Oakland, CA
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Oakland profile


Living in Oakland


Oakland is a large coastal city (i.e. on the ocean, a bay, or inlet) located in the state of California. With a population of 429,082 people and 113 constituent neighborhoods, Oakland is the eighth largest community in California. Oakland has a large stock of pre-World War II architecture, making it one of the older and more historic cities in the country.

Housing costs in Oakland are among some of the highest in the nation, although real estate prices here don't compare to real estate prices in the most expensive communities in California.

Oakland is neither predominantly blue-collar nor white-collar, instead having a mixed workforce of both blue-collar and white-collar jobs. Overall, Oakland is a city of professionals, service providers, and managers. There are especially a lot of people living in Oakland who work in management occupations (11.12%), office and administrative support (9.27%), and sales jobs (8.05%).

Of important note, Oakland is also a city of artists. Oakland has more artists, designers and people working in media than 90% of the communities in America. This concentration of artists helps shape Oakland’s character.

Also of interest is that Oakland has more people living here who work in computers and math than 95% of the places in the US.

Oakland is one of the most attractive larger cities for people who are young, single, educated, and upwardly-mobile career starters. This makes it a good place to live for young singles in their 20s and 30s and who have undergraduate or graduate degrees and are starting their professional careers. Although Oakland is a large city, this demographic is significant enough that young professionals will find many others like themselves here, with really good opportunities for friendships, recreation, romance, and more.

Oakland is also nautical, which means that parts of it are somewhat historic and touch the ocean or tidal bodies of water, such as inlets and bays. Such areas are often places that visitors and locals go for waterfront activities or taking in the scenery.

One downside of living in Oakland is that it can take a long time to commute to work. In Oakland, the average commute to work is 32.87 minutes, which is quite a bit higher than the national average. On the other hand, local public transit is widely used in the city, so leaving the car at home and taking transit is often a viable alternative. In addition, it is also a pedestrian-friendly city. Many of Oakland’s neighborhoods are dense enough and have amenities close enough together that people find it feasible to get around on foot.

One of the benefits of being a big city like Oakland is having a public transportation system, but in Oakland the transit system is the mode of choice for lots of people getting to and from work every day. You will find many people using the subway for their daily commute, even though other transportation options exist. If you ask these commuters, many will tell you that not having to drive in the snarl of big city traffic is one of main reasons for leaving the car at home, or even not owning a car at all. With so many people taking the subway Oakland benefits from a reduction in air pollution and traffic.

Oakland is one of the most well-educated cities in the nation. 42.53% of adults in Oakland have at least a bachelor's degree. Compare that to the average community in America, which has just 21.84% with a bachelor's degree or higher.

The per capita income in Oakland in 2010 was $40,628, which is upper middle income relative to California, and wealthy relative to the rest of the US. This equates to an annual income of $162,512 for a family of four. However, Oakland contains both very wealthy and poor people as well.

Oakland is an extremely ethnically-diverse city. The people who call Oakland home describe themselves as belonging to a variety of racial and ethnic groups. The greatest number of Oakland residents report their race to be White, followed by Black or African-American. Oakland also has a sizeable Hispanic population (people of Hispanic origin can be of any race). People of Hispanic or Latino origin account for 26.87% of the city’s residents. Important ancestries of people in Oakland include German, Irish, English, Italian, and European.

Foreign born people are also an important part of Oakland's cultural character, accounting for 27.59% of the city’s population.

The most common language spoken in Oakland is English. Other important languages spoken here include Spanish and Chinese.