California housing shortage

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A tent city, a form of improvised housing, in Oakland, California.

Since about 1970, California has been experiencing an extended and increasing housing shortage,[1]:3 such that by 2018, California has the 49th lowest ratio of housing units per resident.[2][3] As the New York Times explains, California's housing issues are exemplar of those faced in many other rapidly growing urban areas across America.[4]

This shortage has driven home prices and rents to extremely high levels. In 2017, the median price of a home in California was more than 2.5 times (150% greater than) the median in the U.S. as a whole, and in California's coastal urban areas, the shortage was greater than the inland areas, as demonstrated by the median prices of homes in those respective markets: $1.3M in San Francisco, $1M in San Jose, and $600k in Los Angeles, while only $250k in Fresno.[5][6][7] In the rental market, California now has the lowest vacancy rate the state has ever seen, at 3.6%;[8] and while the median rent throughout the state for a two-bedroom apartment is $2,400, the median rent in coastal urban areas is even higher, surpassing $4,000 per month in San Francisco.[9]

The cause is the imbalance between supply and demand; a result of strong economic growth creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs (which increases demand for housing) and the stricter land-use regulations (primarily zoning at the local level) in California relative to other states, (which limits supply by limiting creation of new housing units).[10][11][1]:14,17[12] For example, from 2012 to 2017, San Francisco metropolitan area cities added 400,000 new jobs, but only issued 60,000 permits for new housing units.[13] (For California as a whole, from 2011 to 2016, the state added only 2 new housing units for every 10 new residents.)[14]

This shortage is taking its toll on Californians in many ways: two-thirds can no longer afford a median priced home, more than 20% of residents are in poverty (6% more than would be with lower housing costs), homelessness per capita is now the third highest in the nation, and California's economy is suppressed by $150 - $400 billion per year (5-14%) because money that residents must spend on housing cannot be spent elsewhere.[15]


Median home prices for California and for the United States since 1940, in 2017 dollars.[16][17][18]
New residents per new home by decade since 1970.[19][20][21]

From 1940 to 1970, California's population grew far more quickly than the national average, while its median home value stayed very close to the national average, because new homes were being built quickly enough to house the new arrivals. But starting in 1970, three major forces caused housing prices to rise dramatically: more powerful environmentalism (which led to greater land-use restrictions), density restrictions (which limited many places to single-family homes or no more than two stories), and community involvement in the development process (which allowed current but not future residents a say in who could live there).[22][1]:3,5

By 2016, the median price of a home in California, at $409,300, was more than twice the median price of a home in the U.S. as a whole, more expensive than any state other than Hawaii.[23] The shortage is state-wide--from 2010 to 2017, the state added only one new housing unit for roughly every five new residents--but is especially acute in employment centers such as the Bay Area and Los Angeles.[14]


The shortage has resulted from fewer housing units built in the coastal areas relative to the demand created by economic growth in those areas, resulting in higher prices for housing and spillover to the inland areas.[1]:3

For example, from 2012 to 2017, San Francisco metropolitan area cities added 400,000 new jobs, but only issued 60,000 permits for new housing units.[13] (For California as a whole, from 2011 to 2016, the state added only 2 new housing units for every 10 new residents.)[14]

The fundamental causative factor is land use regulations, which come in the form of both local zoning, and state environmental laws. Local zoning decisions form the largest limitation on new housing development, and are influenced by both residents' feelings about new housing as well as tax structures.

Community resistance (NIMBYism)[edit]

NIMBY ("Not In My Back Yard") resistance by existing residents to new development is a major contributor to the difficulty of developing new housing in the state. People who already live in an area often perceive any new development or change as driving increased negative traffic and population impacts. Using various means (political pressure, protests, and voting power), NIMBYs to try to keep newcomers out by defeating development projects in the local government permitting process, or slowing them down to the point that they become uneconomical for the builders.[1]:15[24]

Environmental laws[edit]

Environmental laws—primarily the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)—can be a hurdle to housing development. CEQA requires the permitting agency, usually a local government, to review each new project in accordance with CEQA (be it a small duplex or 600-unit apartment complex) to provide a full disclosure of the project's impacts to the approval body (usually a planning commission or city council) and the public. Individual single-family homes are exempt, as well as some smaller multi-family projects, but most mid-size and larger projects must go through a Negative Declaration or EIR to provide the required level of disclosure of project impacts. The CEQA process must take place prior to a local government acting to permit a new development. Additionally, CEQA opens the door for legal challenges against the CEQA review process itself that was carried out for the project, which may result in lawsuits by those opposed to a project even after a local government has approved the project.[1]:15 As the Orange County Register notes: "CEQA requires all development projects to complete environmental impact reports (intended to explore the development’s effect on local plants and animals)[better source needed] prior to final project approval by city hall. A clean report, however, can be challenged in a lawsuit by anyone concerned, which immediately halts development. Labor unions and other advocacy organizations discovered that they could use frivolous CEQA challenges to “greenmail” businesses and further their own policy agendas."[25]

