San Francisco as economic hub

What is the economic capital of the 21st century? According to BloombergView, it just may well be San Francisco – albeit an inadvertent one.

“It is the main urban center of a region that is home to many of the leading corporations of the digital age, an area that has become an unparalleled hub of innovation, invention and entrepreneurship,” BloombergView notes, adding that as of July 2014 just 852,469 people lived in the city according to the U.S. Census – just 10 percent more than in 1950. Moreover, while San Francisco is certainly densely populated, even more people could fit here – think Brooklyn.

“In earlier decades, when suburban living was in vogue and the Bay Area’s center of economic gravity was shifting southward toward San Jose, San Francisco’s slow growth seemed natural enough,” the article continues. “But now more and more of the smart, ambitious young people who power the region’s economy would rather live in the city than in the tract homes of Silicon Valley.”

As BloombergView notes, many of these people commute south from San Francisco to suburban offices campuses including Apple, Facebook and Google, with newer tech firms increasingly locating in the city itself. The result? A city on the verge of a major economic leap. While that’s not necessarily news, here’s what is: the city itself is growing, having added something on the order of 50,000 people since 2010 as well as 8,900 new housing units under construction as of last fall. “But on the whole,” the article posits, “it’s fair to say that San Francisco hasn’t exactly embraced the role of boomtown.”

Why? Tune in tomorrow for the answer.