The rich get richer in Silicon Valley…

It’s hardly earthshaking news for anyone in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area who has tried to buy or rent a place over the past 18 months, but a rising vanguard of high-income earners in Silicon Valley continues to drive a bigger and bigger wedge between the haves and the have-nots here in the center of the global tech boom.

According to a new analysis of census data by Joint Venture Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies, the income gap continues to widen, as valley households earning $150,000 a year or more mushroomed by 25,000 between 2012 and 2013, the latest figures available. That jump was nearly five times greater than the increase in households overall, according to a post in the Wall Street Journal.

As the Journal points out, this growing wage inequity has helped spawn citizen outrage, especially in San Francisco where working people are being pushed out of the rental market as rich young techies, many newly minted by the valley’s tech-startup and social-media boom, move in and pay the nose-bleed rents landlords are now able to demand. The gap has also led to street protests, with ugly and very public battles over the corporate buses used by Google and others to ferry workers from their SF homes to jobs further south toward San Jose.
According to the post:

The report, an analysis of U.S. census data, shows a significant increase in Silicon Valley households earning at least $150,000, up by 25,000 between 2012 and 2013. The increase in the number of high-income Silicon Valley households was nearly five times greater than the increase in households overall.

“The income gap is becoming more sharply pronounced at a faster rate,” said Russell Hancock, chief executive of Joint Venture Silicon Valley. “The middle class is disappearing, and the service sector is stuck there with no growth. Silicon Valley is becoming a different place, a place of haves and have-nots, and there are signs of unrest.”

Silicon Valley’s median household income rose 1.3 percent in 2013 to nearly $95,000. But that uptick was less than the rate statewide, where the median income grew 1.7 percent.

The think tank’s site lays out the report:

A new census report shows Silicon Valley incomes up for the second straight year after a three-year downward trend, the Joint Venture Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies reported today.

An Institute analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey released last week also indicates a decline in the region’s poverty rate and an uptick in those with health insurance.

“The 2013 data shows that the recent economic trends for Silicon Valley indicate continued recovery following the recession, although disparities still exist,” said Rachel Massaro, Joint Venture vice president and senior research associate for the Institute.

Massaro said the latest survey also shows a significant increase in Silicon Valley households earning at least $150,000, up by 25,000 between 2012 and 2013.

“This is striking, given that the increase in the number of high-income Silicon Valley households was nearly five times greater than the increase in total households overall,” said Massaro.

“This means that established Silicon Valley residents are getting wealthier, in addition to more high-income households moving into the region.”

Not all the news from the analysis was bad. The think tank reported that the poverty rate in Silicon Valley had dipped and that the number of residents with health insurance had ticked up.

poverty-status

 

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Charts from Joint Venture Silicon Valley

 

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