San Francisco’s income gap reached a high, with the lowest group earning $26,979 — about the average salary for the rest of the country, except for in Northern California, where the lowest earners earn around $18,000.
That’s according to a report from the Pew Research Center, whose findings are strikingly close to those of a previous, center-left think tank. A Pew report released in October also found that the Bay Area leads the U.S. in the percentage of households earning more than $100,000, and the inequality in household incomes between the $20,000 and $100,000 bracket is also growing.
Those who do own anything tend to live in Washington, D.C., New York City, and San Francisco. Households that make less than $20,000, on the other hand, often live in counties like Placer, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Salinas, and San Diego.
Only around 5 percent of San Francisco’s households earn $75,000 or more. The Bay Area is the third wealthiest U.S. region, with the rest of the country trailing close behind. What’s driving San Francisco’s inequality? Partly, says Kate Paterson, president of the Institute for Policy Studies, “because we are so tech-centered and so dominated by tech people that there are no low-wage jobs here.”
A recent report from LendEDU suggested that San Francisco’s future may well look like Chicago’s, where the number of residents who are employed in technology and digital economy jobs has skyrocketed over the past decade.
Adding to the bitterness of San Francisco’s middle class, a Slate article by Dave Weigel provided detailed and sustained analysis of why San Francisco has become, in Weigel’s words, “both financially and culturally unsustainable”.
Instead of trying to fix their own deficit in terms of income, Weigel suggested, San Franciscans focus on scapegoating newcomers.
The biggest complaint in the America’s Dumbest City, Weigel writes, is that immigrants make more than locals and are therefore taking jobs from them, a rather outrageous claim, given the city’s historical commitment to accommodating immigrants.
As a result, a generation of activists who prioritize job creation and education has matured out of the heyday of the Disruptive Darlings, and we are seeing people like Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, founding a campaign to ban non-English-speaking students from working as janitors and dishwashers.
The tech boom has produced a population of self-obsessed persons with problems that involve privacy violations, crypto-bubbles, and the increasing possibility of an iPlate falling to pieces. “Fry” or literally “break it up”, Snap Inc.’s augmented reality augmented reality app is providing little entertainment to a generation of kids who know more about Liza Than ever imagined possible when the Bay was the center of the universe.
“People’s phones have gotten really creepy, and creepy of course includes spying,” Alex Cornell told Pando Daily. She’s the co-founder of Objective Selfie, a new app that provides you with advice on how to self-consciously spy on your friends. “Now, this is annoying, and sometimes borderline shameful, but in my eyes I see it as an opportunity to wake people up.”
A viral ad by gTitled “I don’t want to be viewed by a billion others” makes a similar point, albeit in lower C-grade language.
A March review of the city by the Washington Post’s city editor, Katy Waldman, cited the Oakland Examiner as one of the first publications to highlight the alarming depth of inequality in San Francisco, calling it “the class system that we read about in economic inequality books.”
But according to Waldman, it’s even worse than you might think, with “very powerful political lobbies” fighting against reform to the income gap that is, in part, connected to race, along with an increasingly unstable tech sector.
This article was originally published at At the Quartz. Reprinted with permission from the author.