New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows just how much San Francisco's middle class has faded amidst a growing population of high-income earners. As reported by the SF Examiner, the middle class declined by about 10 percent from 2008 to 2012, while the upper echelon of earners increased by the same amount. This means middle class earners now represent only 33 percent of the city's population, compared to 42 percent of California households in general and 44 percent nationwide.
But just how do you define "middle class" in San Francisco, besides the usual nods to professions like teaching, nursing, and hospitality? As it turns out, any household making between 50 and 150 percent of the area median income of $73,000 is officially identified as "middle class," which means that combined household incomes between 36,500 and 109,500 qualify. These are divided into categories of low, moderate and above-moderate income, with low and moderate middle income earner categories declining, hitting 55,000 and 60,000 households respectively. But above-moderate income households have, unsurprisingly, risen to 36,000, and 38 percent of all city households are now high-income.
That means that anyone from a single resident earning $100,000 a year to a married couple with a combined income of $50,000 qualifying as "middle-class," meaning that the shrinking sector comprises a wide swatch of individuals, from the people you'd typically think of (non-profit workers, construction workers, bartenders, etc.) to so-called "tech workers" who are single and not breaking a $100K salary. So, basically, you and me and everyone we know.