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This chapter uses available data to establish the baseline population, employment, and housing conditions in the City of Berkeley, and uses this information to determine potential impacts of the Draft General Plan and outline appropriate mitigation measures. The City's Conditions, Trends and Issues report, ABAG Projections 2000 and >98, the California Department of Finance, input from City staff and other City publications are the major sources of data for this chapter. Setting information provided in Section 1 below has been focused to relate directly to and inform the evaluation and discussion of population, employment and housing impacts in Section 2, based on criteria of significance set forth in Section 2b.


1a Setting

a. Population.

(1) Population Trends.


(a) Regional Context. The population of the nine-county Bay Area was estimated to be 6.9 million in 2000Cas compared to 6.0 million in 1990, 5.2 million in 1980, and 4.6 million in 1970. The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) estimates the region's population to be 7.6 million in 2010, and to reach 8.0 million by 2020. In 1977, projected growth in the region was expected to occur mostly outside the central cities. This expectation still holds, unless significant changes occur in the region's land use and transportation patterns.


(b) Current Population and Population Projections. Berkeley's population has dropped 4 percent between 1970 and 2000, from 114,091 to 109,463. This drop mainly occurred between 1970 and 1980, in large part due to declining household size. Since 1990, the City's population has been rising. The City's population of 102,724 in 1990 rose to 109,463 in 2000, and is expected to rise slightly to 110,900 by the year 2020. ABAG projects only a slight increase in the City's population over the next 20 years, and expects that even with the addition of some new housing units the City's population will increase only a small amount because household sizes will continue to decline.


However, as described previously in Chapter III, Project Description, ABAG's recent Regional Housing Needs Allocation requires that the City add approximately 167 units per year. Therefore, the City estimates that, if these units are realized, the population in 2020 will be approximately 116,000 (refer to Chapter III, Project Description).


(2) Households and Household Size. In 2000, there are 44,030 households in Berkeley. The number of households is projected to increase to 44,930 by 2020, according to ABAG projections. The City has determined that, with the regional allocation, the number of households will increase to 45,130 by the year 2020., In the City of Berkeley, the 1990 average persons per household size was 2.10 (see Table IV.B-1), much lower than the countywide average of 2.59 persons per household. Generally, household sizes have more or less stabilized in Berkeley after declining from a high of 3.32 in 1970. Projected household size for the City of Berkeley through 2020 is 2.19.


(3) Income. A strong regional economy has generated in high household incomes in the Bay Area. The mean household income within the City of Berkeley was $53,400 in 1990, and mean household income for Berkeley in 2000 is about $60,300 an 11 percent increase in 10 years.

Table IV.B-1 







Total Population





Housing Units










Persons per Household





Owner-Occupied Units

(percent of total)





Mean Household Income ($1995)a,b





Median Home Pricea





Median Contract Renta





Total Jobs





Employed Residents





Jobs/Housing Ratio

(Total Jobs/Employed Residents)





a Dollar amounts are in constant 1995 dollars.

b Income is reported for the previous year, i.e., the 1970 Census reports 1969 incomes.

c ABAG, 2000.

d California Department of Finance, 2000.

e 2000 Housing Element Appendix.

f U.S. Census.

N/A ' Information not available.

Sources: U.S. Census, 1990 (corrected data); ABAG, 1998; ABAG 2000; Department of Finance, 2000; Andrew Thomas.


b. Employment.


1a Resident Labor Force. The civilian labor force includes those people who are employed (except in the armed forces), and those people who are unemployed, but considered to be actively looking for work. People who have never held a job, people who have stopped looking for work, and people who have been unemployed for a long period are considered not to be in the labor force. In 1990, 78 percent of Berkeley households (56,024 people) had some wage or salary income. In 2000, that number dropped to 54,500. Bay Area labor force participants comprise 66 percent of Berkeley residents who are 16 years of age and older.