Tax structures[edit]

Partially because Proposition 13 limits the property tax that local and state governments can collect, cities are incentivized to permit commercial development rather than residential development. Commercial development can potentially yield both sales tax revenue (car dealerships and shopping malls are especially favored due to their density of revenue), as well as business tax revenue (many cities levy either a payroll tax or a gross-receipts tax on all businesses located within their boundaries: for example, San Francisco levys a 1.5% payroll tax but is shifting to a ~0.5% gross-receipts tax).

Residential development is typically seen as a net loss to a city's budget due to costs associated with service delivery (public safety, roads, parks, etc.) to residents exceeding the tax revenue received from those residents.[1]:15 For example, the city of Brisbane, when considering developing a greenfield, (Brisbane Baylands development) was told that a housing-heavy development would bring in $1 million annually in additional income for the town, but a commercial development with no housing and a larger hotel would bring in $9 million annually--and that without building hotels, the development would be a net loss to the city budget.[26][27]

High land cost and low density[edit]

High land cost and low density development with very small increases in housing density, which in turn keep land prices high.[1]:12 The Sacramento Bee notes that residential land prices are more than 600% greater in coastal California than the average of America's other large metropolitan areas.[28]

Construction costs[edit]

Higher cost of construction due to government fees, labor, and materials:

  • Greater government-imposed development fees for building a single-family home than in the rest of the country. (The California Legislative Analyst's Office reported it to be 266% greater, $22k vs. $6k).[1]:14 For example, the developer planning to redevelop the site of a former Naval Hospital in Oakland with a residential community of 935 homes will be paying $20M (= $21k / home) in fees to the City of Oakland's affordable housing fund.[29]
  • Higher cost of labor, because of both prevailing wage laws and that often projects are only approved if union labor is used. (Estimated at 20% more by the California LAO.)[1]:13[25][30]
  • Higher material costs, due to building codes and standards requiring better quality materials and higher energy efficiency.[1]:13


Affordability and displacement[edit]

Housing Affordability Index for California and for Santa Clara County, since 1991.[31]

Housing affordability has declined over the last three decades; as of 2018, less than a third of Californians could afford a median-priced home; in job centers such as the San Francisco Bay Area, that number is less than a quarter. (Nationally, more than half of American households can afford the median-priced American home.)[31] As a result, workers have moved to more affordable locations such as the Inland Empire and commute long distances. As of 2018, the three cities in the United States with the largest share of super commuters--workers spending an hour and a half or more each way to get to and from their jobs--are Stockton, Modesto and Riverside, all in the Inland Empire.[32] Workers have been displaced outside of the state as well; from 2007 to 2016, California saw net out-migration among all groups making under $110,000 a year, largely to Sun Belt states like Arizona, Nevada and Texas.[33]


When the cost of housing is factored into the poverty rate, as the Census Bureau now does in its releases of the "Supplemental Poverty Measure,"[34] California's poverty rate lists as the highest in the nation, (and has since 2011, when the Census Bureau first started releasing poverty by this measure) currently at 20.4%, or just over 1 in 5 people.[35][36] The Public Policy Institute of California estimates that if the housing costs in California matched those for the nation overall, California's poverty rate would instead be 14%.[37]


A homeless person sleeps on the sidewalk next to a limousine in the Mission area of San Francisco.

