Picture of SF's extreme income equality worth thousands of words

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The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project uses Brookings Institute data to show SF's fast-growing income gap.

Sometimes visuals paint a picture in a visceral way that mere numbers can’t, and that was the case when the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project recently released a graph highlighting the magnitude of San Francisco’s high rate of income inequality growth and how it compares to other major cities around the country. San Francisco's purple bubble is floating way up, all alone, above Atlanta, Georgia's orange bubble and everyone else closely grouped together. 

The graph’s findings reveal the sad but well-known fact that San Francisco is widely unequal, and it comes as little surprise that from 2007 to 2012, SF saw its income gap grow faster than any other major city in the United States.

The visualization cited a Brookings Institute report on income inequality released in February, which found the income of San Francisco’s low-earning residents (more specifically, those in the 20th percentile of yearly income) dropped by an average of $4,000 during that timespan, while the highest-earning residents (the 95th percentile) saw their income jump by an average of $28,000 over the same period. The latter figure was the largest gain in any American city, and it affirms what’s already clear to city residents: The rich are getting richer while the poor continue to get poorer.

That message might seem like old news to those familiar with San Francisco’s income inequality issues, but the truly alarming part of the study is the rate at which the trend is occurring. Though it provides further confirmation of an unpleasant fact that has plagued San Francisco residents for years, the unprecedented speed of the income gap’s increase is especially startling given the efforts to rectify the issue. As the mapping project pointed out, “trickle-down economics does not appear to be working” in San Francisco.

The gap has become so pronounced that the city’s 2012 GINI Coefficient (which measures income distribution) of .523 would make it the 14th-most economically unequal country in the world if San Francisco were its own nation. That’s right in line with countries that are widely known for their income inequality, like Paraguay and Chile, and more than twice as unequal as top-ranked Sweden.

Perhaps the best indication of this growing division has been the drastic increase in evictions throughout the city. The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project has worked to shed light on the issue, releasing time lapses showing the evictions while making it clear that seniors and disabled people aren’t immune to the trend either.

The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project is probably best known for protesting the Google tech buses, whose effects on local communities they’ve researched extensively. The organizations’ maps showlinks between the location of bus stops and a large number of evictions in the same areas.

Developing nations with income gaps akin to San Francisco’s don’t have tech buses driving around their streets, so it’s no surprise that the buses’ unpaid use of public bus stops hasn’t left residents of lower income areas particularly thrilled, especially with the tech sector pushing up the price of housing in those areas while contributing heavily to the results of the Brookings Institute report.

Comments

It wouldn't be so unequal if progressives hadn't fucked up the schools so badly.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 16, 2014 @ 9:24 pm

drives more affluent parents to either send their kids to private school or to leave SF. But then the wealthy moving out of town increases equality, while of course doing absolutely nothing for the poor.

Greater equality by itself may not be a good thing.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 10:32 am

that's a trollish comment if ever i've seen one. best if it is left unanswered.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 16, 2014 @ 11:45 pm

There's still plenty of free stuff for the poors.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 6:06 am

It doesn't mean we have any more poor people, and in fact the poor in SF would be considered wealthy in many other places.

Detroit is more equal than SF. Is that the goal?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 6:28 am

Either we do what the boosters say or we want to live in Detroit, it is just that simple.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 6:48 am

But the fact remains that equality is no indicator of prosperity. If everyone is equal but poor, that isn't preferable to a diversity of outcomes.

You like diversity, right?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 7:15 am

By inviting a poor family to live in your million-dollar condo.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 9:58 am

He could volunteer or give to charity.

But instead he tells others what they should do.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 10:23 am

Either we do what the boosters say or the boosters attack those who challenge them with ad hominem.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 12:22 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 12:34 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 6:50 pm

Of course, you can reduce income inequality in San Francisco by having poor people move to Oakland.

Displacement of the poor is the solution to inequality!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 8:07 am

So, happily, income inequality in San Francisco is a temporary problem - rich people will continue to move in, and poor people will continue to move out.

There is little income inequality in Atherton and Hillsborough!

Problem solved!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 8:24 am

Evidently some progressives do not want diversity. They want all the poor in one place and all the rich in another, forever segregated from each other.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 8:39 am

bad indicator of anything. If a billionaire moves into your neighborhood, then that neighborhood becomes more unequal even though it simultaneously becomes more prosperous.

Likewise, a poor person leaving reduces inequality while having no other significance.

Americans like the disparity of outcomes because it shows that talent and effort can be rewarded. We want a meritocracy and not a nanny state punishing winners and rewarding losers.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 8:26 am

how does a billionaire moving in a neighborhood automatically make that neighborhood more prosperous?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 8:58 am
Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 9:26 am

Hahaha! Spend locally? A billionaire will not be around enough to spend locally, if he or she is around at all. Look at Hyde Park in London or the poshest places in NYC. Those units stay unlit and vacant most of the time because they are investment properties or 4th, 5th, etc homes.

Posted by rob g on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 12:32 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 12:43 pm

Billionaires don't spend much time in the Mission.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 12:58 pm

I see him in his VW quite a lot in 94110 and 94114.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 1:14 pm

Yeah, dropping mega coin at wise sons.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 1:26 pm

which helps hire locals and adds to the taxbase.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 1:34 pm

$100 is more than I spend in a year?

