Los Gatos’ Demographics

Population: 33,102
Households: 12,855
Housing Units: 14,006
Source: California Department of Finance, 2023 Table E-5

Employed Residents: 16,305
Source: ACS 2022 5 year estimates

In 2020, 71.7% of Los Gatos’s population was White while 1.8% was African American, 17.2% was Asian, and 8.2% was Latinx. People of color in Los Gatos comprise a proportion below the overall proportion in the Bay Area as a whole.
Source: ACS 2022 5 year estimates

Rate of population growth, 2010 to 2020: 5.7%
Rate of housing unit addition, 2010 to 2020: 4.5%
Source: California Department of Finance, Table E-5

Over the same period, Los Gatos grew more slowly than Santa Clara County, which had a 9.2% population increase, or the nine-county Bay Area region, which had a 8.6% population increase.

The number of new homes built in Los Gatos and Santa Clara County has not kept pace with demand, resulting in longer commutes, increasing prices, and exacerbating issues of displacement and homelessness.


Housing Types in Los Gatos

It is important to have a variety of housing types to meet the needs of a community today and in the future. In 2022, 59.3% of homes in Los Gatos were single family detached (generally the most expensive type of home), 13.4% were single family attached, 8.7% were small multifamily (2-4 units), 18.1% were medium or large multifamily (5+ units), and 0.44% were mobilehomes . Between 2010 and 2020, the number of single-family homes increased more than multi-family homes. In Los Gatos, the share of the housing stock that is detached single family homes is higher than the average of other jurisdictions in the region.
Source: California Department of Finance, 2023 Table E-5

Jobs & Housing in Los Gatos

Jobs: 19,668
Employed Residents per Household:  1.27
Jobs per Employed Resident: 1.21
Jobs-Housing Balance Ratio: 1.53
Source: ACS 2022 5 year estimates

Note: Jobs-Housing Balance is a measurement used by planners that assumes that a balanced community is one where people can both live and work. This ratio compares the number of jobs in a community to the number of housing units.

Jobs-Housing Fit: 11.63 low wage jobs per low-cost rental unit
Source: Jobs from LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics 2021; households from U.S. Census, American Community Survey B25056, B25061

Note: Jobs-Housing Fit measures the mismatch between wages and housing affordability as the ratio of low-wage jobs (less than $3,333/month) to the number of low-cost rental units (less than $1,500/month). In Los Gatos, there are more than 6 low-wage workers competing for each affordable home.

Renting in Los Gatos

Percent of population that rents: 30.69%
Source: ACS 2022 5 year estimates

Median Monthly Rent (1 bedroom apartment): $2,375
Rent Change Year over Year: -5%
Source: Zumper, December 2023

Cost Burden in Los Gatos

Cost-Burdened (30% – 50% income spent on housing)
Renter Households: 34.15% of renter households (1,569)
Homeowner Households: 28.1% of homeowner households (2,322)

Severely Cost-Burdened (more than 50% of income spent on housing)
Renter Households: 17.13% of renter households (787)
Homeowner Households: 11.36% of homeowner households (939)
Source: ACS 2022 5 year estimates

Note: Current standards measure housing cost in relation to gross household income: households spending more than 30 percent of their income, including utilities, are generally considered to be overpaying or “cost burdened.” Severe cost burden occurs when households pay 50 percent or more of their gross income for housing. The impact of high housing costs falls disproportionately on extremely low-, very low-, and low-income households, especially renters. While some higher-income households may choose to spend greater portions of their income for housing, the cost burden for lower-income households reflects choices limited by a lack of a sufficient supply of housing affordable to these households.

Homelessness in Los Gatos

2022 Homeless people: 58 people, all unsheltered

2019 Homeless people: 16 people, all unsheltered
Source: 2019 and 2022 Homeless Point In Time Count

Overcrowding in Los Gatos

Total Rental Homes: 4,594
Overcrowded Rental Homes: 95
Severely Overcrowded Rental Homes: 165
Percent of Rental Homes, Overcrowded: 5.65%
Source: ACS 2022 5 year estimates

  • The U.S. Census defines an overcrowded unit as one occupied by 1.01 persons or more per room (excluding bathrooms and kitchens). Units with more than 1.5 persons per room are considered severely overcrowded.

Note: Overcrowding increases health and safety concerns and stresses the condition of the housing stock and infrastructure. Overcrowding is strongly related to household size (particularly for large and very-large households) and the availability of suitably sized housing. Overcrowding impacts both owners and renters; however, renters are generally more significantly impacted. 

2023-2031 Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) 

Every eight years, the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) process is used to assign each city and county in California their “fair share” of the region’s housing need, by income level. These homes are intended to address the housing shortage, meeting the needs of existing residents and accommodating projected growth in the region. 

