The ‘Middle Class’ of Silicon Valley Earns 7 Times the Average of the US

Photo by Patrick Nouhailler/Flickr

Sunny Palo Alto has a population 67,000. It is a suburb that is home to around 2,300 startups, where the median income is double the average in the United States and people that are earning a maximum of $400,000 per year consider themselves as “middle class.”

Silicon Valley is a place where people who are earning nearly seven times the national average consider themselves to be struggling.

According to a survey that was conducted by the Palo Alto Weekly, a local news outlet, the residents of one of America’s most affluent suburbs have all the obvious signs of wealth. However, many are still feeling the pinch when it comes to living in the bubble of Silicon Valley.

Over last December and January, the Palo Alto Weekly conducted a survey on over 250 residents, with a third of the respondents whose incomes range from $10,000 to $399,999 identifying as “middle class.”

Less than 10 percent identified themselves as “lower middle class.” However, that group included people who self-reported annual incomes of up to $349,999.

Silicon Valley is home to companies including Tesla and HP. It is around the corner from the nearby headquarters of Facebook, Apple, and Google. Palo Alto is synonymous with Silicon Valley disruption and tech innovation. And with that comes massive wealth. According to Census information, the median household income in Palo Alto is recorded to be at $137,000 per year, while the average in the United States is only $57,600.

However, in its research, the Palo Alto Weekly discovered a suburb that is divided. And in an area where wealth is on display, many are having a difficult time to keep up with the Joneses.

One respondent stated: “In almost any other part of the country we would be wealthy. Here, we are living month to month.”

“In this area, it feels like middle-of-the-road middle class, but where I’m from, I’d own a house and be in the upper middle class,” stated another.

A respondent said that they are “middle class only because we’re surrounded by hundreds of millionaires in Palo Alto.”