Saturday, January 25, 2014

Social Mobility in Silicon Valley

Who benefits from the rise of Silicon Valley?

Clearly, the tech elite benefit enormously.  That has generated many protests and articles, such as “Silicon Valley is living inside a Bubble of Tone-Deaf Arrogance."  Many also write about the rise in real estate prices -- and the social implications (especially in San Francisco).

I was then surprised to read this article in the SFGate (SF Chronicle) that Silicon Valley and SF lead the nation in social mobility.  Economists define social mobility as the probability of moving from the bottom 20% to the top 20% of income distribution.  “In Silicon Valley, 12.9 percent of children born into the lowest income bracket move to the top. San Francisco: 12.2 percent. Washington, D.C., Seattle, Salt Lake City, New York, Boston and San Diego come in next. Worst odds: Charlotte, N.C., where just 4.4 percent of children have moved from bottom to top. Children in Milwaukee and Atlanta have fared little better.”  So, social mobility is 3x higher in Silicon Valley than in Atlanta.

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