City Facts

FY 2021-23 Proposed Policy Budget


The City of Oakland ("City") is located on the east side of the San Francisco Bay in the County of Alameda. Oakland is bordered by 19 miles of coastline to the west and rolling hills to the east, which provide unparalleled vistas of the Bay and the Pacific Ocean. In between are traditional, well-kept neighborhoods, a progressive downtown, and superior cultural and recreational amenities. Oakland serves as the administrative hub of the County of Alameda, the regional seat for the federal government, the district location of primary state offices, and the center of commerce and international trade for the Bay Area.

Oakland is the eighth largest city in the State of California, with an estimated population of 433,697, and a wealth of resources and opportunities. It is home to the Port of Oakland, which handled more than 2.46 million 20-foot freight containers in 2020. Oakland International Airport served more than 4.6 million travelers in 2020. The Airport is served by 11 different airline brands with more than 65 nonstop domestic and international destinations.

Oakland is a mature city that has been able to preserve its abundant natural beauty and resources. The City has over 100 parks (totaling over 2,500 acres) within its borders, as well as several recreational areas along its perimeter. Lake Merritt, the largest saltwater lake within a U.S. city, borders the downtown area. Its shoreline is a favorite retreat for joggers, office workers, and picnickers. At dusk, the area sparkles as the Lake is lit with its "Necklace of Lights." Lake Merritt is the oldest officially declared wildlife sanctuary in the United States, dating back to 1870.


The City of Oakland has a Mayor-Council form of government.

The Mayor is elected at-large for a four-year term and can be re-elected only once. The Mayor is not a member of the City Council; however, he or she has the right to vote as one if the Councilmembers are evenly divided.

The City Council is the legislative body of the City and is comprised of eight Councilmembers. One Councilmember is elected “at large,” while the other seven Councilmembers represent specific districts. All Councilmembers are elected to serve four-year terms. Each year the Councilmembers elect one member as President of the Council, one member to serve as Vice Mayor, and one member to serve as President Pro Tempore.

The City Administrator is appointed by the Mayor and is subject to confirmation by the City Council. The City Administrator is responsible for the day-to-day administrative and fiscal operations of the City.


Located within one of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, Oakland is the economic heart of the East Bay. Oakland has diversified its economic base significantly over the past few decades, offering a healthy mix of trade, government, financial, medical, information technology, publishing and service-oriented occupations. Industries with the largest growth in jobs over the last several years are: professional and business services, education, healthcare, leisure and hospitality, traditional and specialty food production, and technology. The Maker Movement has led to growth in the industrial arts, applied technology, artisan production and custom manufacturing.

Oakland offers abundant resources to its businesses and residents: state-of-the-art transportation, a vibrant dining and entertainment scene, and utility facilities keep the City running smoothly. Oakland has the infrastructure and economic base to support and attract a diverse mix of advanced industries. Downtown Oakland offers competitive office space, a fiber-optic infrastructure and the amenities for both traditional and emerging enterprises. The well-maintained freeways, mass transit systems, and ferry service make getting to and from downtown Oakland a relatively quick and easy process.

Several new office and mixed-use buildings, public facilities, hotels, convention facilities, park enhancements, and outdoor art create a cosmopolitan environment in the downtown area. Waterfront restaurants and shops at Jack London Square, as well as the burgeoning Old Oakland and Uptown districts provide lively nighttime attractions. The City’s neighborhood retail areas continue to grow, as evidenced by Oakland’s 10 Business Improvement Districts. In addition, the Oakland Tourism Business Improvement District was formed in 2015 to ensure strong and sustainable marketing programs for tourism promotion. Oakland plays a pivotal role in the East Bay Trade Area; a variety of incentives are available to companies located in the City’s Foreign Trade and Recycling Market Development Zones. Oakland has 30 census tracts that have been designated Opportunity Zones, which provides a tax incentive meant to revitalize communities and create jobs in designated low-income areas.

