Oakland, California facts for kids

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Oakland, California
Charter city
City of Oakland
Oakland skyline, with the old eastern span of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge in background
Oakland skyline, with the old eastern span of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge in background
Flag of Oakland, California
Flag
Official seal of Oakland, California
Seal
Coat of arms of Oakland, California
Coat of arms
Official logo of Oakland, California
Wordmark
Nickname(s): "Oaktown", "The Town", "Bump City"
Motto: "Love Life"
Location in Alameda County and the U.S. state of California
Location in Alameda County and the U.S. state of California
Country  United States
State  California
County Flag of Alameda County, California.png Alameda
Region San Francisco Bay Area
Incorporated May 4, 1852
Area
 • Total 78.002 sq mi (202.024 km2)
 • Land 55.786 sq mi (144.485 km2)
 • Water 22.216 sq mi (57.54 km2)  28.48%
Elevation 43 ft (13 m)
Population (April 1, 2010)
 • Total 390,724
 • Estimate (2015) 419,267
 • Rank 1st in Alameda County
8th in California
45th in the United States
 • Density 7,417/sq mi (2,864/km2)
Demonym(s) Oaklander
Time zone Pacific (UTC−8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
ZIP codes 94601–94615, 94617–94624, 94649, 94659–94662, 94666
Area code 510
FIPS code 06-53000
GNIS feature IDs 277566, 2411292
Website www.oaklandnet.com

Oakland /ˈklənd/ is the largest city and the county seat of Alameda County, California, United States. A major West Coast port city, Oakland is the largest city in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, the third largest city overall in the San Francisco Bay Area, the eighth largest city in California, and the 45th largest city in the United States, with a population of 419,267 as of 2015. It serves as a trade center for the San Francisco Bay Area; its Port of Oakland is the busiest port in the San Francisco Bay, the entirety of Northern California, and the fifth busiest in the United States. The city was incorporated in 1852.

Oakland's territory covers what was once a mosaic of California coastal terrace prairie, oak woodland, and north coastal scrub. Its land served as a rich resource when its hillside oak and redwood timber were logged to build San Francisco, and Oakland's fertile flatland soils helped it become a prolific agricultural region. In the late 1860s, Oakland was selected as the western terminal of the Transcontinental Railroad. Following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, many San Francisco citizens moved to Oakland, enlarging the city's population, increasing its housing stock and improving its infrastructure. It continued to grow in the 20th century with its busy port, shipyards, and a thriving automobile manufacturing industry.

Oakland is known for its sustainability practices, including a top-ranking for usage of electricity from renewable resources. Oakland is also known for its history of political activism, as well as its professional sports franchises (Such as the Oakland Raiders, Oakland Athletics and the Golden State Warriors) and major corporations, which include health care, dot-com companies, and manufacturers of household products. In addition, due to a steady influx of immigrants during the 20th century, along with thousands of African-American war-industry workers who relocated from the Deep South during the 1940s. Oakland is the most ethnically diverse major city in the country.

History

See also: History of Oakland, California and Timeline of Oakland, California

Pre-incorporation

The earliest known inhabitants were the Huchiun Indians, who lived there for thousands of years. The Huchiun belonged to a linguistic grouping later called the Ohlone (a Miwok word meaning "western people"). In Oakland, they were concentrated around Lake Merritt and Temescal Creek, a stream that enters the San Francisco Bay at Emeryville.

In 1772, the area that later became Oakland was claimed, with the rest of California, by Spanish settlers for the King of Spain. In the early 19th century, the Spanish crown granted the East Bay area to Luis María Peralta for his Rancho San Antonio. The grant was confirmed by the successor Mexican republic upon its independence from Spain. Upon his death in 1842, Peralta divided his land among his four sons. Most of Oakland fell within the shares given to Antonio Maria and Vicente. The portion of the parcel that is now Oakland was called encinal—Spanish for "oak grove"—due to the large oak forest that covered the area, which eventually led to the city's name.

