New data highlights household income disparity in SF

San Francisco has the highest household income inequality and is experiencing the greatest increase of income disparity among the major California counties, according to recently released data from the San Francisco Human Services Agency.

While more people with college degrees and earning more than $100,000 annually are moving to The City, the number of residents who earn less than $25,000 annually is also rising, the data revealed.

Much of the information highlighting the widening gap of families' income in San Francisco was disclosed for the first time Friday at The City's annual Family Economic Success Forum.

Last year's forum focused on how neighborhoods are changing, while this year's event primarily looked at income inequality, said Dan Kelly, director of planning for the Human Services Agency.

“The part about the high income was expected, but the part about poverty increasing and median income dropping was a surprise to us,” he said.

The Human Services Agency compiled the data from the U.S. Census Bureau as well as American Community Surveys, which sample a small percentage of the nationwide population each year.

The forum began in 2007 as a way of keeping the public informed of economic forces, according to Andrew Russo, co-founder and director of the San Francisco Family Support Network, which works with public departments, private foundations and community-based organizations.

The economic downturn during the recession “significantly affected families,” Russo said.

“Now we're seeing a different trend that The City is doing really well, but it has unintended serious challenges for families in The City, like affordability,” he said.

Nancy Hoquen, 50, has lived in a Section 8 apartment in the Outer Sunset with her 14-year-old daughter for more than a decade, and has felt the strain of income disparity.

“The problem is that all the places that say they can help, once you get there, for most of us it's a waiting list.” “There's more people looking for housing than there is housing,” Hoquen said.

Supervisor Mark Farrell also attended the forum, unveiling the newly revamped website sfkids.org with information on activities and services for families in San Francisco.

“The idea is to be a principal resource for families living here to know what's happening in their neighborhoods and throughout San Francisco,” Farrell told The San Francisco Examiner.

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu was honored at the event Friday for his Family Friendly Workplace legislation that went into effect Jan. 1, making San Francisco the first city in the U.S. to give employees the “right to request” flexible work schedules to allow them to care for their families.

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