Oakland, CA
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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 419,267 people and 113 constituent neighborhoods, Oakland is the eighth largest community in California. Oakland has an unusually large stock of pre-World War II architecture, making it one of the older and more historic cities.

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.

Unlike some cities where white-collar or blue-collar occupations dominate the local economy, Oakland is neither predominantly one nor the other. Instead, it has a mixed workforce of both white- and blue-collar jobs. Overall, Oakland is a city of professionals, service providers, and sales and office workers. There are especially a lot of people living in Oakland who work in office and administrative support (10.97%), management occupations (10.95%), and sales jobs (8.94%).

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 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. Quite often, nautical areas such as these attract visitors and locals who come to enjoy the scenery and various waterfront activities.

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 31.01 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.

The citizens of Oakland are very well educated compared to the average community in the nation: 39.07% of adults in Oakland have a bachelor's degree or even advanced degree.

The per capita income in Oakland in 2010 was $33,505, which is upper middle income relative to California, and wealthy relative to the rest of the US. This equates to an annual income of $134,020 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 26.13% of the city’s residents. Important ancestries of people in Oakland include Irish, English, Italian, and European.

Foreign born people are also an important part of Oakland's cultural character, accounting for 26.74% of the city’s population.

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