City beginnings

1857 U.S. Coast Survey Map of San Antonio Creek and Oakland, California (near San Francisco) - Geographicus - SanAntonioCreek-uscs-1857
1857 Map of Oakland

In 1851, three men—Horace Carpentier, Edson Adams, and Andrew Moon—began developing what is now downtown Oakland. On May 4, 1852, the Town of Oakland incorporated. Two years later, on March 25, 1854, Oakland re-incorporated as the City of Oakland, with Horace Carpentier elected the first mayor, though a scandal ended his mayorship in less than a year. The city and its environs quickly grew with the railroads, becoming a major rail terminal in the late 1860s and 1870s. In 1868, the Central Pacific constructed the Oakland Long Wharf at Oakland Point, the site of today's Port of Oakland.

A number of horsecar and cable car lines were constructed in Oakland during the latter half of the 19th century. The first electric streetcar set out from Oakland to Berkeley in 1891, and other lines were converted and added over the course of the 1890s. The various streetcar companies operating in Oakland were acquired by Francis "Borax" Smith and consolidated into what eventually became known as the Key System, the predecessor of today's publicly owned AC Transit.

1900–1950s

Oakland Chevrolet factory c.1917
One day's output of 1917 Chevrolet automobiles at their major West Coast plant, now the location of Eastmont Town Center

At the time of incorporation, Oakland consisted of the territory that lay south of today's major intersection of San Pablo Avenue, Broadway, and Fourteenth Street. The city gradually annexed farmlands and settlements to the east and the north. Oakland's rise to industrial prominence, and its subsequent need for a seaport, led to the digging of a shipping and tidal channel in 1902. This resulted in the nearby town of Alameda being made an island. In 1906, the city's population doubled with refugees made homeless after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire.

In 1916, General Motors opened a major automobile factory in East Oakland called Oakland Assembly. It produced Chevrolet cars and then GMC trucks until 1963, when it was moved to Fremont in southern Alameda County. Also in 1916, the Fageol Motor Company chose East Oakland for their first factory, manufacturing farming tractors from 1918 to 1923. By 1920, Oakland was the home of numerous manufacturing industries, including metals, canneries, bakeries, internal combustion engines, automobiles, and shipbuilding. By 1929, when Chrysler expanded with a new plant there, Oakland had become known as the "Detroit of the West," referring to the major auto manufacturing center in Michigan.

Oakland expanded during the 1920s, as its population expanded with factory workers. Approximately 13,000 homes were built in the 3 years between 1921 and 1924, more than during the 13 years between 1907 and 1920. Many of the large downtown office buildings, apartment buildings, and single-family houses still standing in Oakland were built during the 1920s; they reflect the architectural styles of the time.

Oakland tribune tower detail
In 1924, the Tribune Tower was completed; in 1976, it was restored and declared an Oakland landmark. It is no longer used by the Oakland Tribune.

Russell Clifford Durant established Durant Field at 82nd Avenue and East 14th Street in 1916. The first transcontinental airmail flight finished its journey at Durant Field on August 9, 1920, flown by Army Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker and Navy Lt. Bert Acosta. Durant Field was often called Oakland Airport, though the current Oakland International Airport was soon established four miles (6.4 km) to the southwest.

During World War II, the East Bay Area was home to many war-related industries. Oakland's Moore Dry Dock Company expanded its shipbuilding capabilities and built over 100 ships. Valued at $100 million in 1943, Oakland's canning industry was its second-most-valuable war contribution after shipbuilding. The largest canneries were in the Fruitvale District, and included the Josiah Lusk Canning Company, the Oakland Preserving Company (which started the Del Monte brand), and the California Packing Company.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt called on defense industries with government contracts to integrate their workforces and provide opportunities for all Americans. Tens of thousands of laborers were attracted from around the country, and especially poor whites and blacks from the Deep South: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas, as well as Missouri and Tennessee. Henry J. Kaiser's representatives recruited sharecroppers and tenant farmers from rural areas to work in his shipyards. African Americans were part of the Great Migration by which a total of five million persons left the South, mostly for the West, in the years from 1940 to 1970. White migrants from the Jim Crow South carried their racial attitudes, causing tensions to rise among black and white workers competing for the better-paying jobs in the Bay Area. The racial harmony that Oakland blacks had been accustomed to prior to the war evaporated. Also migrating to the area during this time were many Mexican Americans from southwestern states such as New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado. Many worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad, at its major rail yard in West Oakland. Their young men encountered hostility and discrimination by Armed Forces personnel, and tensions broke out in "zoot suit riots" in downtown Oakland in 1943 in the wake of a major disturbance in Los Angeles that year.