2a Total Jobs. Berkeley's economy functions as a small part of the Bay Area economy, comprising only 2.1 percent of the Bay Area labor force. In 2000, the region had 6,930,600 people and 3,688,590 jobs. Regional economic performance is vital to Berkeley, since over 50 percent of employed residents of Berkeley work outside the City, and many Berkeley businesses depend on customers living outside the City limits. Citywide, in 1990 only 41.3 percent of Berkeley residents worked within Berkeley, while 28.9 percent worked in Oakland, Emeryville, or San Francisco, 13.6 percent had a variable work location and 16.1 percent worked in a city other than these four. By year 2000, the total number of jobs in Berkeley is estimated to be 76,160. The Bay Area's regional unemployment rate has consistently been 1 to 2 percent below the statewide average.


c. Housing. Berkeley's Housing Element recognizes adequate housing as a basic human right. However, the City of Berkeley faces constraints in its efforts to meet its housing goals. Existing residential zoning limits new housing development in existing neighborhoods and much of the remaining vacant land is environmentally constrained. Federal funding is limited and the Bay Area is suffering from a shortage of housing. The following section discusses existing housing conditions within the City of Berkeley, in terms of type of housing, value, and affordability.


1a Housing Stock. The City's housing stock was comprised of 45,735 units plus group quarters in 1990, including University-affiliated student housing. In 2000, the total number of units rose to 46,285. In 2000, single-family homes constituted 45 percent of all housing units, while another 21 percent are in small apartment buildings with two to four units and 35 percent are in larger apartment buildings. Just under half of all rental housing and most of the student housing is located within a few blocks of the University campus. During the last 20 years, the University has been the largest single housing producer within the City. A summary of housing stock is shown in Table IV.B-2.


Berkeley is generally built-out as a City with anti-demolition, anti-conversion and landmark preservation regulations which maintain the overall physical landscape of the City. Berkeley's population size is stable, but its economic and ethnic character is gradually changing in response to the tight Bay Area housing market and recent changes in City programs.


2a Housing Value/Rental Costs. Home prices in Berkeley have increased substantially faster than in the East Bay as a whole. In 1990, about 20 percent of Berkeley's renters could afford to buy a $100,000 home and less than 10 percent could afford a $150,000 home, and only if they have $15-20,000 for a down payment and incidental expenses.


In 1991 the Rent Stabilization Board approved a series of regulations allowing major rent increases. This change in rent control policy led to a 42 percent average increase in rents in 3 years from 1990 to 1993. The median two-bedroom rental was $449 in 1990, but by 1992 the median controlled rent on a two-bedroom apartment was $639. The median rent in 1998 was about $650.


During the 1980s and 1990s rents and home prices increased substantially faster than incomes. This trend accelerated when State legislation passed in 1995 mandated that rental units be decontrolled on vacancy. Rent increases in Berkeley since 1988 outstripped inflation. In 1988 the median rent citywide was $360. Adjusted for inflation, the citywide median rent increased by nearly one-half from 1988 to 1998.


(ai Rental Affordability. By 1992, the City estimated that at least 60 percent of Berkeley tenants were overpaying for rent (based on a standard of more than 30 percent of household income constituting overpayment). Prior to 1991, rent stabilization kept rents from increasing more rapidly than incomes, but after the resulting rent increases, many very low-income non-student households started paying over half of their income for rent. In 1999, about 55 percent of Berkeley's residents responding to a survey of renters in rent-controlled units were paying more than 30 percent of their household income for rent.


(bi Home Ownership Affordability. In 1990 the price of an average single-family detached home in the Berkeley area sample tracked by the Real Estate Research Council of Northern California was estimated at $320,000. This price was affordable to families making $90,000 a year and having at least $64,000 for a down payment and closing costs. Less than 10 percent of Berkeley households had such an income. As noted in Table IV.B-1, the median home price in Berkeley was estimated to be $455,000 in 2000.