Posted by marcos on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 2:09 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 2:20 pm

What EXACTLY do you have against nannies? Nannies are people, usually women, who take care of people's kids. Stop using the term "nanny state" and say what you mean.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2014 @ 10:17 am

taken to apply to those situations where a government takes an over-bearing, over-controlling invasive level of control over individual freedoms in the misguided belief that bureaucrats somehow know what is better for people than the people themselves.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2014 @ 10:35 am

"the income of San Francisco’s low-earning residents (more specifically, those in the 20th percentile of yearly income) dropped by an average of $4,000 during that timespan, while the highest-earning residents (the 95th percentile) saw their income jump by an average of $28,000 over the same period"

This could also be explained by restrictive building policies that squeeze out all but high earners and those who have won the rent control/affordable housing lottery.

"The gap has become so pronounced that the city’s 2012 GINI Coefficient (which measures income distribution) of .523 would make it the 14th-most economically unequal country in the world if San Francisco were its own nation."

And if San Francisco were a city?

"That’s right in line with countries that are widely known for their income inequality, like Paraguay and Chile, and more than twice as unequal as top-ranked Sweden."
More than twice as unequal, just like a 6.1 earthquake is more than twice as bad as a 3.0 earthquake? Chile's Gini coefficient is higher than many other Latin American countries, but it's poverty is lower. Which country is better for the poor?

"Developing nations with income gaps akin to San Francisco’s don’t have tech buses driving around their streets, so it’s no surprise that the buses’ unpaid use of public bus stops hasn’t left residents of lower income areas particularly thrilled"

Apple, so Orange. Yuppie bad!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 9:57 am

Such wonderful economic diversity. Way to go San Francisco!

I'm old enough to remember when cities were by and large blighted, impoverished ghettos, visited by the affluent only during work hours, before commuting home to the suburbs.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 12:32 pm

So let agree that if you have 2 people with like jobs and one earns 90K and the other 70K that is income inequality. Ok you libs, so tell me this. If the one who earns 90K as 3 children and stay at home partner and the one who earns 70K, which one now experiences the income inequality? Don't take much to blow your theory out of the water does it!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 12:49 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 12:56 pm

Income inequality kills capitalism by sapping demand.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 1:16 pm

remains the same.

In fact, those with wealth create wealth. Take a look at somewhere like Bulgaria if you want to see the effect of penalizing success.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 17, 2014 @ 1:22 pm

There is only so much one person can consume.

Bill Gates is "worth," to use the distorted capitalist meaning of the term, as much as 100,000,000 Americans put together. But try as he might, he can never eat as much as 100,000,000 Americans. He will never purchase as much housing as 100,000,000 Americans. He will never wear as much clothes, or need as many cars.

So inevitably, some of the wealth that rich people accumulate is merely hoarded. Even if you believe in the theory that rich people create more wealth (by waving the magic wand with their invisible hand, I presume?), you must admit that *some* of that wealth remains idle. By contrast, virtually 100% of the wealth that working class people acquire, gets pumped back into the economy, generating more demand.

The most efficient way of improving the economy has always been to pursue policies that minimize inequality and top-heavy wealth accumulation.

As for Bulgaria... Bulgaria is capitalist.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 10:38 pm

It is all either invested or given to his Foundation that does good the world over.

Ditto for Buffett.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2014 @ 9:23 am

But that wealth donated abroad does not stimulate demand domestically. Where did you learn economics, Ayn Rand's Romper Room?

Posted by marcos on Jun. 19, 2014 @ 7:29 pm

Questioning why some people have been allowed to accumulate the wealth of literally millions of other people, when clearly they aren't as productive as all those people put together... that's bad envy.

But envy directed at the few working class people who still manage to receive living wages and pensions... that's good envy.

Conservative logic at its best.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 10:49 pm

Apple makes money by selling me a product I choose to buy: not a problem.
Public unions buy politicians who force me to pay for their unfunded pensions: a problem.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2014 @ 6:42 am

You choose to live here and use the services provided by these workers. If no one used the services, then they wouldn't exist. I don't see the problem here.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 19, 2014 @ 9:05 pm

when the city creates a useless operation like the dept of Environment and then creates idiotic laws for these people to enforce, not much of a way for me to opt out of that is there?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2014 @ 9:47 pm

They have created wealth by giving people what they want.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2014 @ 8:23 am

Can't we just ship the poors to Aspen? At least there they could ski and we wouldn't have to hear them whine so much about being society's losers.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 10:50 am

They prefer squalor to luxury.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 11:03 am

Super easy to be a jealous spread-the-wealth communist with the income and assets of OTHER folks.

See the ROT of the 1917-1991 USSR regime.

See the jealous Cain killing Abel in the old book - aka the Bible.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 7:06 pm

I always used to point out the undeniable fact that under communism, Russia achieved the highest standard of living it ever had... before, or since.

To be fair, I can't really say that anymore as of the last few years. But then that's mainly due to Putin purging the US-supported neoliberal thieves who brought the country to its knees in the 1990s and kicking out the American corporations with them, redistributing some of the oil wealth down to the people.

...Probably not something that supports your argument either.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 10:45 pm

North Korea, South Korea. East Germany, West Germany. Which ones did (and do) better?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 18, 2014 @ 11:10 pm

poster child for economic success. An equal society where everyone is poor and miserable is not an improvement on an unequal society where some are doing very well and even the poor are better off than they would be in most "equal" nations.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2014 @ 9:22 am

Less equal societies are not richer than more equal societies. There is extensive research (see: Wilkinson and Pickett) that shows the exact opposite. After a certain income level, all social ills decline with less inequality.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 19, 2014 @ 9:17 pm
ha

aside from the mass murder of its own citizens in the millions, it was great.

Scratch a progressive and you have an authoritarian.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2014 @ 9:42 pm

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