Merrittview
View of Lake Merritt looking southwest from the northeastern tip of the lake

In 1946, National City Lines (NCL), a General Motors holding company, acquired 64% of Key System stock; during the next several years NCL engaged in the conspiratorial dissolution of Oakland's electric streetcar system. The city's expensive electric streetcar fleet was converted to the cheaper diesel buses. The state Legislature created the Alameda and Contra Costa Transit District in 1955, which operates today as AC Transit, the third-largest bus-only transit system in the nation.

Soon after the war, as Oakland's shipbuilding industry declined and the automobile industry went through restructuring, many jobs were lost. Economic competition increased racial tension. In addition, labor unrest increased as workers struggled to protect their livelihoods. Oakland was the center of a general strike during the first week of December 1946, one of six cities across the country that had such a strike after World War II.

1960–1999

In 1960, Kaiser Corporation erected its headquarters; it was the largest skyscraper in Oakland, as well as "the largest office tower west of Chicago" up to that time. In the postwar period, suburban development increased around Oakland, and wealthier residents moved to new housing. Despite the major increases in the number and proportion of African Americans in the city, in 1966 only 16 of the city's 661 police officers were black. Tensions between the black community and the largely white police force were high, as expectations during the civil rights era increased to gain social justice and equality before the law. Police abuse of blacks was common.

Students Huey Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party at Merritt College to emphasize black power and taking care of their own community. Among their social programs were feeding children and providing other services to the needy.

In 1980 Oakland's black population reached its 20th-century peak at approximately 47% of the overall city population.

The 6.9 Mw Loma Prieta earthquake occurred on October 17, 1989. The rupture was related to the San Andreas fault system and affected the entire San Francisco Bay Area with a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent). Many structures in Oakland were badly damaged including the double-decker portion of Interstate 880 that collapsed. The eastern span of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge also sustained damage and was closed to traffic for one month.

On October 20, 1991, a massive firestorm swept down from the Berkeley/Oakland hills above the Caldecott Tunnel. Twenty-five people were killed, 150 people were injured, and nearly 4,000 homes destroyed. With the loss of life and an estimated economic loss of US$1.5 billion, this was the worst urban firestorm in American history.

During the mid-1990s, Oakland's economy began to recover as it transitioned to new types of jobs. In addition, the city participated in large development and urban renewal projects, concentrated especially in the downtown area, at the Port of Oakland, and at the Oakland International Airport.

2000s

Oak Tree growing in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
Oak Tree growing in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza

After his 1999 inauguration, Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown continued his predecessor Elihu Harris' public policy of supporting downtown housing development in the area defined as the Central Business District in Oakland's 1998 General Plan. Brown's plan and other redevelopment projects were controversial due to potential rent increases and gentrification, which would displace lower-income residents from downtown Oakland into outlying neighborhoods and cities. The economic crises in 2001 and 2008 hampered Oakland's recovery as these downturns resulted in lowered sales, rentals and occupancy of the new housing, and slower growth and economic recovery than expected.

Due to allegations of misconduct by the Oakland Police Department, the City of Oakland has paid claims for a total of US$57 million during the 2001–2011 timeframe to plaintiffs claiming police abuse; this is the largest sum paid by any city in California. On October 10, 2011, protesters and civic activists began "Occupy Oakland" demonstrations at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Downtown Oakland.

Geography

Aerial view of city of Oakland 1
Aerial view of Downtown

Oakland is in the eastern region of the San Francisco Bay. In 1991 the City Hall tower was at (NAD83). (The building still exists, but like the rest of the Bay Area, it has shifted northwest perhaps 0.6 meters in the last twenty years.)

The United States Census Bureau says the city's total area is 78.0 square miles (202 km2), including 55.8 square miles (145 km2) of land and 22.2 square miles (57 km2) (28.48 percent) of water.

