Tech Boom = Declining Real Incomes for Most San Mateo Households

As the great California journalist Upton Sinclair once said, “it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

In my effort to show the Wall Street Journal’s tech reporter that real household incomes have declined in San Mateo County I dug up and sent a time series comparing 1999 to 2012. As the table below clearly shows, the median household income for Black families in San Mateo County declined by a staggering 27% over the last 13 years. For whites the decline was more modest, about 6% at the median.

What this means is that even the most privileged racial group which has the greatest educational and cultural capital is experiencing downward mobility in the epicenter of the tech boom. Blacks, Latinos, and other more marginalized groups have it a lot worse.

And of course these numbers don’t capture the families who moved out of San Mateo County because it has simply become too expensive, so they might even be conservative measures biased by displacement.

BlackWhiteMedianHouseholdIncomeSanMateoCo99-12I showed the WSJ’s Manjoo the above table. He responded via Twitter that he thinks it merely shows the effects of two recessions (2001 and 2007-2010). So the tech boom is unrelated?

He then stated that what matters, in his opinion, are the income gains experienced since 2010. In 2010 the national economic recovery began, and it coincides with the heating up of the latest the tech boom in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.

So what happens if we look at household incomes in San Mateo County since 2010?

We find yet again that most households are losing out, in spite of, or perhaps because of the tech boom.


1 comment
  1. Convincing a Wall Street Journal reporter of economic reality? Speaking of salaries dependent on not understanding …

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