Silicon Valley incomes have increased for the second straight year after a three-year downward trend, according to a report released by Joint Venture Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies, a nonprofit think tank, on Wednesday.
The new study, an analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau's 2013 American Community Survey, shows a significant increase in Silicon Valley households earning at least $150,000, up by 25,000 between 2012 and 2013 -- a jump from 26 percent to 29 percent of the total.
The increase in the number of high-income Silicon Valley households, however, was nearly five times greater than the increase in total households overall, said Rachel Massaro, Joint Venture vice president and senior research associate for the Institute, in a press release.
"The recent economic trends for Silicon Valley indicate continued recovery following the recession, although disparities still exist," Massaro said.
The median household income increased 1.3 percent in 2013, to nearly $95,000, but the uptick was less than the statewide rate of 1.7 percent, the group reported.
The U.S. census listed Palo Alto's annual median household income as $122,482 and its median home value as $1 million. The disparity between job growth and housing has driven up prices throughout Silicon Valley, according to Bena Chang, director of housing and transportation at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a public policy business trade organization. Chang spoke at a panel discussion in Palo Alto in April.
She said the recovery has come at a cost, with many longtime Palo Alto residents priced out of their homes and many professionals unable to afford local rents. Chang noted that the approximate annual income necessary to purchase a median-priced home in Palo Alto is about $375,000.
The city is in the final stages of updating its state-mandated Housing Element, which identifies the city's strategies for encouraging housing and lists potential sites for new housing growth. In September, the Housing Element won tentative endorsement from the state Department of Housing and Community Development, the state agency charged with certifying the document.
Wednesday's Joint Venture report also indicates a decrease in the region's poverty rate and an uptick in those with health insurance:
The percentage of Silicon Valley's working age population with health insurance increased by 1.5 percent, compared to less than one percent increases across the country.
The percentage of Silicon Valley's population living under the federal poverty limit of 23,550 for a family of four dropped from 10.1 percent to 9.7 percent. That compares to rates of 16.8 percent for California and 15.8 percent nationwide.