Oakland's highest point is near Grizzly Peak Blvd, east of Berkeley, just over 1,760 feet (540 m) above sea level at about . Oakland has 19 miles (31 km) of shoreline, but Radio Beach is the only beach in Oakland.

Oaklanders refer to their city's terrain as "the flatlands" and "the hills". Until recent waves of gentrification, these terms also symbolized Oakland's deep economic divide, with "the hills" being more affluent communities. About two-thirds of Oakland lies in the flat plain of the East Bay, with one-third rising into the foothills and hills of the East Bay range.

Ruptures along the nearby San Andreas fault caused severe earth movement in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1906 and 1989. San Andreas quakes induces creep (movement occurring on earthquake faults) in the Hayward fault, which runs directly through Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose and other Bay Area cities.

Cityscape

Panorama of Oakland, California, from the top of Mountain View Cemetery
Lake Merritt panorama

Neighborhoods

Oakland Adams Point
The north end of the Adams Point district, as seen from Lakeshore Avenue on the east shore of the Lake
Upper Rockridge in Oakland, CA
Upper Rockridge

Oakland has more than 50 distinct neighborhoods. The greater divisions in the city include downtown Oakland and its greater Central Business District, Lake Merritt, East Oakland, North Oakland, West Oakland, and the Oakland Hills. East Oakland, which includes the East Oakland Hills, encompasses more than half of Oakland's land area, stretching from Lakeshore Avenue on the east shore of Lake Merritt southeast to the San Leandro border. North Oakland encompasses the neighborhoods between downtown and Berkeley and Emeryville. West Oakland is the area between downtown and the Bay, partially surrounded by the Oakland Point, and encompassing the Port of Oakland. In 2011, Oakland was ranked the 10th most walkable city in the United States.

Lake Merritt, an urban estuary near downtown, is a mix of fresh and salt water draining in and out from the Oakland Harbor at the San Francisco Bay and one of Oakland's most notable features. It was designated the United States' first official wildlife refuge in 1870. Originally a marsh-lined wildlife haven, Lake Merritt was dredged and bordered with parks from the 1890s to the 1910s. Despite this reduction in habitat, Oakland is home to a number of rare and endangered species, many of which are localized to serpentine soils and bedrock. Lake Merritt is surrounded by residential and business districts, including downtown and Grand Lake.

Lake Merritt, towards the southern end
Lake Merritt, towards the southern end

The city of Piedmont, incorporated in Oakland's central foothills after the 1906 earthquake, is a small independent city surrounded by the city of Oakland.

Climate and vegetation

Oakland has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate with an average of 260 sunny days per year. Lake Merritt, a large estuary centrally located east of Downtown, was designated as the United States' first official wildlife refuge.

Based on data gathered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Oakland is ranked No. 1 in climate among U.S. cities. Oakland's climate is typified by the temperate and seasonal Mediterranean climate. Summers are usually dry and warm and winters are mild and damp. It has features found in both nearby coastal cities such as San Francisco and inland cities such as San Jose, making it warmer than San Francisco and cooler than San Jose. Its position on San Francisco Bay across from the Bay Bridge means that the Northern part of the city can have cooling maritime fog. It is far enough inland that the fog often burns off by midday, allowing it to have typically sunny California days. The hills tend to have more fog than the flatlands, as the fog drifts down from Berkeley.

The U.S. Weather Bureau kept weather records in downtown Oakland from October 4, 1894, to July 31, 1958. During that time, the record high temperature was 104 °F (40 °C) on June 24, 1957, and the record low temperature was 24 °F (−4 °C) on January 23, 1949. Dry, warm offshore "Diablo" winds (similar to the Santa Ana winds of Southern California) sometimes occur, especially in fall, and raise the fire danger. In 1991, such an episode allowed the catastrophic Oakland Hills fire to spread and consume many homes. The wettest year was 1940 with 38.65 inches (982 mm) and the driest year was 1910 with 12.02 inches (305 mm). The most rainfall in one month was 15.35 inches (390 mm) in January 1911. The most rainfall in 24 hours was 4.27 inches (108 mm) on February 12, 1904. Rainfall near the bayfront is only 23 inches (580 mm), but is higher in the Oakland Hills to the east (up to 30 inches [760 mm]).