City departments take a proactive approach and use streamlined processes to best serve the needs of the business community. The Economic & Workforce Development Department links businesses with the many services available to them throughout the area and serves as an ombudsman for companies dealing with the City. The City’s staff works with merchants in each commercial district to promote the district, obtain loans, expedite permits and arrange for City services.

Oakland is the county seat (administrative center) for Alameda County. The U.S. Census Bureau has estimated the county population at 1,671,329 for 2019 and a median household income of $99,406. In the City of Oakland itself, some 162,419 households have a median income of $73,692 and spend more than $3 billion on retail sales annually. Oakland is a city of rich history, impressive growth, and a promising future.


According to the California Department of Finance, Oakland was ranked the eighth largest city in the State of California in 2020, with an estimated population of 433,697 residing within approximately 54 square miles. According to the 2010 United States Census (the most recent available), the City’s population was 390,724 persons at a density of roughly 7,000 people per square mile. This growth is due to the recovery and resurgence of the local economy, as well as Oakland’s growing popularity as a Bay Area housing and real estate destination.

2010 Census - City of Oakland's Population Racial / Ethnic Composition

The racial makeup of Oakland in 2010 was roughly 27% African American, 26%, Non-Hispanic White, 25% Hispanic or Latino (of any race), 17% Asian & Pacific Islander, 4% Multiracial and 1% Native American & Other (see above):

2010 Census - City of Oakland's Population Age Composition

Per the 2010 United States Census, 21% of the City's population is below the age of 18, and 11% is over the age of 65. In 2000, the United States Census estimated that 25% of the City's population was below the age of 18 and 11% was over the age of 65.

In 2010, 25% of households were families with children, as compared to 29% in 2000. In 2010, roughly 59% of housing units were occupied by renters, essentially unchanged from the 2000 estimate.


1200 B.C. - Ohlone Indians settle in the area that would become Oakland.

1772 A.D. - Spanish explorers are the first Europeans to visit the East Bay.

1797 - Established in Fremont, Mission de San José extends Spanish jurisdiction over the area that would become Oakland.

1849 - During the California Gold Rush, Oakland becomes the mainland staging point for passengers and cargo traveling between the Bay and Sierra Foothills.

1852 - Oakland was chartered as a city and almost immediately thereafter, construction of shipping wharves began. Building the large wharves and dredging a shipping channel positioned Oakland as an independent point of destination.

1869 - The Central Pacific Railroad selected Oakland as the terminus of the new transcontinental railroad, providing a vital link to the East.

1910 - Oakland’s population more than doubles in ten years from 66,960 to over 150,000 as people and businesses relocate from earthquake-ravaged San Francisco. Oakland regains control of the long-lost waterfront by final settlement of litigation, which had lasted over a half century and cost several millions of dollars.

1936 - The Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge, one of the engineering wonders of the world, opens months before the Golden Gate Bridge.

1942 - The Permanente Foundation Hospital is dedicated in Oakland, the first in the chain of Henry J. Kaiser’s health plan hospitals.

1950 - Children’s Fairyland opens in Lakeside Park. Swelled by huge numbers of workers who flocked to the city for WWII jobs, the U.S. Census puts Oakland's population at 384,575. Oakland's African American population soars from 8,462 in 1940 to 47,562 in 1950. The military makes substantial improvement to the Port’s facilities.

World War II brought tremendous changes to Oakland. Huge numbers of workers moved to the Bay Area to work in local shipyards, and many of these people, as well as large numbers of military personnel who mustered out at Treasure Island and the Oakland Army Base, chose to remain in the Bay Area. As a result, the City’s population increased by nearly one third between 1940 and 1950.

1950s – 1970s - Under the Urban Indian Relocation Program, Oakland saw large numbers of Native Americans move to the city.

1970s - Following the end of the Vietnam War, Oakland welcomed Cambodians, Vietnamese and Muong from war-torn Southeast Asia.

