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 420,005 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.

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 sales and office workers. There are especially a lot of people living in Oakland who work in management occupations (11.20%), office and administrative support (10.85%), and sales jobs (8.54%).

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.

One of the nice things about Oakland is that it is nautical, which means that parts of it are somewhat historic and touch the ocean or tidal bodies of water, such as inlets and bays. Because of this, visitors and locals will often go to these areas to take in the scenery or to enjoy waterfront activities.

In Oakland, however, the average commute to work is quite long. On average, people spend 31.74 minutes each day getting to work, which is significantly higher than the national average. One bright side is that local public transit is widely used, so it may be an option to avoid the headache of driving in the heavy traffic by leaving the car at home and taking transit. In addition, the city is also quite pedestrian-friendly, because many neighborhoods are very dense and have amenities close enough together that people find it feasible to get around on foot.

Oakland is a big city, and with that comes lots of benefits. One benefit is that most big cities have public transit, but Oakland really shines when it comes to the extensiveness and use of its public transit system. More than most large American cities, Oakland citizens use public transit daily to get to and from work. And while there are transportation options, most people in Oakland ride the subway. Whereas in some cities one is destined to sit in traffic every morning to get to work and every evening to get home, in Oakland a lot leave their cars at home (if they even choose to own one), and hop a ride on the subway.

The education level of Oakland citizens is very high relative to the national average among all cities (21.84%): 39.72% of adults in Oakland have a bachelor's degree or even advanced degree.

The per capita income in Oakland in 2010 was $34,984, which is upper middle income relative to California, and wealthy relative to the rest of the US. This equates to an annual income of $139,936 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 26.68% 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 (27.26%).

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