Just As I Thought

Livin’ Average

Holy crap.

(08-29) 09:13 PDT San Jose, Calif. (AP) —
Northern California’s largest city is also the wealthiest urban center in the nation, with a median household income of $74,000.

Santa Clara County, epicenter of Silicon Valley and home to some of the world’s most successful technology companies, was California’s second richest. Santa Clara County’s median household income last year was $80,838, while Marin County, just north of San Francisco, topped the list at $81,761.

I live in San Jose, in the heart of Santa Clara county. And I live as if I have that kind of household income — even though I don’t. That’s because one has no choice but to live at that level here, where rents are outrageous and mortgages are worse. And this is why when I finally run out of money and leave Silicon Valley, I’ll most likely end up in the poorest urban center in the nation.
How in the world do so many people afford to live here? Is everyone on the cusp of losing it all like I am? Or do they have more luck at finding work?


  • Most of the self-employed / consultant / contractor types that I know live in cheap corners of the world and only come to places like Sillycon Valley when they have active contracts that make that necessary/affordable. I belong to a discussion group of small business and self-employed folks and out of about 60 participants, I count on one hand the number who live within 50 miles of the center of major cities… and those numbers are diminishing. For example, at least 2 of the list members just moved to Boulder, CO from the San Jose area, where they doubled the size of their house, reduced their mortgage by 2/3, and generally cut their expenses. Yes, they’re not “where it’s happening” but if you aren’t working 9-5 in a big corporation, or don’t need to be adjacent to them, perhaps the boondocks makes sense. Personally, I couldn’t do it.

  • Oh, I forgot to mention, $74k is about what an entry level engineer or product person makes at a mid or large sized corporation around San Jose.

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