Santa Clara’s Demographics

Population: 132,476
Households: 49,598
Housing Units: 53,370
Source: California Department of Finance, 2023 Table E-5

Employed Residents: 74,297
Source: ACS 2022 5 year estimates

In 2022, 28.3% of Santa Clara’s population was White while 1.2% was African American, 51.9% was Asian, and 13.9% was Latinx. People of color in Santa Clara comprise a proportion above the overall proportion in the Bay Area as a whole.
Source: ACS 2022 5 year estimates

Rate of population growth, 2010 to 2020: 9.3%
Rate of housing unit addition, 2010 to 2020: 8.5%
Source: California Department of Finance, Table E-5

Over the same period, Santa Clara 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 Santa Clara 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 Santa Clara

It is important to have a variety of housing types to meet the needs of a community today and in the future. In 2022, 36.86% of homes in Santa Clara were single family detached (generally the most expensive type of home), 9.54% were single family attached, 9.31% were small multifamily (2-4 units), 44.22% were medium or large multifamily (5+ units), and 0.08% were mobilehomes. Between 2010 and 2020, the number of multi-family units increased more than single-family units. In Santa Clara, the share of the housing stock that is detached single family homes is lower than the average of other jurisdictions in the region.
Source: California Department of Finance, 2023 Table E-5

Jobs & Housing in Santa Clara

Jobs: 111,432
Employed Residents per Household: 1.49
Jobs per Employed Resident: 1.50
Jobs-Housing Balance Ratio: 2.09
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: 9.31 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 Santa Clara, there are more than 6 low-wage workers competing for each affordable home.

Renting in Santa Clara

Percent of population that rents: 54.61%
Source: ACS 2022 5 year estimates

Median Monthly Rent (1 bedroom apartment): $3,080
Rent Change Year over Year: -2%
Source: Zumper, December 2023

Cost Burden in Santa Clara

Cost-Burdened (30% – 50% income spent on housing)
Renter Households: 34.53% of renter households (10,052)
Homeowner Households: 19.89% of homeowner households (4,077)

Severely Cost-Burdened (more than 50% of income spent on housing)
Renter Households: 17.31% of renter households (5,041)
Homeowner Households: 9.89% of homeowner households (2,027)
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 Santa Clara

2022 Unhoused people: 440 people, including 375 unsheltered and 65 sheltered (+35% from 2019)

2019 Unhoused people: 326 people, including 264 unsheltered and 62 sheltered (+20% from 2017)
Source: 2019 and 2022 Homeless Point In Time Count

Overcrowding in Santa Clara

Total Rental Homes: 29,108
Overcrowded Rental Homes: 1,422
Severely Overcrowded Rental Homes: 1,766
Percent of Rental Homes, Overcrowded: 10.95%
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. 

2014-2022 Regional Housing Needs Allocation 

Every eight years, the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) process is used to assign each city and county in California their “fair share” of new housing units to build. These units of housing are intended to accommodate existing need and projected growth in the region. The RHNA process is critical because it requires all cities and counties to plan for the housing needs of their residents, regardless of income, in an effort to plan for future growth and ease the Bay Area’s acute housing crisis. 

Many cities and counties regularly fall short of their RHNA targets, as the Bay Area’s housing crisis continues to grow. Each spring, jurisdictions are required to provide an Annual Progress Report to show how effective their efforts have been in achieving housing development targets by income level. The table below shows Santa Clara’s progress.

Santa Clara’s 2015-2022 RHNA Permit Progress as of 12/2022
Affordability LevelRNHA TargetPermits IssuedProgress to Target
Very Low Income105047445.1%
Low Income69550272.2%
Moderate Income75521328.2%
Above Moderate Income15936932435.2%

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

2023-2031 RHNA Allocation

In January of 2023, about a year after local jurisdictions are given their final RHNA numbers, the local planning process will culminate in the Housing Element. This is a pivotal document that serves as a Constitution for land use planning and accounts for how and where the jurisdiction will accommodate allocated housing units. It must identify adequate sites for the full RHNA and all types of housing, including emergency shelters, rental housing, and ownership housing, and commit to policies and programs aimed at removing barriers to housing production, addressing racial and economic segregation and disparities in access to resources, providing for the unique housing needs of residents in protected categories, and protecting residents vulnerable to displacement.