California in 2017 is home to an over-sized share of the nation's homeless: 22%, for a state whose residents only make up 12% of the country's total population.[38] The Sacramento Bee notes that large cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco both attribute their increases in homeless to the housing shortage.[38] Homeless persons in California now number 135,000 (a 15% increase from 2015).[8]

A study by the California Housing Partnership found that from 2016-2017 homelessness increased by 47% in Sacramento County (home to the state's capital, Sacramento), 36% in Alameda County, and 13% in Santa Clara County.[14]

Nationwide, California ranks third for the most homeless persons per capita, behind New York and Hawaii.[39][40]


A 2017 study[41] by Nobel Laureate in economics Edward Prescott, Lee Ohanian (senior fellow at the Hoover Institution), and Kyle Herkenhoff, estimates that if California were to roll back its land use regulations to where they stood in 1980, the state's GDP could permanently increase by almost $400 billion (a 14% increase).[11] "If every state rolled back land regulations to 1980 levels, [total US] GDP could rise by as much as $1.8 trillion [9%]." [11]

A McKinsey Global Institute report estimates that the housing shortage is costing the California economy between $143 - 233 billion per year, because money people spend on housing cannot be spent on other consumer goods, (more than 2/3 of the US economy is driven by consumer spending) and that, if allowed, more new construction activity would also increase economic output.[42]


Longer commutes and worse traffic caused by suburban sprawl due to housing shortages concentrated in job centers increase greenhouse gas emissions. Because of California's mild climate and heavily-renewable energy mix, transportation is the largest category of emissions in the state.[43] When Californians emigrate to states with higher per-capita greenhouse gas emissions, they drive more, consume more energy for air conditioning, and use more fossil fuel-dependent electricity generation. Scarce, low-density housing is directly at odds with California's stated climate goals.[44]

Quantifying the shortage[edit]

Estimated under-supply of housing units[edit]

The California Legislative Analyst's Office 2015 report "California's High Housing Costs - Causes and Consequences" estimates that for the state to have kept housing prices no more than 80% higher than the median for the U.S. as a whole (the price differential which existed in 1980, as opposed to the >150% differential which exists today), California would have needed to add approximately 210,000 new housing units each year over the past three decades (1980-2010), rather than the 120,000 / year which were built. Their midpoint estimate of the underbuilding for the last three decades is 90,000 units per year, an estimated shortage of 2.7 million housing units (20%) by 2010.[1]:21

Since 2010, the state's construction of new housing units has averaged well below 90,000 units per year.[45] It took a drastic drop after the 2008 Great Recession, but has increased to about 90,000 / year in 2016.[45]

In September of 2017, a team of economists from UCLA forecast that "it would take 20 percent more housing to achieve a 10 percent reduction in prices. Such a reduction throughout California would bring costs down roughly to 2014 levels..."[46]

In October 2017, lieutenant governor and gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom said that California should set a goal to produce 3.5 million new homes by 2025. This would require a quadrupling of the current rate of building to almost 400,000 units per year, a rate the state has not experienced since 1954.[47]

In April of 2018, state Senator Scott Wiener, author of several bills to reduce the housing shortage, estimated it at 4 million units.[48]

Ratio of residents and jobs to housing units[edit]

Persons per housing unit for California and for the United States since 1940.[19][21][20]

In 2018, California has the 49th lowest ratio of housing units per resident.[2][3]

Jobs per housing unit for California and for the United States since 1980.[19][20][49][50]

While some people claim that a "healthy" ratio of jobs to housing units is around 2, many California metros are far from that, with San Diego at 3.9, Los Angeles at 4.7, and San Francisco at 6.8.[51]


2016 Legislation[edit]

In September 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2406, AB 2299, and SB 1069, all of which reduce the cost and bureaucracy needed to construct an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit), also known as a granny flat, or in-laws unit.[52][53] The Bay Area Council notes that if only 10 percent of the Bay Area’s 1.5 million single family homeowners build ADU's, that would create 150,000 units of new housing.[53]

2017 Legislation[edit]

On the final day of the 2017 legislative session, the California legislature approved and Governor Brown signed fifteen separate bills aimed at starting to address some of the driving factors of the shortage, such as requiring cities to allow developments that meet their zoning and general plans, and allowing microapartments as small as 150 sq. ft.[54][55][56]

One of those bills was SB 35, authored by state Senator Scott Wiener which will require the cities that have fallen behind on their state housing production goals to streamline approval of new housing.[57][58] Wiener said, "Local control is about how a community achieves its housing goals, not whether it achieves those goals... SB 35 sets clear and reasonable standards to ensure that all communities are part of the solution by creating housing for our growing population."[57]

2018 Legislative Session[edit]

Senate Bill 827, introduced in the 2018 legislative session by Scott Wiener, would require localities to allow buildings of at least 4 or 8 stories within a half-mile of a high-frequency transit stop, or within a quarter-mile of a bus or transit corridor, as well as waiving minimum parking requirements in those areas.[59] Regarding the issue of local control, he stated: "In education and healthcare, the state sets basic standards, and local control exists within those standards. Only in housing has the state abdicated its role. But housing is a statewide issue, and the approach of pure local control has driven us into the ditch."[60]

