was quickly rebuilt.

San Francisco is a popular international tourist destination renowned for its steep rolling hills, an eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture, and a cosmopolitan population that is highly diverse both ethnically and in sexual orientation. While the climate includes chilly summer fog, the winters are mild. Famous landmarks include the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, the cable cars, Coit Tower, and Chinatown.

The historic center of San Francisco is the northeast quadrant of the city bordered by Market Street to the south. It is here that the Financial District is centered, with Union Square, the principal shopping and hotel district, nearby. Cable cars carry residents and tourists alike up steep inclines to the summit of Nob Hill, once the home of the city's business tycoons, and down to Fisherman's Wharf, a tourist area featuring Dungeness crab from a still-active fishing industry. Also in this quadrant are Russian Hill, a residential neighborhood with the famously crooked Lombard Street, North Beach, the city's version of Little Italy, and Telegraph Hill, which features Coit Tower. Nearby is San Francisco's Chinatown, established in the 1860s. The Tenderloin is often seen as the crime-infested underbelly of the city.

The Mission District is predominantly working-class and populated by immigrants from Mexico and Central America, but is also gentrifying. Haight-Ashbury, famously associated with 1960s hippie culture, is now heavily gentrified, although it still retains some bohemian character. The Castro is the center of gay life in the city.

The city's Japantown district suffered when its Japanese American residents were forcibly removed and interned during World War II. The nearby Western Addition became established with a large African American population at the same time. The "Painted Ladies," a row of well-restored Victorian homes, stand alongside Alamo Square, and the mansions built by the San Francisco business elite in the wake of the 1906 earthquake can be found in Pacific Heights. The Marina to the north is a lively area with many young urban professionals.

The Richmond, the vast region north of Golden Gate Park that extends to the Pacific Ocean, today has a portion called "New Chinatown," but also attracts immigrants from other parts of Asia and Russia. South of Golden Gate Park lies the Sunset with an Asian majority population. The Richmond and the Sunset are largely middle class and, together, are known as The Avenues. Bayview-Hunter's Point in the southeast section of the city is one of the poorest neighborhoods and suffers from a high rate of crime, though the area has been the focus of plans for urban renewal. The other southern neighborhoods of the city are ethnically diverse and populated primarily with students and working-class San Franciscans.

The South of Market, once filled with decaying remnants of San Francisco's industrial past, has seen significant redevelopment. The locus of the dot-com boom during the late 1990s, by 2004 South of Market began to see skyscrapers and condominiums dot the area. Following the success of nearby South Beach, another neighborhood, Mission Bay, underwent redevelopment, anchored by a second campus of the University of California, San Francisco.

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The Peninsula & South Bay
Neighborhood Info

The area between the City and County of San Francisco and the South Bay is the San Francisco Peninsula, known locally as The Peninsula. This area consists of a series of small cities and suburban communities in San Mateo County and the northwestern part of Santa Clara County, as well as various towns along the Pacific coast, such as Pacifica and Half Moon Bay.

This area is extremely diverse, although it contains significant populations of affluent family households with the exception of East Palo Alto and some parts of Redwood City. Many of the cities and towns had originally been centers of rural life until the post-World War II era when large numbers of middle and upper class Bay area residents moved in and developed the small villages.

Since the 1980s the area has seen a large growth rate of middle and upper class families who have settled in cities like Palo Alto and Atherton as part of the technology boom of Silicon Valley.The Peninsula is also home to what used to be one of the deadliest cities in the United States, East Palo Alto. Many of these families are of foreign background and have significantly contributed to the diversity of the area.

The communities along the southern edge of the Bay are known as the South Bay, Santa Clara Valley, and Silicon Valley. Some Peninsula and East Bay towns are sometimes included in the latter. It includes the major city of San Jose, and its outlying neighbors, including the cities Morgan Hill, Gilroy, and the high-tech hubs of Santa Clara, Milpitas, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and Mountain View as well as many other suburbs like Los Altos, Saratoga, Campbell and Los Gatos. Generally, the South Bay is Santa Clara County, but the northwest portion of the county (Palo Alto and Mountain View) is often considered part of the Peninsula instead. Home of Silicon Valley, the South Bay was also an early development of working and middle class families who left the coastal cities of the Eastern Bay south of Oakland and Alameda. Large numbers of families during the post-World War era also moved there for the aerospace industry. This area has long been developed and expanded and is often featured as a stereotype of the typical California suburban city. Today, the growth continues, primarily fueled by technology and cheap immigrant workers. The result has been a huge increase in the value of property forcing many middle class families out of the area or into nascent ghettos in older sections of the region.

