City losing its younger residents

Mark Liese was graduating college around the time the dot-com industry went bust.

The 27-year-old said the rumors alone were enough to dash dreams of working for a San Francisco-based startup, living in a swanky SoMa loft and retiring early.

“Dot-coms are just too risky,” said Liese, who works as a loan officer at a downtown bank, commuting into The City from the Berkeley apartment he shares with three others. “Getting rich quick isn’t that easy anymore.”

Liese is one of many recent college graduates who have opted for a safer jobs and less-expensive apartments outside The City.

At the tail end of the dot-com boom in 2000, there were 91,393 San Francisco residents in the 25- to 29-year-old age range. Last year, there were 52,229, according to new federal census data.

Analysts say that while the tech boom of the late 1990s attracted a young work force to The City, the industry’s early-decade downturn has scared them off.

“In the 2000 census, you had lots of young people in The City,” said Jim Lazarus, senior vice president with the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. “But they left in 2001 and 2002, when the jobs left.”

Overall, The City’s total population decreased by nearly 1 percent, with slightly more men — 389,335 — living here than women — 375,641 — according to the data. About 57 percent of The City’s population is white, about 33 percent is Asian, nearly 14 percent is Hispanic and about 7 percent is black, the statistics showed.

“The Asian population continues to grow because there’s already a base [Asian] community in San Francisco,” said John Malson, research manager with the state’s Department of Finance. “Immigrants coming here will most likely settle first in the community [in
which they identify].”

Another trend is the continued decrease in San Francisco’s black population. From 2000 to 2006, the population decreased by 15 percent, from 62,782 to 53,234, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2007, that number dipped slightly to 53,106.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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