Blogging Bayport Alameda

November 18, 2015

We are a crowd

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

One thing that people will inevitably complain about is that there is “overdevelopment” when they’re suck in traffic or in line at Trader Joe’s or just in general. Of course, if you’re going by pure data alone, Alameda has done a pretty rotten job of developing housing.  Despite people feeling like there are too many people here than there historically has been or that we’re developing so much, the data doesn’t bear that out.

Between 2000 – 2010 only 1500 units came online.


Contrast that with, say, the 60s when nearly 5000 units were constructed. Or even the 80s post Measure A when 3669 units were built.

But this should be slightly more illustrative for people who think that Alameda’s population has grown exponentially, from Census data you can see the number of households on the same graph as the population of Alameda by decade.  There was a huge spike of building in the 20s to accommodate (or maybe caused) the population spike that doubled Alameda’s population.


To drill down more finely, here is the population data by decade compared to the number of households and housing units.   For an interactive version, click here.  As you can see the 10 year population from 2000-2010 increased very little and the population is no where near its peak which was where it was in the 1990s.




  1. I wonder how population size changed vs number of households. I bet the same population today has more households than 50 years ago when people still listened to the pope for family planning advice. On the other hand, today we have more immigrant populations (I assume) that might counteract that with more children (on average) and more multigenerational households.

    Comment by BMac — November 18, 2015 @ 8:29 am

  2. Multi-family homes have increased the population considerably over the past 40 years. We have a home next to us that is zoned R-1, yet they have turned the home in to an apartment with multiple people living there. It has caused parking problems and concerns neighbors in regards to who exactly is living there. If this type of activity is happening in numerous neighborhoods, I can see where the population has increased, yet housing has not? Possible? Lauren, what is the true crux of the problem? Is it too manny people? Too few houses? To small of an island? Too many cars? Is there center-point where we can point to and say that here is the real problem?

    Comment by Bill Delaney — November 18, 2015 @ 9:02 am

  3. The point of the post is to show that the census data does not bear out people’s immediate reactions that somehow in the last, let’s say two years, that the population has increased exponentially at the point that Alameda is at some unbearable tipping point. The last solid census data shows in 2010 shows that we are no where near Alameda’s peak and even in the five years between the last Census and today we have added very few units that would add to the population in such a manner that Alameda could be called “overdeveloped.”

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 18, 2015 @ 9:12 am

  4. Didn’t much of this development take place on fill? (!!) So yes, if you fill in a big chunk of the bay and create new land, there’ll be plenty of space to build on, but what does this say for the present? We’re on an island, that’s the overriding concern, at least for everyone who has to get off this island in the morning to go to work.

    Comment by Darcy Morrison — November 18, 2015 @ 9:14 am

  5. The original argument for filling in the Bay was that people were flocking to the Bay Area and more land was needed for housing. How long did it take for that concept to be reversed?

    Today’s clamoring for infill development is the same old argument in different clothing. I still think Lauren Do must be the abandoned child Doric Development left on Alameda’s doorstep.

    Back in the 1990’s when I was on the Planning Board, “infill development” was a dirty word. Now it is the watchword.

    Comment by vigi — November 18, 2015 @ 9:46 am

  6. Peak population years were when the Navy was here. Since many of the personnel left when the base closed, there naturally was a decrease in population numbers.

    I am pretty sure the recent study that was done about rents pointed to larger numbers of people living in housing units. This is what I am seeing with multi-generational families living together.

    Comment by Nancy Hird — November 18, 2015 @ 11:18 am

  7. Living patterns may have change, but the population growth is <1% per year after the Navy left.

    Comment by Cindy — November 18, 2015 @ 11:28 am

  8. The biggest thing that people confuse in recent years is the increased traffic due to people actually having jobs post recession (+ needing to work like dogs to pay the increasing rent) with the highly visible bits of construction.

    “They’re building more houses and my commute is taking longer.”

    Comment by BMac — November 18, 2015 @ 1:10 pm

  9. In addition to what’s been said, in the seventies, many families had one car, now not only do both parents have cars, but each of the kids do too. This causes congested parking in the neighborhoods as well as more cars on the road. Finding housing with parking has become a big issue.

    Comment by Li_ — November 19, 2015 @ 12:34 pm

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