Befitting of the title Silicon Valley, this region is home to a vast number of technology sector giants. Some notable tech companies headquartered in the South Bay are Intel, AMD, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Google, eBay,and Yahoo!. As a consequence of the rapid growth of these and other companies, the South Bay has gained increasing political and economic influence both within California and throughout the world.

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The Central Valley    Neighborhood Info

The Central Valley is a large, flat valley that dominates the central portion of California. It is home to many of California's most productive agricultural efforts. The valley stretches nearly 400 miles (600 km) from north to south. Its northern half is referred to as the Sacramento Valley, and its southern half as the San Joaquin Valley. The two halves are joined by the shared delta of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, a large expanse of interconnected canals, streambeds, sloughs, marshes and peat islands.

Bounded by the Cascade Range to the north, the Sierra Nevada to the east, the Tehachapi Mountains to the south, and the Coast Ranges and San Francisco Bay to the west, the valley is a vast agricultural region drained by the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers.

These counties are commonly associated with the Central Valley:

* North Sacramento Valley (Shasta, Tehama, Glenn, Butte, Colusa)
* Sacramento Metro (Sacramento, El Dorado, Sutter, Yuba, Yolo, Placer)
* North San Joaquin (San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced)
* South San Joaquin (Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Kern)

About 6.5 million people live in the Central Valley today and it is the fastest growing region in California. There are 10 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) in the central valley. Below, they are listed by (MSA) population.

* Sacramento Metropolitan Area (2,042,283)
* Fresno Metropolitan Area (1,002,284)
* Bakersfield Metropolitan Area (756,825)
* Stockton Metropolitan Area (664,116)
* Modesto Metropolitan (505,505)
* Visalia Metropolitan Area (410,874)
* Merced Metropolitan Area (241,706)
* Chico Metropolitan Area (214,185)
* Redding Metropolitan Area (179,904)
* Yuba City Metropolitan Area (165,080)

Agriculture remains the primary industry in the Central Valley. The Central Valley is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world. It is commonly referred to as the "fruit basket of the world." A notable exception has been the Sacramento region, where the large and stable workforce of government employees helped steer the economy away from agriculture. Despite state hiring cutbacks and the closure of several military bases, the Sacramento economy has continued to expand and diversify and now more closely resembles that of the nearby San Francisco Bay Area. Primary sources of population growth are people migrating from the San Francisco Bay Area seeking lower housing costs, as well as immigration from Asia, Central America, Mexico, Ukraine and the rest of the former Soviet Union.

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Neighborhood Information

"How do I know if I'm moving into the right neighborhood?" This is likely one of the biggest unknowns when considering buying a home and can be the most challenging to answer. Consumers today often want to research neighborhoods on their own before narrowing their search with a realtor, but finding reliable and current information can be tricky and time consuming.

The Duggan Group can provide you with all the information you might need on a city or even a specific neighborhood within that city. We can help you find the neighborhood that fits your lifestyle, whether that be family-oriented, executive, young/single/upwardedly-mobile, Spanish speaking, urban-sophisticates, college students, or hip/trendy. We have access to all of the latest demographic, behavioral, and lifestyle data that can help you make an educated decision.

These reports provide school ratings and test scores for nearly every public school in the Bay Area, crime rate estimates and your chances of becoming a victim of crime for any neighborhood in the Bay Area, and even real estate appreciation rates for most every neighborhood . These add important characteristics in choosing a neighborhood, especially for relocation purposes where knowledge - and other people's opinions of the neighborhoods - are often limited. These are sources of stress for people relocating because they are the most important aspects of the move to the whole family and require the most legwork in the limited amount of time you have to actually be in the relocation destination.

Here are a few sample reports that we can provide on a specific neighborhood of your choice:

Danville  San Ramon  San Francisco  San Carlos

To request this report on a neighborhood that you are interested in and/or get our personal opinion on the area(s) you are considering, please click on the link below to send us an email.

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