2010 - A new generation of restaurateurs and specialty food producers has fueled an epicurean renaissance. Oakland’s sizzling arts and dining scene is no longer a local secret as national media outlets spread the word on our vibrant city.

Oakland has a rich literary and cultural heritage. Such historical notables as writers Bret Harte, Jack London, Joaquin Miller, Ina Donna Coolbrith, Jessica Mitford, Narman Jayo, Ishmael Reed and Gertrude Stein; architect Julia Morgan; and dancer Isadora Duncan are just a few who have left their cultural mark on the City. It is also the birthplace of the West Coast Blues.

2015 - The U.S. Census ranked Oakland as the eighth largest city in California, with an estimated population of 419,267. According to a University of Wisconsin study, Oakland is the most ethnically diverse city in the United States. There are at least 100 different languages and dialects spoken here.


Located in the geographic center of the Bay Area, Oakland has been recognized as a vital transportation hub for more than 100 years. The combination of train, bus, maritime, aviation, freeway and amenities guarantee ease of travel for residents and efficient channels of commerce for businesses relying on the City’s easy access. Oakland is the headquarters of the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) and the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system. Oakland’s Port is a primary sea terminal for transporting cargo between the western United States and the Pacific Rim, Latin America and Europe. Access to air cargo services is minutes away at the Oakland International Airport. Transportation service providers include:

AC Transit - Local and transbay bus service is offered by Alameda-Contra Costa (AC) Transit, the third largest public bus system in California, serving the East Bay since 1960:

• Serves all 13 cities and adjacent unincorporated communities in 364 square miles along the east shore of San Francisco Bay. Annually,

AC Transit buses drive 20.9 million service miles.

• Serves approximately 175,000 daily riders with a fleet of 640 buses and a network of more than 158 bus lines with approximately 5,400

bus stops. The bus lines connect with sixteen other public and private bus systems, 25 BART stations, six Amtrak stations, and three ferry


• Bus routes serve the Oakland International Airport, the Amtrak Station and ferry terminal located at Jack London Square, downtown

San Francisco and other major Bay Area attractions. All buses are accessible to people with disabilities.

• All buses are equipped with bicycle racks.

BART - The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is a 131-mile, computer-automated rapid transit system:

• Pre-COVID, average weekly ridership was 412,596 in the three BART counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco, as well as

northern San Mateo County.

• Electric-powered trains traveling up to 70 mph connect 50 stations, including 8 stations in Oakland. Travel time between downtown

Oakland and downtown San Francisco averages only 11 minutes on BART.

• In Oakland, five BART stations – West Oakland, Lake Merritt, MacArthur, Fruitvale and Coliseum – are catalysts for transit-oriented

development projects that are in design or construction.

• The Oakland Airport Connector (OAC) is a 3.2-mile extension of BART from the Coliseum/Oakland Airport BART Station to Oakland

International Airport. Opened in November 2014, the OAC provides a seamless connection with driverless trains that travel the

alignment in eight minutes and depart every 5 to 20 minutes. Nearly 850,000 trips were made between BART and the Oakland

International Airport in 2019.

• BART is the USA’s cleanest major transit system in its class, emitting fewer pounds of carbon per passenger mile than any other transit


OAK - The Oakland International Airport (OAK) is the second largest San Francisco Bay Area airport offering, prior to the pandemic, over 300 daily passenger and cargo flights.

• Typically hosts more than 13 million passengers annually. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 traffic was about 4.6 million.

• Handled more than 1.3 billion pounds of air freight.

• Served by 11 domestic and international air carriers.

• Features 29 boarding gates in two terminals.


• The Alameda/Oakland Ferry Service links Oakland with San Francisco, Angel Island and South San Francisco.

• Nine major U.S. and California highways pass through Oakland.

• Daily service to rail destinations throughout the U.S. is offered at the Oakland Amtrak Station in Jack London Square and service along

the Capitol Corridor also stops at the Coliseum Amtrak Station.

• Greyhound Bus Lines also offers daily bus service to cities throughout the United States. offers service between Oakland

and Los Angeles.

