Saratoga’s Demographics

Population: 30,567
Households: 10,798
Housing Units: 11,353
Source: California Department of Finance, 2023 Table E-5

Employed Residents: 14,353
Source: ACS 2022 5 year estimates

In 2022, 39% of Saratoga’s population was White while 0.1% was African American, 55.5% was Asian, and 2.4% was Latinx. People of color in Saratoga 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: 3.1%
Rate of housing unit addition, 2010 to 2020: 1.6%
Source: California Department of Finance, Table E-5

Over the same period, Saratoga 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 Saratoga 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 Saratoga

It is important to have a variety of housing types to meet the needs of a community today and in the future. In 2022, 83.5% of homes in Saratoga were single family detached (generally the most expensive type of home), 7.2% were single family attached, 3.6% were small multifamily (2-4 units), and 5.7% were medium or large multifamily (5+ units). Between 2010 and 2020, the number of single-family units increased more than multi-family units. In Saratoga, 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 Saratoga

Jobs: 5,966
Employed Residents per Household:  1.3
Jobs per Employed Resident: 0.42
Jobs-Housing Balance Ratio: 0.55
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: 11.15 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 Saratoga, there are more than 4 low-wage workers competing for each affordable home.

Renting in Saratoga

Percent of population that rents: 12.1%
Source: ACS 2022 5 year estimates

Median Monthly Rent (1 bedroom apartment): $2,300
Rent Change Year over Year: N/A
Source: Zumper, December 2023

Cost Burden in Saratoga

Cost-Burdened (30% – 50% income spent on housing)
Renter Households: 28.56% of renter households (399)
Homeowner Households: 29.96% of homeowner households (2,817)

Severely Cost-Burdened (more than 50% of income spent on housing)
Renter Households: 18.93% of renter households (257)
Homeowner Households: 14.89% of homeowner households (1,588)
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 Saratoga

2022 Unhoused people: none found

2019 Unhoused people: 10 people, all unsheltered
Source: 2019 and 2022 Homeless Point In Time Count

Overcrowding in Saratoga

Total Rental Homes: 1,397
Overcrowded Rental Homes: 24
Severely Overcrowded Rental Homes: 11
Percent of Rental Homes, Overcrowded: 2.5%
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 Saratoga’s target in the sixth cycle and progress to date in permitting new homes.

Saratoga’s 2023-2031 RHNA TARGET AND PERMIT PROGRESS AS OF 12/2023
Affordability LevelRHNA TargetPermits IssuedProgress to Target
Very Low Income45400%
Low Income261145.3%
Moderate Income2786523.3%
Above Moderate Income719466.4%

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 Saratoga’s final progress toward meeting the 2014-2022 RHNA.

Affordability LevelRHNA TargetPermits IssuedProgress to Target
Very Low Income14732%
Low Income958589.5%
Moderate Income104146140.4%
Above Moderate Income93141151.6%

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

Current Affordable Housing Stock

Saratoga’s 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.

Saratoga ADUs Permitted: 2017 – 2023

Source: HCD 2023 Housing Element Implementation and APR Data Dashboard.

Affordable Housing Policies

Housing Element Policies

The Housing Element of Saratoga’s General Plan includes a number of policies to promote affordable housing, including:

  • Amending the C-N (RHD) zoning district to increase minimum allowed densities from 20 units to 30 units per acre and increasing the maximum height limit from 30 to 35 feet.
  • Cooperating with developers to provide lower-income households with housing opportunities.
  • Encouraging the development of housing affordable to ELI households by: conducting outreach to developers; identifying grant and other funding opportunities; and providing incentives over and above density bonus provisions.
  • Prioritizing rezoning of identified housing opportunity sites to promote a variety of housing types, including rental units affordable to lower-income households.

Additional Resources