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San Francisco Is 2014's Top-Performing City But Has Income Inequality of Madagascar

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UPDATE (1/10/14): This post erroneously stated that San Francisco's income inequality is on par with Swaziland's. The correct comparison is Madagascar. The post has been updated accordingly. We regret the error.

The San Francisco metro area tops the list of 2014's best performing cities, according to a new report from the Milken Institute. The region that includes San Francisco, San Mateo, and Redwood City ranked third on the list in 2013 but moved up to the No. 1 spot in 2014, ousting the burgeoning tech hub of Austin (now at No. 2). It's the first time that SF has led the pack in the list's 15-year history, Richard Florida writes on CityLab. The San Jose metro area came in fourth, trailing Provo, Utah in the rankings, which take into account measures like job growth, salary growth, and the concentration of the tech industry.

The report's author, Ross DeVol, notes that between 2008 and 2013, 45 percent of new employment—equal to about 25,500 jobs—came in professional, scientific, and technical services. The median wage for those jobs, notes DeVol, was $91,400. This growth at the top is in line with a recent US Conference of Mayors report showing that income inequality has gone up in more than two-thirds of metro areas in the US between 2005 and 2012, as Florida notes. In the San Francisco–Oakland–Fremont area, nearly 50 percent of households earn more than $75,000, the fourth-highest proportion in the nation. Fitting, then, that when the Martin Prosperity Institute compared the level of inequality in major US metros with countries, they found that SF's level of inequality was on par with Madagascar's.

All of the top six cities in the 2014 ranking were tech hubs, the report notes.

· America's Best Performing Cities in 2014 [CityLab]