Even more than elsewhere, the health crisis has worsened inequalities in San Francisco, the capital of tech. « We used to regret that the rich got richer, while the poor got poorer. This year, we have to face it: the pandemic has enriched the rich, while the poor are dying. “, Russell Hancock, director of the Joint Venture Silicon Valley study center, said, opening the organization’s annual conference on Tuesday, February 23.
According to the annual report of this association, which brings together the various players in the region – bosses, unions, academics – Silicon Valley (3.1 million inhabitants) has 148,000 individuals who have more than $ 1 million (822 000 euros) of assets (excluding the value of their house) and 7,200 which “weigh” more than 10 million.
At the other extreme, 18% of residents have no savings or are in debt. In ten years, income inequalities have grown twice as fast as in the rest of the country.
In 2020, unemployment topped 30% in the service sector, while the homework economy maintained full employment. The main companies were further enriched thanks to the performances « stupendous » on Wall Street, describes the report. The region’s market capitalization grew 37% (to $ 10.5 trillion). Apple (2.3 trillion) saw its valuation increase by 77%; Google (1.2 trillion), by 28%; Facebook (779 billion), by 30%; Tesla (658 billion), by 712%.
Departure of several billionaires
The valley has seen the three main IPOs in the country, those of Snowflake, DoorDash and Airbnb. It has eight “décacornes” (private companies valued at at least 10 billion dollars). Venture capital investment approached all-time highs: 46 billion (up 8%), out of a total of 123.6 billion for the United States as a whole.
The report puts the idea of exodus into perspective. Certainly, he notes the departure of several billionaires, such as that of Tesla’s boss, Elon Musk, in a personal capacity, or that of emblematic companies (Hewlett-Packard, Oracle), for reasons related to taxation and California regulations. But he stresses that the population of the valley has remained stable, thanks to foreign immigration (+ 16,350 people).
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