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The City and County of San Francisco is the fourth most populous city in California and the 12th most populous city in the United States, with a 2008 estimated population of 808,977.[1] The only consolidated city-county in California, it encompasses a land area of 46.7 square miles (121 km) [2] on the northern end of the San Francisco Peninsula, making it the second-most densely populated large city (greater than 200,000 population) in the United States.</ref> San Francisco is anchor to the 13th-largest metropolitan area in the country, containing 4.3 million, and is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the larger San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.4 million people.[3] For the 2009-2010 season, the San Francisco Bay Area was ranked the 6th largest television market in the United States.[4]

In the 1970s, the city became a center of the gay rights movement, with the emergence of The Castro as an urban gay village, the election of Harvey Milk to the Board of Supervisors, and his assassination, along with that of Mayor George Moscone, in 1978.[5]

Historically known as Eureka Valley, the area now popularly called the Castro is the center of gay life in the city.[6]

The city's large gay population has created and sustained a politically and culturally active community over many decades, developing a powerful presence in San Francisco's civic life. The most popular destination for gay tourists internationally, the city hosts San Francisco Pride, the largest, and oldest pride parades in the world.

According to the 2005 American Community Survey, San Francisco has the highest percentage of gay and lesbian individuals of any of the 50 largest U.S. cities, at 15.4%.[7] San Francisco also has the highest percentage of same-sex households of any American county, with the Bay Area having a higher concentration than any other metropolitan area.[8]


  1. Population up in every Bay Area county in 2008. San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications (March 19, 2009). Retrieved on March 19, 2009.
  2. San Francisco County, California QuickFacts. US Census Bureau. Retrieved on November 26, 2009.
  3. Annual Estimates of the Population of Combined Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008. US Census Bureau. Retrieved on June 30, 2008.
  5. San Francisco History: The 1970s and 1980s: Gay Rights. Destinations: San Francisco. Retrieved on June 17, 2008.
  6. The Castro. SfGate San Francisco Neighborhood Guide. Retrieved on August 3, 2009.
  7. Gates, Gary (October 2006). Same-sex Couples and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Population: New Estimates from the American Community Survey (PDF). The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. Retrieved on July 10, 2008.
  8. Gay and Lesbian Families in the United States: Same-Sex Unmarried Partner Households (PDF). Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved on August 26, 2006.

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