Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Demographics of Poverty in Santa Clara County

New Geography reports:
Tucked away in the bottom corner of the San Francisco Bay, tech royalty make themselves at home in their silicon castles. Santa Clara County is the wealthiest county in California, and 14th in the nation, boasting an average median household income of $96,310. However, where there are kings, there must be subjects. Despite its affluence, Santa Clara remains one of the most unequal counties in the United States. The combined forces of enormous wage gaps, exorbitant housing prices, and shifts in the regional economy have compounded over recent years, resulting in a shrunken middle class and increased poverty levels.

Santa Clara County contains just over 1.9 million people and is home to much of the Silicon Valley. The relatively recent explosion of growth in the high-wage technology industry has generated a new rank of upper-middle class to fabulously wealthy individuals. But, even in the economic miracle that is Silicon Valley, poverty remains a prevalent force and affects a disturbing number of lives in the region. Although, according to the Census Bureau, only 8.3% of Santa Clara County residents live at or below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), this number drastically underestimates the true number of people that are experiencing financial hardship in the region. In a study conducted by United Way, it was found that the real cost budget for a family of four residing in Santa Clara County stands at $65,380 per year, or 281% of the FPL.
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