Many long-time owners have moderate or low incomes, particularly those who bought prior to 1980 and paid much lower prices for their homes than the current market rates. As these owners sell, however, they must be replaced by people with higher incomes.


d. Jobs/Housing Balance. Jobs/housing balance is usually defined as a ratio of the number of jobs to the number of housing units in a given area, typically a city.


Although the term A jobs/housing@ balance is still often used, a more precise relationship is between jobs and the number of employed residents. The primary reason is that some households have no workers, while others have multiple workers. Jobs and housing are said to be balanced when there is an equal number of employed residents and jobs within a given area, leading to a ratio of approximately 1.0. An analysis of the jobs/housing balance in Berkeley based on ABAG projections through the year 2020 is shown in Table IV.B-3.


The prime advantage of jobs/housing balance in a city should be a reduction in commuting. Balancing jobs and housing is also intended to achieve a number of other related goals, including reducing traffic congestion on major freeways and arterials, improving regional air quality conditions, and enhancing a community's economic base.


A jobs/housing imbalance tends to push up rents and housing prices around employment centers, as local workers pay high prices to avoid longer commutes. Low-income workers can be displaced by this process and forced to commute farther. During the 1980s and 1990s, employment growth in Berkeley continued to increase much faster than housing production and the number of employed residents. Consequently, Berkeley had a jobs/housing imbalance, with a ratio of 1.17 in 1980 and 1.31 in 1990. A continued but greater imbalance with a jobs/housing ratio of 1.39 exists in 2000, and 1.37 in 2020, based on ABAG projections. This trend will further increase demand for housing in Berkeley. Jobs/housing balance is also now an important consideration in setting housing production and affordability goals. Impacts relative to jobs/housing balance and proposed policies in the Housing Element update are discussed below in Section 2, Impacts and Mitigation Measures.


e. Berkeley's Housing Programs.


(1a Housing Element. All cities and counties in California are required by State law to prepare and adopt a Housing Element of their General Plan which complies with State Law and guidelines issued by the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). Berkeley's most recent Housing Element was adopted by the City Council on July 24, 1990. The Housing Element is being updated as part of the current General Plan update.

Table IV.B-3 













Total Jobs





Employed Residents





Jobs/Housing Ratio






Sources: ABAG, 2000.


The Housing Element is the primary document which describes the City's objectives, policies, and programs regarding all aspects of housing. It analyzes the housing needs of all segments of the population using categories of very low-, low-, moderate- and above-moderate income. It also addresses the need of the homeless and the disabled. The goals of the 1990 Housing Element are similar to the objectives of the Draft General Plan Housing Element, which are intended to:


  1. Provide affordable housing in a range of prices that meet standards of quality.
  2. Maintain, improve, and utilize existing housing, and plan ahead to avoid a net loss in housing units due to major earthquakes.
  3. Expand the new housing supply in accordance with density and environmental standards.
  4. Provide special needs housing throughout the city to assure care of people with physical and/or mental disabilities. Also Berkeley must maintain its efforts to reduce homelessness through regional coordination.
  5. Foster a relationship with the University of California and other state institutions to create new housing and jointly address housing issues.
  6. Provide fair and accessible housing to all residents. Access to opportunities, necessary accommodations, financing and insurance and to sell, purchase, rent, or lease must all be provided.
  7. Promote regional cooperation on housing and related issues.
  8. Improve the public participation in housing and planning decisions.
  9. Maintain and update future Housing Element Revisions every five years and examine whether changes may be necessary in order to achieve General Plan goals.


One portion of the Housing Element designates specific sites for new residential development. Currently, the City uses a housing impact fee, established in Ordinance number 6179 and following a formula based on an estimate of the cost of subsidized housing, to ensure that non-residential development also increases housing supply. The City also has an inclusionary zoning ordinance to ensure that new housing production increases the low-income housing supply.


