Income Growth, Decline In Bay Area Counties

By Keith Burbank and Alice Crane

Workers with the lowest wages in the Bay Area made less in 2015 than in 2000, with the lowest income earners in Solano County seeing the biggest drop.

Wages dropped by 17 percent in Solano County from 2000 to 2015, compared to 16 percent in Contra Costa County and 14 percent in Marin and San Mateo counties, according to the Bay Area Equity Atlas. 

In San Francisco, income for the lowest-paid workers slipped 2 percent while income for the highest-paid workers jumped 22 percent, highlighting inequality in the city. 

Here’s how counties rank by income growth (or declines).

Income inequality among workers in Silicon Valley, defined roughly as Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, was also greater than other parts of the region. San Mateo County workers on the lowest end of the wage spectrum saw their wages drop by 14 percent while the highest-paid workers experienced wage growth of 14 percent, the greatest difference in any Bay Area county. 

Maya Chupkov, spokeswoman  for the Council of Community Housing Organizations, a housing advocacy group, said that one way to create more equality for low-income workers is to build affordable housing that allows them to live more easily. 

“That’s part of the puzzle,” though it’s not a silver bullet, Chupkov said. 

Maya Chupkov