6-figure salary considered “low-income” in parts of San Francisco Area


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The cost of living in the Bay Area is a challenge for many families, and now, a six-figure salary is considered “low-income” in parts of the Bay Area. These new numbers came from the federal government Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The salaries are for a family of four.

In San Francisco and San Mateo Counties, the salary is $105,000. Santa Clara County is at about $84,000. Contra Costa County is at about $80,000.  For Napa, it is $74,000. And for Solano, it is $64,000. 

What do these dollar amounts mean? It means that a family of four in San Francisco earning more than $100,000 a year can now qualify for affordable housing.

“It is becoming more challenging with two kids now in daycare that is for sure,” Megan said.

Megan just welcomed her second child to the world.  She is constantly debating if she can raise her family in San Francisco because of the high cost of living.

“This is a big question my husband and I are discussing at the moment…,” Megan said.

New numbers now highlight that the cost of living in the Bay Area continues to climb.  According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, these salaries are considered low-income for a family of four.

“They are eligible now to apply for housing through the local housing authority, be it Section 8, be it public housing, or other HUD-subsidized programs,” HUD Regional Public Affairs Officer and Homeless Liaison Ed Cabrera said.

The income limits in the Bay Area are the highest of any area in the country, Cabrera said.   And in San Francisco, the salary limit went up $10,000 from last year.

The numbers come from the high median incomes, the tight rental, and hot housing market.  The solution?

“Building at every income level because the demand here far outweighs the supply,” Cabrera said.

For Megan, the numbers are not that surprising.

“Six figures is a substantial amount of money in most places,” Megan said. “And the fact that it doesn’t get you much here is a bit sad.”

To put this in perspective, “low income” for a family of four across the U.S. is $24,399.

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