Other Efforts[edit]

Since 2014, several YIMBY (Yes In My Back Yard) groups have sprung up in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Francisco Bay Area Renters' Federation, headed by Sonja Trauss, as well as YIMBY Action, East Bay for Everyone, Palo Alto Forward, Catalyze SV, and CaRLA.[61][62] These groups lobby both locally and in Sacramento for increased housing production at all price levels, as well as using California's Housing Accountability Act ("the anti-NIMBY law") to sue cities when they attempt to block, restrict, or down-size housing development.[61] Ms. Trauss, in an comment to the San Francisco Planning Commission supporting the construction of a new 75-unit mostly market rate housing development stated that: "The 100 or so higher income people, who are not going to live in this project if it isn’t built, are going to live somewhere,” she said. “They will just displace someone somewhere else, because demand doesn’t disappear.”[63]

As a way to rapidly create inexpensive housing, a Bay-Area startup company converts 8' x 20' shipping containers into homes for as little as $8,000, though due to expensive ($3,000 - $5,000 for a permit) and restrictive zoning in many cities, has found it hard to find locations that will allow the homes.[64]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Taylor, Mac (2015-03-17). California's High Housing Costs - Causes and Consequences (PDF) (Report). California Legislative Analysts Office. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-04-06. Retrieved 2017-10-26. 
  2. ^ a b Roberts, David (2018-02-23). "A sweeping new bill targets California's housing crisis". Vox Media. Archived from the original on 2018-03-01. Retrieved 2018-03-01. California is in the midst of crippling housing crisis. The state’s population has steadily grown, but it hasn’t been building new places for people to live at anything close to the same rate. It now ranks 49th in housing units per capita. 
  3. ^ a b "A TOOL KIT TO CLOSE CALIFORNIA'S HOUSING GAP". McKinsey Global Institute. 2016-10-01. Archived from the original on 2016-11-05. Retrieved 2018-03-01. California ranks 49th among the 50 US states for housing units per capita. 
  4. ^ Dougherty, Conor (2017-12-01). "The Great American Single-Family Home Problem". The New York Times Company. Archived from the original on 2017-12-04. Retrieved 2017-12-05. Whatever the specifics, what is happening in Berkeley may be coming soon to a neighborhood near you. Around the country, many fast-growing metropolitan areas are facing a brutal shortage of affordable places to live,... 
  5. ^ Scheinin, Richard (2017-11-16). "As housing supply shrinks, San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland are nation's three most competitive markets". Bay Area News Group. Archived from the original on 2017-11-17. Retrieved 2017-11-19. 
  6. ^ Romero, Dennis (2017-03-27). "A Middle-of-the-Road L.A. Home Now Costs Nearly $600,000". LA Weekly. Archived from the original on 2017-06-11. Retrieved 2017-11-19. 
  7. ^ Lee, Bonhia (2017-08-09). "How much do you have to make to buy a home in Fresno?". The Fresno Bee. Archived from the original on 2017-08-10. Retrieved 2017-11-19. 
  8. ^ a b Fagan, Kevin; Graham, Alison (2017-09-08). "California's homelessness crisis expands to country". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2017-09-11. Retrieved 2017-12-12. With the county’s rental vacancy rate hovering around 1 percent — California’s is 3.6 percent, an all-time low for the state — 
  9. ^ Levin, Matt (2017-08-28). "California's housing crisis – it's even worse than you think". The San Jose Mercury News. Archived from the original on 2017-08-30. Retrieved 2017-11-02. Across the state, the median rental price for a two-bedroom apartment is about $2,400, the third highest in the country. But statewide figures water down how absurd the situation is getting in urban coastal markets, where the vast majority of Californians live. The median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco reached more than $4,000 this year. 
  10. ^ Cutler, Kim-Mai (Apr 14, 2014). "How Burrowing Owls Lead To Vomiting Anarchists (Or SF's Housing Crisis Explained)". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 2014-04-30. Retrieved 2017-12-11. most parts of the country, home prices are at or near the raw costs of construction. But in places where zoning regulations create artificial limits on home production, the final prices to home buyers jump far above construction costs. In the 1980s and 1990s, they found that virtually all of San Francisco’s home prices were at least 140 percent above base construction costs. 