2a Fair Share Housing. The Housing Element has extensive legal requirements that make it much more detailed than any other element of the General Plan. ABAG projects housing need figures for the state-mandated time frame of the Housing Element period. The main obligation of the State law is that each city must designate sufficient land for relatively high-density development to permit, if the necessary funding is available, construction of enough housing units for very low-, low- and moderate-income households to meet the city's Afair share@ of such units. The California Department of Housing and Community Development will need to certify that the 2000 Housing Element meets those requirements.


ABAG set the City's fair share housing need for 1989 to 1995 at 514 units affordable to very low-income households, 291 units affordable to low-income housing units, 326 units available to moderate-income housing units and 583 units affordable-to above-moderate income housing units, for a total projected need of 1,714 housing units. Between 1990 and 2000, the City of Berkeley added 484 net units. As a result, the City had a shortage of 1,230 units. In June 2000, ABAG determined that from 1999 through 2006 the City of Berkeley should provide 354 units affordable to very low, 150 to low-income households, 310 units affordable to moderate-income households and 455 units affordable to above-moderate income households, for a total requirement of 721 units over the period (167 units per year).


3a City Housing Programs. The Berkeley Housing Department has many active programs to assist in construction of housing affordable to very low-, low-, and moderate-income households, and to decrease homelessness and the risk of homelessness and meet Afair-share@ housing needs. The City has the following housing programs. A more extensive description of City housing programs is included in the 2000 Draft Housing Element Appendix.


ai Housing Trust Fund. The City began operating its Housing Trust Fund in 1992 to provide financing to affordable housing development projects. By 1999, about 350 new and rehabilitated units had been completed and rented or sold to low income households at affordable prices.


bi Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance. The City's current Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance took effect in 1987. AInclusionary zoning@ means requiring in the zoning ordinance that new housing construction include a certain proportion of units that are to be rented or sold at prices affordable to low- or moderate-income households and individuals. Between 1987 and 1999, a total of 287 new apartment and condominium units were constructed under the City's Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance (without public subsidies). Of that total, 66 units were made available at reduced prices and restricted rents.


ci Section 8. The Berkeley Housing Authority administers the Section 8 housing assistance program (Section 8), which is the City's second largest housing affordability program. Section 8 is a federal housing program that provides a rent subsidy to allow very low-income households to rent existing housing. This program can assist about 1900 qualified households, although as of 1999, the program's current lease-up rate was only about 85 percent.


f. Draft General Plan Policies. The Draft General Plan contains policies related to Population, Employment and Housing in six of the nine General Plan elements, including Land Use; Transportation; Housing; Environmental Management; Economic Development and Employment; Safety; and Urban Design and Historic Preservation. All 50 policies of the Housing Element are relevant to the analysis in this section. These policies are not repeated here in order to make this document more streamlined, but for easy reference, a complete listing of Housing Element policies can be found in Appendix B of this EIR. Each relevant policy from the other five Draft General Plan elements is restated below for easy reference. In addition to the policies of the Housing Element, Draft General Plan policies related to Population, Employment and Housing include:

  • Policy LU-3. Require sensitively designed, thoughtfully planned infill development compatible with existing city character, neighboring land uses, and architectural scale and design.
  • Policy LU-4. Use design review and permit approval processes to enhance the character of Berkeley with regard to visual, esthetic, environmental, economic and social factors.
  • Policy LU-18. Implement the Downtown Plan and take actions to achieve the three goals of the Plan:

1. Express and enhance Berkeley's unique social and cultural character in the downtown;

2. Create an appealing and safe downtown environment, with a comfortable pedestrian orientation; and

3. Diversify, revitalize and promote the downtown economy.

  • Policy LU-30. Encourage affordable housing in Avenue Commercial areas.
  • Policy LU-33. Implement the South Berkeley Area Plan and take action to achieve the 55 goals of the Plan.


A. Encourage mixed use development (housing, community services, and commercial services) at the Ashby BART station parking lot.

