While surging prosperity and the highest rate of job growth in a decade has restored the luster to the Silicon Valley economy, many residents of the region continue to struggle, a report from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Joint Venture Silicon Valley finds.
The 2013 Silicon Valley Index (80 pages, HTML), an annual look at the economic vitality and health of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties and parts of Alameda and Santa Cruz counties, found that despite robust economic growth in the region, many residents — especially Latinos and African Americans — are not sharing equally in the economic recovery due to uneven income patterns, a slow housing recovery, and a widening education gap. While the report found that employment in the region in the second quarter of 2011 was up 4 percent on a year-over-year basis and that overall unemployment was 7 percent, with declines among all ethnicities, per capita income fell for African Americans (-18 percent) and Hispanics (-5 percent).
A special analysis of governance in the Bay Area by the two organizations also found that a stronger, more effective system is needed to address challenges to the region's long-term economic competitiveness, including fiscal inequities, sprawl, fragmented transit services, inadequate housing construction, and lack of climate adaptation preparedness.
"With Silicon Valley's tech economy extending into San Francisco, it's clear we need to think more broadly about transit, housing, jobs and our long-term economic competitiveness," said Silicon Valley Community Foundation president and CEO Emmett D. Carson. "The old boundaries just don't apply anymore, and if we continue to approach our world as if they do, we aren't going to be successful."