The city I currently live in, San Francisco, and my home town of San Jose, are both among the wealthiest cities in California and the United States at large. Only an hour’s drive apart, the cities share the consequences of the economic boom from the Silicon Valley tech bubble. Then in 2015, Bloomberg named San Jose the richest metropolitan area in the country. Yet the affordable housing crisis, which San Francisco is infamous for, never felt as hot of a topic in San Jose. Though this might be common knowledge to locals, I wanted to comb through the numbers and see for myself what the data could tell me. The research would be used to create a data-driven portrait allowing viewers to visually explore the statistical relationships between the two cities and enabling them to draw conclusions based on the apparent similarities and differences.


Once I began researching, I immediately felt overwhelmed by the sea of digits and spreadsheets. Being discerning and organizing my notes helped tremendously. After navigating and digesting the data, I filtered out excess, nonessential information to narrow the scope of the visualization and construct a more coherent narrative. I decided to isolate three points of comparison relevant to the affordable housing crisis: demographics, housing, and geography. From the demographic information alone, the two Bay Area cities appear rather similar. While San Jose has a slightly larger population, both have relatively high median household incomes, as well as comparably educated populaces with similar occupation breakdowns. However, once housing and geography are taken into consideration, it seems as if someone tried to stuff the population of San Jose into a fourth of the space.