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. Much of the housing stock in Oakland was built prior to World War II, 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.

Unlike some cities, Oakland isn’t mainly white- or blue-collar. Instead, the most prevalent occupations for people in Oakland are a mix 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 (11.03%), management occupations (10.73%), and sales jobs (9.44%).

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. Such areas are often places that visitors and locals go for waterfront activities or taking in the scenery.

One downside of living in Oakland, however, is that residents on average have to contend with a long commute, spending on average 30.30 minutes every day commuting to work. It is, however, a pedestrian-friendly city. Many of its neighborhoods are dense enough and have amenities close enough together that people find it feasible to get around on foot. In addition, local public transit is widely used. For those who would prefer to avoid driving entirely and leave their car at home, it may be an option to use the transit instead.

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 population of Oakland is very well educated relative to most cities and towns in the nation, where the average community has 21.84% of its adult population holding a 4-year degree or higher: 38.64% of adults in Oakland have a bachelor's degree or even advanced degree.

The per capita income in Oakland in 2010 was $32,566, which is upper middle income relative to California, and wealthy relative to the rest of the US. This equates to an annual income of $130,264 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 25.88% of the city’s residents. Important ancestries of people in Oakland include Irish, English, Italian, and European.

In addition, Oakland has a lot of people living here who were born outside of the US (27.09%).

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