The RHNA process is critical because state law requires each city and county to make a specific, actionable, and measurable plan, called a Housing Element, that complies with state law and addresses housing needs. It must identify enough sites to hold the RHNA, by income level, and create programs that remove barriers to housing production and protect residents vulnerable to displacement. Local jurisdictions must also take significant steps to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH), addressing racial and economic segregation and disparities in access to resources, and meeting the unique housing needs of residents in protected groups. The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is responsible for certifying Housing Element compliance with state law.

In the past, many cities and counties have fallen far short of their RHNA targets, as the Bay Area’s housing crisis continues to grow. In this planning cycle, new laws give HCD additional tools to provide technical assistance and hold jurisdictions accountable to their plans. Each spring, jurisdictions are required to complete an Annual Progress Report on the Housing Element, including the number of homes permitted by income level, program actions taken, and outcomes achieved. The table below shows Los Gatos’ target in the sixth cycle and progress to date in permitting new homes.

Los Gatos’ 2023-2031 RHNA TARGET AND PERMIT PROGRESS AS OF 12/2023
Affordability LevelRHNA TargetPermits IssuedProgress to Target
Very Low Income537142.6%
Low Income310113.5%
Moderate Income320154.7%
Above Moderate Income826253.0%

Permitting progress as of December 2023. Source: HCD 2023 Housing Element Implementation and APR Data Dashboard.

2014-2022 Regional Housing Needs Allocation

The table below shows Los Gatos’ final progress toward meeting the 2014-2022 RHNA.

Affordability LevelRHNA TargetPermits IssuedProgress to Target
Very Low Income2016331.3%
Low Income1121412.5%
Moderate Income132171129.5%
Above Moderate Income174509292.5%

Permitting progress as of December 2022. Source: HCD 5th Cycle 2022 Housing Element Implementation and APR Data Dashboard.

Current Affordable Housing Stock

Los Gatos 2023 Affordable Housing Inventory
Extremely Low-IncomeVery Low-IncomeLow-IncomeModerate IncomeTotal UnitsAffordable % of Total Housing Stock

SOURCE: Units reported in the Housing Element Annual Performance Report that received building permits through 2023 were added to the unit counts in the previously reported 2018 Base Year table.  This methodology necessarily means that any ELI units, if any, are included in the VLI category since that is how HCD has required production data to be reported.  The RHNA data on new units relies on self-reporting by jurisdiction and can include units for which building permits were issued that never got built.  The percentage of the total housing stock in the community is based the California Department of Finance’s Table E-5.

See more information on our affordable housing assets page.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

All California cities and counties are mandated to permit ADUs and JADUs according to state law. The Legislature further updated ADU and JADU law effective January 1, 2021 to clarify and improve various provisions in order to promote the development of ADUs and junior accessory dwelling units (JADUs). These include allowing ADUs and JADUs to be built concurrently with a single-family dwelling, opening areas where ADUs can be created to include all zoning districts that allow single-family and multifamily uses, modifying fees from utilities such as special districts and water corporations, limited exemptions or reductions in impact fees, and reduced parking requirements. Please see the Accessory Dwelling Unit Handbook (PDF) for more information for local government bodies and homeowners interested in adding an ADU or JADU to their property. Our partner, the Housing Trust of Silicon Valley has kicked-off a major initiative, Small Homes, Big Impact to support ADU development throughout Santa Clara County, including outreach and education, and potential new financing mechanisms.

Los Gatos ADUs Permitted: 2017 – 2023

HCD 2023 Housing Element Implementation and APR Data Dashboard.

Affordable Housing Policies

Housing Element Policies

The Housing Element of Los Gatos’ General Plan includes a number of policies in support of its affordable housing efforts.

  • Affordable Housing.  General policies supporting a variety of housing types, including a mix of rental and ownership products, and fully utilizing available funding to finance affordable housing development.
  • Homelessness.  Support for the County’s Continuum of Care plan and Destination: Home’s Housing 1000 campaign to provide housing opportunities for the homeless, including emergency shelter as well as transitional and permanent housing.
  • AHOZ Zoning District.  The Town created a new zoning district, called, Affordable Housing Overlay Zone (AHOZ), with higher densities, relaxed development standards and incentives to encourage affordable housing production (incentives include financial concessions, reductions in required parking and setbacks, increased allowed lot coverages, waiver or deferral of building plan-check and inspection fees as well as construction mitigation fees. In 2018, the Council voted to reduce the sites within the AHOZ from 5 to 1.
  • ELI Housing.  Town staff meets periodically with affordable housing developers to provide technical assistance; provides expedited application processing; identifies funding opportunities; and offers potential incentives similar to those offered in the AHOZ district. 
  • Density Bonus. The Town offers a density bonus of up to 100 percent for developments that include housing for seniors, the disabled and/or low-/very low-income households.

Additional Resources

Photo: Open Doors, MidPen Housing