The higher rainfall in the hills supports woods of oak, madrona, pine, fir and a few redwood groves in the wetter areas. Before being logged in the 19th century, some of the tallest redwood trees in California (used for navigation by ships entering the Golden Gate) may have stood in the Oakland Hills. One old stump 30 feet (9.1 m) in diameter can be seen near Redwood Regional Park. Sunny, drier slopes are grassy or covered in scattered oaks and chaparral brush. Australian eucalyptus trees have been extensively planted in many areas, as they come from a similar climate.

The National Weather Service today has two official weather stations in Oakland: Oakland International Airport and the Oakland Museum (established 1970).

Climate data for Oakland Museum (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 78
(25.6)
81
(27.2)
88
(31.1)
97
(36.1)
105
(40.6)
106
(41.1)
103
(39.4)
99
(37.2)
109
(42.8)
103
(39.4)
84
(28.9)
75
(23.9)
109
(42.8)
Average high °F (°C) 58.1
(14.5)
61.6
(16.44)
63.9
(17.72)
66.3
(19.06)
68.7
(20.39)
71.5
(21.94)
72.0
(22.22)
73.0
(22.78)
74.1
(23.39)
71.7
(22.06)
64.6
(18.11)
58.3
(14.61)
67.0
(19.44)
Average low °F (°C) 44.3
(6.83)
46.8
(8.22)
48.5
(9.17)
50.0
(10)
52.7
(11.5)
55.0
(12.78)
56.2
(13.44)
57.5
(14.17)
57.1
(13.94)
54.4
(12.44)
49.1
(9.5)
44.7
(7.06)
51.4
(10.78)
Record low °F (°C) 30
(-1.1)
29
(-1.7)
34
(1.1)
37
(2.8)
43
(6.1)
48
(8.9)
51
(10.6)
50
(10)
48
(8.9)
43
(6.1)
36
(2.2)
26
(-3.3)
26
(-3.3)
Rainfall inches (mm) 4.71
(119.6)
4.50
(114.3)
3.39
(86.1)
1.42
(36.1)
0.77
(19.6)
0.12
(3)
Trace 0.06
(1.5)
0.25
(6.4)
1.37
(34.8)
2.89
(73.4)
4.48
(113.8)
23.96
(608.6)
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.01 in) 10.8 10.5 10.6 5.9 3.4 1.0 0.1 0.4 1.2 3.6 7.9 10.4 65.8
Source: NOAA (extremes 1970–present)

In 1991, an urban conflagration, the Oakland Hills Fire, destroyed nearly 4,000 homes and killed twenty-five people in the Oakland hills range; it was the worst urban firestorm in American history.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 1,543
1870 10,500 580.5%
1880 34,555 229.1%
1890 48,682 40.9%
1900 66,960 37.5%
1910 150,174 124.3%
1920 216,261 44.0%
1930 284,063 31.4%
1940 302,163 6.4%
1950 384,575 27.3%
1960 367,548 −4.4%
1970 361,561 −1.6%
1980 339,337 −6.1%
1990 372,242 9.7%
2000 399,484 7.3%
2010 390,724 −2.2%
Est. 2015 419,267 7.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

Race and ethnicity

Racial composition 2010 1990 1970 1940
White 34.5% 32.5% 59.1% 95.3%
—Non-Hispanic 25.9% 28.3% 52.0% n/a
Black or African American 34.0% 43.9% 34.5% 2.8%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 25.4% 13.9% 7.6% n/a
Asian 16.8% 14.8% 4.8%

The 2010 United States Census reported that Oakland had a population of 390,724. The population density was 5,009.2 inhabitants per square mile (1,934.1/km2). The racial makeup of Oakland was 134,925 (34.5%) White (non-Hispanic White 25.9%), 129,471 (34.0%) African American, 3,040 (0.8%) Native American, 65,811 (16.8%) Asian (8.7% Chinese, 2.2% Vietnamese, 1.6% Filipino, 0.7% Cambodian, 0.7% Laotian, 0.6% Korean, 0.5% Japanese, 0.5% Indian, 0.1% Mongolian), 2,222 (0.6%) Pacific Islander (0.3% Tongan), 53,378 (13.7%) from other races, and 21,877 (5.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 99,068 persons (25.4%). 18.1% of the population were of Mexican descent, 1.9% Salvadoran, 1.3% Guatemalan, and 0.7% Puerto Rican.

