San Francisco's Wealth Gap
Over the past decade or so San Francisco has become one of America's success stories. The city is known as a hotspot for technology companies such as Facebook, Yahoo and Google. These large companies have brought countless high-wealth jobs and opportunities to the Bay Area. It is easy to just focus on the success of the city, but the newfound wealth of the area has brought many challenges as well. The price increases that have come along with high-wage earners have begun to price out long time residents of the city, which is creating a strong divide between the rich and poor in the city.
In 2003 the average rent in San Francisco was around $1,700 but today is has risen all the way to $2,800. That is nearly double in ten years. That isn't a problem is you happen to have a high paying job in the technology industry, but it presents problems for San Francisco's long-time population of artists and small business owners. These groups may have seen their incomes rise slightly over the last ten years, but not fast enough to keep up with rising housing costs. Rather than feeling wealthier over time, many long time San Francisco residents have slipped down the lifestyle ladder.
Over the past several years, GDP has increased in San Francisco while median income levels have dropped. This is a sure sign of rising inequality. Despite the rising tide, food stamps are at a ten year high and homelessness is increasing at a dramatic rate. All the while, luxury coaches bus technology workers from the city to nearby Silicon Valley every day for work, ignoring the realities of the world outside. Right now the San Francisco area is home to record levels of both millionaires and impoverished households.