Whether you’re involved in a tech start-up or are just trying to find an apartment, it’s easy to see that Silicon Valley is booming. And while we’re proud of our region’s success and innovation, not everyone is benefiting from this growth. According to new data from the Silicon Valley Index, the region is facing growing income inequality and a shrinking middle class.
We have more families than ever before earning over $100,000 per year, but the number of families earning less than $35,000 a year is also growing. While per capita income went up for whites and Asians (5.6% and 2.4% respectively) between 2010 and 2012, it declined by 2.0% for Latinos and 5.0% for African Americans. Given that cost of housing in region keeps rising, declining real income means more families are struggling just to keep their families housed and fed. In fact, the income decline for Latinos is higher in Silicon Valley (-2.0%) than for California overall (-1.6%). We need to ask the tough questions to understand why our region’s rising prosperity is not accessible to all our neighbors.