  11. ^ a b c Ohanian, Lee; Prescott, Edward (2017-12-01). "What in the Sam Hill Are Cows Doing on Sand Hill Road? They're eating the priciest grass in America, thanks to California's out-of-control land-use rules". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 2018-01-06. Retrieved 2018-05-23. If California rolled back its land rules to where they stood in 1980, our research estimates that the state’s population could ultimately grow to 18% of the country. U.S. gross domestic product could permanently increase by about 2%, or $375 billion. If every state rolled back land regulations to 1980 levels, GDP could rise by as much as $1.8 trillion.  Note: This article is behind a paywall.
  12. ^ Nagourney, Adam; Dougherty, Conor (2017-07-17). "The Cost of a Hot Economy in California: A Severe Housing Crisis". The New York Times Company. Archived from the original on 2017-08-11. Retrieved 2017-11-02. For California, this crisis is a price of this state’s economic boom. Tax revenue is up and unemployment is down. But the churning economy has run up against 30 years of resistance to the kind of development experts say is urgently needed. California has always been a desirable place to live and over the decades has gone through periodic spasms of high housing costs, but officials say the combination of a booming economy and the lack of construction of homes and apartments have combined to make this the worst housing crisis here in memory. 
  13. ^ a b Clark, Patrick (2017-06-23). "Why Can't They Build More Homes Where the Jobs Are?". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 2017-08-28. Retrieved 2017-12-01. San Francisco's metropolitan area added 373,000 net new jobs in the last five years—but issued permits for only 58,000 units of new housing. The lack of new construction has exacerbated housing costs in the Bay Area, making the San Francisco metro among the cruelest markets in the U.S. Over the same period, Houston added 346,000 jobs and permitted 260,000 new dwellings, five times as many units per new job as San Francisco. 
  14. ^ a b c d Chronicle Editorial Board (2018-05-11). "Editorial: The Bay Area's housing crisis has become an emergency". The San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2018-05-15. Retrieved 2018-05-15. 
  15. ^ See the section on Effects for a more thorough explanation of these issues with sources cited.
  16. ^ U.S. Census Bureau (2000-06-01). "Historical Census of Housing Tables Home Values". Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  17. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. "MEDIAN HOUSING VALUE OF OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSING UNITS". American Community Survey. Retrieved 2018-06-13. 
  18. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2018. 
  19. ^ a b c "Table 12-13". United States Summary: 2010 Population and Housing Unit Counts (PDF). United States Census Bureau. 2012. p. 30. Retrieved 2018-06-15. 
  20. ^ a b c Annual Estimates of Housing Units for the United States, Regions, Divisions, States, and Counties: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2017 (Report). United States Census Bureau. 2017-07-01. Retrieved 2018-06-15. 
  21. ^ a b Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2017 (Report). United States Census Bureau. 2017-07-01. Retrieved 2018-06-15. 
  22. ^ Romem, Issi (2018-03-28). "California's Housing Prices Need to Come Down". CityLab - The Atlantic Monthly. Archived from the original on 2018-03-30. Retrieved 2018-05-03. 
  23. ^ "MEDIAN HOUSING VALUE OF OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSING UNITS (DOLLARS)". American Fact Finder. U.S. Census Bureau. 2016. Retrieved 2018-06-17. 
  24. ^ Dougherty, Conor (2017-12-01). "The Great American Single-Family Home Problem". The New York Times Company. Archived from the original on 2017-12-04. Retrieved 2017-12-05. Around the country, many fast-growing metropolitan areas are facing a brutal shortage of affordable places to live, leading to gentrification, homelessness, even disease. As cities struggle to keep up with demand, they have remade their skylines with condominium and apartment towers — but single-family neighborhoods, where low-density living is treated as sacrosanct, have rarely been part of the equation. 
  25. ^ a b Saltsman, Michael (2016-06-05). "Unions' fight against affordable housing". The Orange County Register. Archived from the original on 2017-11-08. Retrieved 2017-11-07. 
  26. ^ Dillon, Liam (2017-07-28). "A Bay Area developer wants to build 4,400 sorely needed homes. Here's why it won't happen". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2017-09-01. Retrieved 2018-06-16. 
  27. ^ Keyser Marston Associates, Inc. (March 2016). "Preliminary Assessment of Fiscal Impacts: Brisbane Baylands" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-08-22. Retrieved 2018-06-16. 
  28. ^ Hart, Angela (2017-08-21). "How California's housing crisis happened". The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on 2017-10-01. Retrieved 2018-01-28. Residential property is valued at a staggering $150,000 per acre or more in California’s coastal regions, compared to $20,000 per acre, on average, in other large metropolitan areas of the country. 