Demographic profile 2010
Total Population 390,724 – 100%
One Race 368,847 – 94%
Not Hispanic or Latino 291,656 – 75%
Black or African American alone 129,471 – 34%
White 101,308 – 26%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone 1,214 – 0.3%
Asian alone 65,127 – 17%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone 2,081 – 0.5%
Some other race alone 1,213 – 0.3%
Two or more races alone 14,076 – 3.6%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 99,068 – 25.4%

Educational attainment and income

Oakland has the fifth largest cluster of "elite zip codes" ranked by the number of households with the highest combination of income and education. 37.9% of residents over 25 years of age have bachelor's degree or higher. Oakland ranked among the top cities with residents with bachelor's degrees and graduate degrees per square mile.

Oakland ranks in the top 20 of American cities in median household income, with a 2012 value of US$51,863. In 2012, the median income for a household in the city was US$51,863 and the median income for a family was US$59,459. The mean income for a household was US$77,888 and the mean income for a family was US$90,948. Males had a median income of US$50,140 versus US$50,304 for females. The unemployment rate as of December 2013 was 9.7%.

In 2007 approximately 15.3 percent of families and 17.0 percent of the general population were below the poverty line, including 27.9 percent of those under age 18 and 13.1 percent of those age 65 or over. 0.7% of the population is homeless. Home ownership is 41% and 14% of rental units are subsidized.

As of the census of 2000, 19.4% of the population and 16.2% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 27.9% of those under the age of 18 and 13.1% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Households

The census reported that 382,586 people (97.9% of the population) lived in households, 5,675 (1.5%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 2,463 (0.6%) were institutionalized.

There were 153,791 households, out of which 44,762 (29.1%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 50,797 (33.0%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 24,122 (15.7%) had a female householder with no husband present, 8,799 (5.7%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 11,289 (7.3%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 3,442 (2.2%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 52,103 households (33.9%) were made up of individuals and 13,778 (9.0%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49. There were 83,718 families (54.4% of all households); the average family size was 3.27.

The population was spread out with 83,120 people (21.3%) under the age of 18, 36,272 people (9.3%) aged 18 to 24, 129,139 people (33.1%) aged 25 to 44, 98,634 people (25.2%) aged 45 to 64, and 43,559 people (11.1%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.2 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.8 males.

There were 169,710 housing units at an average density of 2,175.7 per square mile (840.0/km2), of which 63,142 (41.1%) were owner-occupied, and 90,649 (58.9%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 3.0%; the rental vacancy rate was 8.5%. 166,662 people (42.7% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 215,924 people (55.3%) lived in rental housing units.

Shifting of cultures

Oakland is one of the most ethnically diverse major cities in the country. Oakland was ranked the fourth most diverse city in America, with an overall diversity score of 91.4. The city's formerly most populous ethnic group, whites, declined from 95.3% in 1940 to 32.5% by 1990, due to a combination of factors, such as suburbanization. Oakland became a destination for African Americans in the Great Migration during and after World War II as they gained high-paying jobs in the defense industry. Since the 1960s, Oakland has been known as a center of Northern California's African-American community.

Between 2000 and 2010 Oakland's black population decreased by nearly 25 percent. The city's demographics have changed due to a combination of rising housing prices associated with gentrification and with blacks relocating to better housing in Bay Area suburbs or moving to the Southern United States in a reverse migration, where conditions are considered to have improved. Blacks have formed a plurality in Oakland for many years, peaking in 1980 at about 47% of the population.

In the 2010 census African Americans maintained their status as Oakland's single largest ethnic group, with 27% of the population, followed by non-Hispanic whites at 25.9%, and Hispanics of any race at 25.4%. Ethnic Asians constitute 17%, followed by smaller minority groups.

Recent trends and cultural shifts have led to a decline among some of Oakland's longstanding black institutions, such as churches, businesses and nightclubs, which had developed during the growing years of the 1950s through 1970. Some long-time black residents have been dismayed at the population changes.