  • Policy LU-35. Develop and foster close working relationships with the University of California Berkeley to ensure and facilitate land use decisions that are mutually beneficial to both the institution and the adjoining neighborhoods.
  • Policy LU-36. Minimize the negative impacts of the University population on adjacent neighborhoods and the City.
  • Policy LU-41. Ensure that all land use plans, development and expansion by public agencies are consistent with City laws, the City's General Plan and Zoning Ordinance, and the California Environmental Quality Act.
  • Policy T-15. Establish Berkeley residency as a preference for hiring, and encourage other public employers, institutions, and private employers to hire locally.
  • Policy T-16. Improve access by increasing proximity of residents to services, goods, and employment centers.
  • Policy T-40. Encourage consolidation of surface parking lots into structured parking facilities and redevelopment of surface lots with residential or commercial development where allowed by zoning.
  • Policy S-16B. Consider changes to existing residential zoning density standards in high risk, residential areas, such as the Hill Fire Area (See Evacuation Map) to reduce the vulnerability of these areas to future disasters.


B. Consider restrictions on development of Second Units in the Hill Fire area as a means to prevent additional population density and additional cars in area, which can restrict evacuation and emergency vehicle access.

  • Policy S-17. Maintain existing programs such as the Residential Seismic Retrofitting Incentive Program to facilitate retrofit of potentially hazardous structures.
  • Policy ED-1. Increase the number of jobs that go to Berkeley citizens by coordinating economic development efforts with employment placement.
  • Policy ED-4. Provide programs and services to assist neighborhood commercial districts.


2. Impacts and Mitigation Measures


a. Criteria of Significance. The proposed project would have a significant effect on population, employment, and housing if it would:

  • Result in substantial population or housing growth within the City;
  • Substantially alter the location, distribution, or density of the population of the City;
  • Displace existing housing, especially affordable housing;
  • Hinder the accomplishment of Afair share@ housing needs;
  • Create a substantial demand for additional housing; or
  • Create a substantial jobs/housing imbalance.


b. Impacts and Mitigation Measures. Less-than-significant population, employment and housing impacts are discussed first, followed by significant impacts.


1a Less-than-Significant Population, Employment and Housing Impacts. No revisions to Draft General Plan policies are suggested to ensure minimization of population, employment and housing impacts in the City of Berkeley.


Implementation of Policies H-1 through H-50, LU-3, LU-4, LU-18, LU-30, LU-33, LU-35, LU-36, LU-41, T-15, T-16, T-40, ED-1 and ED-4 could have effects related to population, employment and housing, however they would not be expected to result in significant adverse physical environmental impacts. Policies LU-15 and T-19 are discussed in Section A, Land Use. Policy H-2 which calls for the construction of student housing by the University of California would result in a beneficial effect on housing conditions in the City. The policies of the Draft General Plan would not displace existing housing or hinder the accomplishment of Afair share@ housing needs.


As described above and in POP-1, the Draft General Plan proposes to increase housing supply, while holding job growth constant. If achieved, it may be expected that the net result of the Draft General Plan will be a better jobs/housing balance than currently exists in Berkeley.


Impact POP-1: Policies H-15, H-16, H-31, LU-18, LU-30 are designed to meet ABAG's required fair share projections, and may also result in an increase in density in some areas of the City. (LTS)


These five policies would increase residential population in several parts of the City by increasing the housing supply, thereby bringing the City closer to its fair-share housing needs goals and reducing the jobs/housing imbalance. The increase in population to approximately 116,000 (see Chapter III, Project Description) would not be considered a substantial increase in population for the following reasons:

  1. A population of 116,000 would reflect the approximate population of the City in 1970;
  2. The 1977 Master Plan established 120,000 as the City's population capacity; and
  3. The projected population increase would be a direct result of a successful effort by the City to provide its Afair share@ of the regional housing needs.

Mitigation Measure POP-1: No mitigation required. (LTS)


2a Significant Population, Employment and Housing Impacts. No significant impacts related to population, employment and housing policies were identified.

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