  29. ^ Veklerov, Kimberly (2016-06-24). "Massive development may come to long-blighted East Oakland site". The San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2017-06-24. Retrieved 2017-11-10. And though SunCal would eventually pay almost $20 million in fees to a city affordable housing fund, all of the 935 homes would be sold at market rate,... 
  30. ^ Li, Roland (2016-10-26). "Housing development's latest enemy: Bay Area construction unions". San Francisco Business Times. Archived from the original on 2017-06-29. Retrieved 2018-01-07. Angered by some developers’ attempts to use cheaper non-union labor, Bay Area construction unions have filed appeals challenging projects’ approvals and allied themselves with community groups who oppose the projects for different reasons. Labor groups are also fighting policies that supporters say would help address the region’s housing crisis, such as more use of modular housing and streamlined project approvals. It’s a high-stakes game: Unions say the appeals give them leverage to pressure developers to commit to using union labor and to hire locally. 
  31. ^ a b "Housing Affordability Index - Traditional". California Association of Realtors. Retrieved 2018-06-16. C.A.R.'s Traditional Housing Affordability Index (HAI) measures the percentage of households that can afford to purchase the median priced home in the state and regions of California based on traditional assumptions. 
  32. ^ Bennet, Sydney (2018-04-24). "Rise of the Super Commuters". Rentonomics. Retrieved 2018-06-16. 
  33. ^ Uhler, Brian; Garosi, Justin (2018-02-21). "California Losing Residents Via Domestic Migration [EconTax Blog]". Legislative Analyst's Office. Retrieved 2018-06-16. 
  34. ^ "Supplemental Poverty Measure". United States Census Bureau. 2017-03-16. Retrieved 2018-01-04. The official poverty measure, which has been in use since the 1960s, estimates poverty rates by looking at a family's or an individual's cash income. The new measure is a more complex statistic incorporating additional items such as tax payments and work expenses in its family resource estimates. Thresholds used in the new measure are derived from Consumer Expenditure Survey expenditure data on basic necessities (food, shelter, clothing and utilities) and are adjusted for geographic differences in the cost of housing. 
  35. ^ Levin, Matt (2017-09-28). "How sky-high housing costs make California the poorest state". Bay Area News Group. Archived from the original on 2017-09-28. Retrieved 2017-11-09. When the cost of living is factored in, the Golden State has the highest poverty rate in the country. ... California has been the poorest state in the nation under the vastly more sophisticated “supplemental” poverty measure since the alternative statistic was created... The Census uses data dating to 2011 to calculate the cost of living, so even the improved poverty rate could be underestimating how big a drain housing has been on California’s poor. 
  36. ^ Huang, Josie (2017-09-12). "California's housing costs are driving its No. 1 poverty ranking". Southern California Public Radio. Archived from the original on 2017-10-05. Retrieved 2017-11-07. 
  37. ^ Levin, Matt (2017-09-28). "How sky-high housing costs make California the poorest state". Bay Area News Group. Archived from the original on 2017-09-28. Retrieved 2017-11-09. One method: What would poverty look like if everyone in California had cheaper rents? Researchers at the Public Policy Institute of California, which has developed its own California-specific alternative poverty measure, tried to simulate an answer to that question. Researchers there ran a model of the state’s poverty rate with every Californian bearing a cost of living similar to that in Fresno County, where a family of four making about $25,000 a year would not be considered poor. The result? The overall poverty rate drops dramatically (from about 21 percent to 14 percent)... 
  38. ^ a b Hart, Angela (2017-08-21). "How California's housing crisis happened". The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on 2017-10-01. Retrieved 2018-01-28. California is home to 12 percent of the U.S. population, but 22 percent of its homeless people. Cities that have seen dramatic rent increases, such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, attribute their spikes in homelessness directly to a state housing shortage that has led to an unprecedented affordability crisis. 
  39. ^ Nichols, Chris (2018-03-27). "Has California's homeless population 'skyrocketed'? And how does it rate nationwide?". PolitiFact California. Archived from the original on 2018-04-02. Retrieved 2018-05-24. California has the third highest rate nationally with 34 in every 10,000 people in the state experiencing homelessness. Two states are worse off: New York and Hawaii. New York ranks second with 45 homeless people per 10,000. Hawaii, meanwhile, ranks first with 51 per 10,000. 
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