U.S. Postal Service Data Suggests Significant Population Decline in San Francisco

Updated: Feb 18

  • The United States Postal Service received 124,131 change of address requests originating in San Francisco zip codes between March and November 2020

  • 94109 (Polk Gulch/Nob Hill), 94110 (Inner Mission), 94107 (Mission Bay), and 94103 (South of Market) recorded the greatest number of outbound requests

  • Among those that moved, many relocated outside of the City with Las Vegas, Florida and Denver among the most common out-of-state zip codes

Las Vegas is the number one out-of-state destination for residents leaving San Francisco, followed respectively by Palm Beach County, Fla., Seminole County, Fla., Denver metropolitan area and Beaverton, Ore., based on data provided by the United States Postal Service for the period from March 1, 2020 to Nov. 1, 2020.

The USPS received a total of 124,131 change of address requests originating in San Francisco zip codes between March and November, and a majority of those requests were directed to new addresses outside of the City.

At least 34,803 of the address change requests, or 28%, were to new addresses within San Francisco, and the data shows a tremendous amount of movement in and out of specific neighborhoods. The USPS data showing moves within San Francisco zip codes did not include instances with 10 or fewer requests, so although not totally comprehensive, it nonetheless sheds light on where many of those moving trucks are headed.

The zip code 94109, or Polk Gulch/Nob Hill, recorded the greatest number of households* moving out, followed by zip codes 94110 (Inner Mission), 94107 (Mission Bay), and 94103 (South of Market).

In SF, housing inventory has risen 96% with a flood of new listings, according to a Zillow 2020 Urban-Suburban Market Report released in August. That might explain the influx of folks heading to different areas within the City. The top three most popular destination neighborhoods were Polk Gulch/Nob Hill (3,276 requests), Haight-Ashbury (2,729) and Lower Pacific Heights (2,399).

Looking at neighboring counties, 456 households were headed to new zip codes in Marin County between March and November. Mill Valley (94941) was the most popular destination, with an estimated 65.8% of Marin-bound households relocating there, followed by Belvedere-Tiburon, with 13.6% of households.

Still within the Bay Area, there were 608 households relocating to San Mateo County, 453 to Alameda County, and a mere 44 relocating to Contra Costa County.

Heading further north, 36 requests were directed to zip codes in Truckee (Nevada County, Calif.); 14 went to to Sacramento and 11 to Sonoma County.

*Defined as a USPS customer receiving mail. Because USPS does not specify the number of people included in an address change request, one request may indicate an individual, a couple or a family.

Image by Jake Buonemani
Image by Rasmus Gundorff Sæderup

Delivered To Your Inbox

Get a weekly briefing of San Francisco news and analysis, distilled into one email.