POLITICS

Bay Area Poverty Rate Still Near Record High Despite Tech Boom

04/02/2015 06:17 pm ET | Updated Apr 02, 2015
Robert Alexander via Getty Images

While the San Francisco Bay Area's tech boom has made it a major job creation hub, poverty in the region remains close to the peak levels reached during the Great Recession, a new study found.

According to a report from Joint Venture Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies released Wednesday, the poverty rate in the region in 2013 was 11.3 percent -- below the state's 17 percent and the nation's 15.9 percent but well above what's been typical in the Bay Area.

“Although low relative to other geographies, the Bay Area poverty rate is high in comparison to historical averages in the region,” which hover around 9 percent, the study notes. “During the Great Recession, poverty levels reached a peak of just under 12 percent and have been declining over the last two years.”

The study's authors called special attention to the region's children, who face poverty at rates higher than the general population.

"Perhaps the most surprising and disconcerting finding is the poverty status of children,” economist Jon Haveman said in a press release with the report. “The Bay Area’s children are the Bay Area’s future. Currently, 1 in 7 of them is handicapped by their economic status, even more if you look at just the youngest, those less than 6 years of age.”

At 13.8 percent, San Francisco had the highest poverty rate of any county in the Bay Area despite the increasing number of tech companies flocking to the city instead of the Silicon Valley peninsula in recent years. Today, 60 percent of all leases signed in San Francisco are for tech companies, one real estate agent told CNN.

While more jobs have entered the region, the influx of high-paid tech workers has driven up prices in the city and made it increasingly unaffordable for low-wage workers. Income inequality in San Francisco, one study found, is on par with that of developing nations.

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