More than 7.6 million people call the San Francisco Bay Area home. This West Coast metropolitan region consists of nine counties that include the anchor cities of San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland. It's location along the Pacific Ocean makes it a gateway to the Pacific Rim, ideal for international businesses that want to stay connected to Asia and South Asia, where almost half the world lives. Known as “The City,” San Francisco is the Bay Area’s cultural and financial center, with more than 30 international financial institutions. Often compared to Paris and New York, it is a world-class tourist destination featuring a bustling cultural scene comprised of fine arts, gourmet food and trend-defining style.
The largest city in the Bay Area is San Jose. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, it is home to many of the world’s largest and most innovative technology corporations. Small business start-ups also play a major role in the commerce here; in fact, they account for one-third of the United States’ venture capital investments. With such a concentration on commerce, it’s perhaps no surprise to find this region has the most millionaires and billionaires in the U.S. per capita.
In Oakland, the Bay Area’s third largest city, you’ll find the Port of Oakland, one of the busiest container ports in North America. With many first-generation immigrants and refugees, Oakland is one of the most ethnically diverse large cities in the country and contributes greatly to the Bay Area’s minority-majority population.
Statistics for the Bay Area are favorable in regard to income and education. It has the highest median income and the highest concentration of technology jobs in the country. Known for prestigious universities such as Stanford and U.C. Berkeley, the San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara metro has the second highest percentage of college graduates in the United States. A place of both affluence and influence, the San Francisco Bay Area is poised to impact the future like no other place in the United States. The Church has a vision for this area as well: to see it vibrantly transformed by Christ and thus become a major global exporter of the Christian faith.
“We are praying that the influence the Bay Area wields will be used to make Jesus known throughout the Bay Area, North America and the entire world,” says San Francisco Send City missionary Rich Johnstone.
There are also great needs on the ground level here. The homeless population in downtown San Francisco tops the national average. The reports of garbage piles and drug abuse have recently drawn comparisons to some of the world’s most infamous slums. Perhaps now more than ever in the Bay Area, the Church has an opportunity to provide hope and inspire change.
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