Santa Clara’s 2023-2031 RHNA by Income Level
Very Low Income Low IncomeModerate IncomeAbove Moderate IncomeTotal Allocation

Source: ABAG Approved Final RHNA Plan: San Francisco Bay Area, 2023-2031 (Dec 2021)

Current Affordable Housing Stock

Santa Clara’s 2020 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 in 2019 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.

Jobs & Housing in the Development Pipeline

As of January 2022, Santa Clara has 3.31 jobs in the development pipeline for every 1 housing unit in the development pipeline.

Santa Clara Development Pipeline as of January 2022
Applications SubmittedApplications ApprovedUnder ConstructionTotal
Anticipated New Jobs24,86126,72117,42369,004
New Housing Units10,1005,8834,88820,871

Pipeline as of January 2022. Information reported from City of Santa Clara.  The employment projections are derived by applying square-footage-per-employee factors to building floor areas by four building types: 250 square feet for office/R&D; 1,500 feet for hotels; 550 feet for retail/restaurant; and 2,500 feet for manufacturing/warehouse. All are figures applied to a building’s gross square footage.

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.

Santa Clara ADU Permitting: 2017 – 2022

Source: HCD 2022 Housing Element Implementation and APR Data Dashboard.

Affordable Housing Policies

Housing Element Policies

The Housing Element of Santa Clara’s General Plan includes a number of policies promoting affordable housing development, including:

  • Encouraging high densities in new housing development.
  • Assisting affordable housing developers in getting access to funding and in assembling parcels.
  • Expediting the entitlement process for affordable housing development proposals.
  • Providing subsidy financing, when available.
  • Providing a density bonus for affordable housing.
  • Examining other means of promoting affordable housing development, including: leasing City-owned property to developers at nominal rates; subsidizing City fees; matching financial support provided by the Housing Trust; and purchasing land on behalf of nonprofit developers.
Inclusionary Housing and Commercial Linkage Fees

In February 2018, the City of Santa Clara updated its affordable housing requirements, including an inclusionary housing requirement for both ownership and rental housing, as well as commercial linkage fees for non-residential development.  

Residential Development

For sale residential homes will pay an affordable housing impact fee equal to the difference between the unrestricted appraised market value of the unit and the Affordable Sales Price of the unit, multiplied by the fractional amount due. Rental residential units will pay $22.22 per square foot.

  • Ownership: 15% inclusionary requirement. Projects of fewer than ten units may either provide one dwelling at an affordable housing cost for a household earning up to 100% of AMI, or pay an in-lieu fee (in-lieu fees for fractional units – $30.00/sf for single family homes, $25.00/sf for townhomes, and $20.00/sf for condominiums)
  • Rental: 15% inclusionary requirement. Projects of fewer than ten units may either provide an affordable unit or pay an in-lieu fee (in-lieu fee of $20.00/sf for fractional units)

The City Council may authorize a developer to provide a percentage of affordable units lower than 15%, if such units are restricted to extremely low, very low or low income households and would represent an equal or greater amount of value in subsidy. 

Non-Residential Development

  • Office 20,000+ sf : $22.22/sf.
  • Office under 20,000 sf: $11.11/sf.
  • Industrial 20,000+ sf: $11.11/sf.
  • Industrial under 20,000 sf: $5.56/sf.
  • Hotel, Retail 5,000+ sf, Other: 5.56/sf. (retail <5,000 sf is exempt)
  • Low Intensity Uses: $2.22/sf.

Additional Resources