Many immigrants have settled in the city. In recent years, immigrants and others have marched by the thousands down Oakland's International Boulevard in support of legal reforms benefiting illegal immigrants.

An analysis by the Urban Institute of U.S. Census 2000 numbers showed that Oakland had the third-highest concentration of gays and lesbians among the 50 largest U.S. cities, behind San Francisco and Seattle. Census data showed that, among incorporated places that have at least 500 female couples, Oakland had the nation's largest proportion. In the 2000 census, 2,650 lesbian couples identified as such in Oakland; one in every 41 Oakland couples identified as a same-sex female partnership.

Tourism

View from Tribune Tower
View from Tribune Tower at night

In 2013, over 2.5 million people visited Oakland, injecting US$1.3 billion into the economy. Oakland has been experiencing an increase in hotel demand. Occupancy is 74%, while RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room) increased by 14%, the highest increase of any big city in the western region of the United States. Both Oakland and San Francisco were forecasted to experience the highest increases in ADR (Average daily rate).

In recent years, Oakland has gained national recognition as a travel destination. In 2012, Oakland was named the top North American city to visit, highlighting its growing number of sophisticated restaurants and bars, top music venues, and increasing nightlife appeal. Oakland also took the No. 16 spot in "America's Coolest Cities," ranked by metrics like entertainment options and recreational opportunities per capita, etc. In 2013, Oakland topped the No. 1 spot in "America's Most Exciting Cities," notably having the most movie theaters, theater companies, and museums per square mile. In "America's Most Hipster Cities," Oakland took the number-5 spot, cited for luring San Francisco "hippies" into the city. Oakland has also increased its travel destination allure internationally.

Arts and culture

Oakland has a significant art scene and claims the highest concentration of artists per capita in the United States. In 2013, Oakland was designated as one of America's top twelve art communities, recognizing Downtown (including Uptown), Chinatown, Old Oakland, and Jack London Square as communities "that have most successfully combined art, artists and venues for creativity and expression with independent businesses, retail shops and restaurants, and a walkable lifestyle to make vibrant neighborhoods." Galleries exist in various parts of Oakland, with the newest additions centered mostly in the Uptown area. Oakland ranked 11th in cities for designers and artists. The city is a renowned culinary hotbed,offering both a wide variety and innovative approaches to diverse cuisines in restaurants and markets, often featuring locally grown produce and international styles such as French, Italian, Iberian, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, African-Caribbean, Southern/French African-American fusions, etc. that reflect the city's ethnically diverse population. Historically a focal point of the West Coast blues and jazz scenes, Oakland is also home to musicians representing such genres as rhythm and blues, gospel, funk, punk, heavy metal, Rap/Gangsta rap, and hip hop.

Attractions

Oakland FrankOgawaTorii 20150924 (22041135940)
Frank H. Ogawa Memorial Torii at the Gardens of Lake Merritt
  • African American Museum and Library at Oakland
  • All Out Comedy Theater
  • AXIS Dance Company
  • Chabot Space and Science Center
  • Children's Fairyland
  • Chinatown
  • Dunsmuir House
  • Fox Oakland Theatre, concert venue
  • Jack London Square
  • Joaquin Miller Park
  • Lake Merritt, Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, oldest wildlife/bird sanctuary in North America, Lake Merritt Garden Center, Bonsai Garden
  • Lake Temescal
  • Mountain View Cemetery, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and resting place of many famous Californians
  • Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, home of baseball's Oakland Athletics, and the Oakland Raiders of the NFL
  • Oakland Aviation Museum
  • Oakland Museum of California
  • Oakland Public Library
  • Oakland Symphony
  • Oakland Zoo
  • Oracle Arena, directly adjacent to the Oakland Coliseum, home to the Golden State Warriors of the NBA
  • Paramount Theatre
  • Pardee Home
  • Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, Museum of History and Culture
  • Redwood Regional Park
  • Preservation Park
  • USS Potomac, Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidential yacht

Nightlife

Oaklandatnight02192006
A night view of the Downtown skyline and Lakeside Apartments District as seen from the East 18th Street Pier

Downtown Oakland has an assortment of bars, and nightclubs. They include dive bars, dance clubs, modern lounges and jazz bars. The Paramount Theater features headlining musical tours and productions, while Fox Oakland Theatre draws various musical genres including jam bands, rock, punk, blues, jazz, and reggae. The Paramount and Fox theaters often book simultaneous events, creating busy nights uptown. In 2012, Oakland was dubbed a "New Sin City", following its 2010 decision to relax its cabaret laws, which gave a boost to its nightclub and bar scene.

