L.A., San Francisco, San Jose and Bakersfield Rank High in Wage Inequality, New Analysis Finds

Victoria Ramirez from the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office and Garrett Hamilton with the Yolo County district attorney’s office join a guided tour of the Tenderloin in San Francisco last month.(Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Victoria Ramirez from the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office and Garrett Hamilton with the Yolo County district attorney’s office join a guided tour of the Tenderloin in San Francisco last month.(Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Wage inequality has risen more in California cities than in the metropolitan areas of any other state, with seven of the nation’s 15 most unequal cities located in the Golden State.

San Jose, with its concentration of Silicon Valley technology jobs, had the largest gap of any California metro area between those at the top of the pay scale and those at the bottom. It ranked second in the nation after the suburb of Fairfield, Conn., home to wealthy New York financiers, according to a new analysis of 2015 U.S. Census data by Federal Reserve economists. San Francisco and Los Angeles also ranked high on the list.

More surprising, perhaps, is the inclusion of Bakersfield, where high-wage engineering jobs are juxtaposed with poverty-wage farm work.

The heavy concentration of California metro areas is a striking turnabout from 1980, when just three figured in the top 15.

(Credit: Los Angeles Times)

(Credit: Los Angeles Times)

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