Silicon Valley Pain Index report finds inequities worsening in South Bay

Zach Fuentes Image
Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Silicon Valley Pain Index report finds inequities worsening
The Silicon Valley Pain Index found that the gap between the richest and poorest residents got worse in 2024.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- For the fifth year, the Silicon Valley Pain Index has tracked racial and social inequities, showing a growing gap between the richest and poorest residents in Silicon Valley.

"We broke away as a country from England to get away from this notion of aristocracy, this notion of princes and kings, but we have them today they're called the billionaires," said Dr. Scott Myers-Lipton, co-principal investigator and professor emeritus at San Jose State University.

The San Jose State Human Rights Institute studied 190 statistics from more than 100 recent studies conducted on Silicon Valley.

The hope after each year's report was that progress would eliminate income inequality and discrimination.

Instead, the 2024 Silicon Valley Pain Index found they got worse.

"There hasn't been the large-scale change that I thought that we thought when we started," said Myers.

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Some key highlights show:

  • Santa Clara County is #1 in the nation for unsheltered homeless
  • Santa Clara County is #1 in percent of unsheltered youth
  • Number of homeless students in Alum Rock and East Side Union School Districts is up almost 3x since 2020
  • Income inequality is up from 2022, food insecurity is up, education gaps are widening
  • "Behind every statistic is a human, every number represents a human being whose life matters," said Dr. Imee Almazan, interim superintendent for the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District.

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    Second Harvest of Silicon Valley says it's now serving 500,000 clients each month, up 40,000 from the previous year.

    "How is it that in a place with such great wealth and prosperity, one in six of our neighbors rely on Second Harvest to put food on the table?," said Leslie Bacho, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Silicon Valley.

    The institute's goal is to put pressure on elected officials and organizations to address the issues highlighted in these annual reports.

    Since 2020, some policies have passed through legislative hurdles and are on their way to taking effect, including a guaranteed income for thousands of homeless high school seniors and funding for more affordable rental homes.

    The hope now is still that those who can make change, listen.

    "We know the patterns, and we know the areas that are getting worse, we highlighted them in that report," Myers-Lipton said. "So we're saying, 'Respond to this need.'"

    The institute said it will have the report sent to every local elected official and nonprofit leader by the end of Tuesday.

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