Recent years have seen the growth of the Oakland Art Murmur event, occurring in the Uptown neighborhood the first Friday evening of every month. The event attracts around 20,000 people along twenty city blocks, featuring live performances, food trucks, and over 30 galleries and venues.

"There is no there there"

The HERETHERE sculpture straddling the Oakland-Berkeley border

Gertrude Stein wrote about Oakland in her 1937 book Everybody's Autobiography "There is no there there," upon learning that the neighborhood where she lived as a child had been torn down to make way for an industrial park. The quote is sometimes misconstrued to refer to Oakland as a whole.

Modern-day Oakland has turned the quote on its head, with a statue downtown titled "There." In 2005 a sculpture called HERETHERE was installed by the City of Berkeley on the Berkeley-Oakland border at Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The sculpture consists of eight-foot-tall letters spelling "HERE" and "THERE" in front of the BART tracks as they descend from their elevated section in Oakland to the subway through Berkeley.

Parks and recreation

Moss mansion
J. Mora Moss House in Mosswood Park was built in 1864 by San Francisco businessman Joseph Moravia Moss in the Carpenter Gothic style. The building houses Parks and Recreation offices and storage.

Parks

Oakland has many parks and recreation centers which total 5,937 acres (2,403 ha). In its 2013 ParkScore ranking, The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization, reported that Oakland had the 18th best park system among the 50 most populous U.S. cities. In 2013, Oakland ranked 4th among American cities as an urban destination for nature lovers.

Some of the city's most notable parks include:

  • Joaquin Miller Park
  • Joseph Knowland State Arboretum and Park, home of the Oakland Zoo
  • Lake Merritt
  • Morcom Rose Garden best from July through October
  • Mosswood Park
  • Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, headquarters of the Peralta rancho, Rancho San Antonio
  • William Joseph McInnes Botanic Garden and Campus Arboretum, located on the Mills College campus

Additionally, the following seven East Bay Regional Parks are located entirely or partially in the city of Oakland:

  • Anthony Chabot Regional Park
  • Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve
  • Leona Canyon Regional Open Space Preserve
  • Redwood Regional Park
  • Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
  • Roberts Regional Recreation Area
  • Temescal Regional Park
French Trail, Redwood Regional Park
French Trail, Redwood Regional Park
The Cascade Waterfall
The Cascade Waterfall, Joaquin Miller Park

Places of worship

Major places of worship in Oakland include: Oakland City Church, First Congregational Church of Oakland, Evangelistic Outreach Center, Green Pastures, the Presbyterian, First Presbyterian Church of Oakland; Greek Orthodox Ascension Cathedral; the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Christ the Light; the United Methodist Chinese Community Church; the Unitarian First Unitarian Church; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' Oakland California Temple; the Muslim, 31st Street Islamic Center, Light-House Mosque; the Reform Jewish Temple Sinai; the Conservative Jewish, Temple Beth Abraham; Allen Temple Baptist Church; and the Orthodox Jewish, Beth Jacob Congregation, American Baptist; Faith Baptist Church of Oakland, St. Paul Lutheran, His Gospel Christian Fellowship, six Kingdom Halls of Jehovah's Witnesses and St. Vartan Armenian Apostolic Church.

Sister cities

Oakland has 12 sister cities:

Country City Year of Partnership
 Japan Fukuoka 1962
 Ghana Sekondi Takoradi 1975
 China Dalian 1982
 Portugal Funchal 1999
 Cuba Santiago de Cuba 2000
 Vietnam Da Nang 2005
 Nigeria Benin City 2010
 Haiti Port-de-Paix 2011
 China Foshan
 Nigeria Bauchi
 Jamaica Ocho Rios
 Russia Nakhodka

Images for kids


Oakland, California Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.