Wait, $80,000 is Middle Class in SF Now?

Jan 31 at 1pm

We all know San Francisco ain't cheap, but it was a shocker to read our mayor suggesting that the middle class in San Francisco makes a baseline salary of $80,000 a year. Time Magazine did a great Q&A with Ed Lee, asking him the tough questions about class tensions in this city. One question focused on why SF has taken so long to build more housing. Lee's answer put the reasons in the context of income levels: 

"Our city did pretty good in investing in low-income housing and trying to do as much as we could for the homeless. That was where our sentiments were … I don’t think we paid any attention to the middle class," Lee said. "I think everybody assumed the middle class was moving out. We might have a broader range of defining the middle class, as compared to maybe Oakland or San Jose. I’m talking maybe $80,000 to $150,000." 

It's a shocker to think that means most people I know aren't even making it out of low income salaries on paper, according to Lee's estimates. 

As Valleywag points out, that eighty grand number is higher than most numbers on the median middle class income (they report $73,000 for San Francisco, $61,000 for California, and $53,000 for the nation). 

Dollar signs aside, the Time piece is worth reading, as it goes straight for the challenging questions facing this city, from why it's so expensive to live here (Lee: "We didn’t invest properly in the building of housing to take care of the possibility that more people would want to move to the city.") to whether tech companies are doing enough to give back (Lee: "Some [companies] who are already successful can be seen as not having done enough, but for the most part, others are evolving, just like the financial capital banks evolved.") and whether someone should be able to stay in SF just because they've lived here a long time (Lee: um, it's complicated). 

Read the whole interview here. 

And speaking of Time, the magazine is in hot water in some circles because of the cover story in its current issue, which features a white woman meditating, causing some concern over the bougie-ization of mindfulness. In my opinion, the more people who can chill the fuck out in this world, the better. 

Image from Thinkstock

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