• Car-sharing and Ride sharing are easily accessible and offered by various agencies.

• Oakland was one of the first cities to pilot the “sharrow” lane – shared-lane pavement markings to indicate road lanes shared by cyclists

and motorists.

• The Bikeshare program provides 1,400 bikes in Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville.

• Up to 1,500 shared electric scooters “e-scooters” are offered throughout Oakland by several private companies.


Oakland Public Works (OPW) plans, builds and maintains Oakland’s physical and environmental infrastructure for residents, businesses and visitors, making Oakland a sustainable and desirable place to live, work, invest and visit. Oakland’s infrastructure includes:

Local Streets & Roads, Sidewalks, Curb Ramps, Stairs & Paths

• 2,293 lane miles

• 166 miles of bike lanes & routes

• 1,100 miles of sidewalks

• 17,800 curb ramp locations

• 400,000 linear feet of crosswalks

• 220 developed stairs & pathways

Parks, Trees & City Landscapes

• 134 City parks

• 100+ street medians

• 42,600 official street trees

• Plus, all open space & park trees


• 35 City Bridges

Traffic Signals, Signs, & Street Lighting

• 679 traffic signal intersections

• 200,000 street signs

• 38,000 streetlights with 30,500 of

them converted to LED lights

Stormwater & Wastewater Collection

• 400 miles of storm drains

• 15,000 structures

• 80+ miles of open creek

• 930 miles of sewer pipes

• 7 pump stations

• 29,000 structures

Public Buildings, Fleet & Equipment

• 309 public buildings

• 1,794 vehicles & equipment including

fire trucks & police cars


Oakland offers a diverse array of educational opportunities for students of all ages. Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) serves nearly 50,000 students and is committed to building a Full-Service Community School District, as defined by the U.S. Department of Education, focused on high academic achievement while serving the whole child, i.e. social and health services. Oakland is also home to numerous institutions of higher learning.

Elementary, Middle, Special, and Secondary Education

• There are 86 public, 33 charter and 40 private schools in Oakland.


Holy Names University – An undergraduate and graduate inter-disciplinary study college.

Mills College – a private women’s liberal arts college founded in 1852, also offering co-ed graduate programs.

Patten University – Dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible, and affordable undergraduate and graduate education, including

online programs designed specifically for working adults.

Samuel Merritt University – Offers degrees in nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant, and podiatric

medicine and is the largest source of newly registered nurses in California.

California College of the Arts – Known for its broad, interdisciplinary programs in art, design, architecture, and writing, it offers studies in

21 undergraduate and 13 graduate programs.

Merritt College and Laney College – Part of the Peralta Community College District, these colleges offer arts, liberal arts, college

preparatory and vocational trade programs.


Oakland’s medical facilities are among the best in the nation. The medical community provides the latest and most sophisticated medical technology for the diagnosis and treatment of disease. There are now four hospitals providing full service in Oakland. Together, these hospitals have invested more than $2 billion in new construction and seismic upgrades.

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland delivers high quality pediatric care for all children through regional primary and subspecialty

networks, a strong education and teaching program, a diverse workforce, state-of-the-art research programs and facilities and

nationally recognized child advocacy efforts.

Alta Bates Summit Medical Center offers comprehensive services designed to meet the health care needs of the diverse communities

of the greater East Bay.

Alameda Health System’s Highland Hospital provides comprehensive, high-quality medical treatment, health promotion, and health

maintenance through an integrated system of hospitals, clinics, and health services staffed by individuals who are responsive to the

diverse cultural needs of our community.

Kaiser Permanente organizes, provides and coordinates members’ care, including preventive care such as well-baby and prenatal care,

immunizations, and screening diagnostics; hospital and medical services; and pharmacy services. Kaiser’s Oakland Medical Center is the

flagship of its national system of hospitals, headquartered here along with the nation’s first health maintenance organization (HMO),

founded by Henry Kaiser.