Spend enough time in Chinatown and it's hard to miss the homeless, the strip clubs, and the cheap motor inns. Who are the people who really live here?
According to the San Francisco Planning Department, Chinatown is "the most densely populated urban area west of Manhattan", with 15,000 residents living in 20 square blocks. In the 1970s, the population density in Chinatown was seven times the San Francisco average.
During the time from 2009 to 2013, the median household income was $20,000 – compared to $76,000 citywide – with 29% of residents below the national poverty threshold. The median age was 50 years, the oldest of any neighborhood. As of 2015, two thirds of the residents lived in one of Chinatown's 105 single room occupancy hotels (SRO), 96 of which had private owners and nine were owned by nonprofits.
Many of the Chinese immigrants who managed to accumulate wealth while living in Chinatown move to the Richmond District, the Sunset District, or the suburbs.