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Bank claims SF has highest salaries, second-highest rents worldwide

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It’s feast or famine in 2019

An aerial view of SF’s financial district, seen from Union Square. Photo via Shutterstock

San Francisco has the highest median salaries of any major city in the world right now, according to Deutsche Bank’s eighth annual Mapping the World’s Prices report released Monday.

Deutsche Bank analyst Jim Reid estimates that the average SF resident takes home $6,526 per month after taxes in 2019, adding up to just over $78,000 per year.

That figure is up 31 percent year-over-year and 88 percent in a five-year span, even as the city faces a tremendous gap in income between rich and poor and a swell in the homeless population.

Deutsche Bank credits cost-of-living site Numbeo as the source of its data. Numbeo is a crowd-sourced site that bases its data on information contributed by users, claiming to be “the world’s largest database of user contributed data about cities and countries,” which means that it’s not a scientific sample.

It’s difficult to plum how precise Deutsche Bank’s numbers may be. But the fact that San Francisco has vaulted up its rankings—up seven places since 2014, beating out Zurich, New York City, Boston, Chicago, and Sydney—is difficult to ignore.

“The rapid growth of the U.S. tech sector is helping San Fran beat traditional capital cities for incomes,” says the report.

(Reid and assistants repeatedly refer to the city as “San Fran” throughout.)

The bank report also estimates that SF has the second-highest median rent in the world, just behind Hong Kong at $3,631 per month, down one percent year-over-year.

That’s much higher than the actual median rent that the U.S. Census estimates for SF—$1,709 per month in 2017. That number represents long-term tenancies on terms usually unavailable to new renters today.

However, it’s comparable to the median market rent on sites like Zumper ($3,700 per month in April) and Apartment List ($3,100 per month).

Deutsche Bank’s SF salary numbers equal a lot of money compared to the annual median income of $63,688 that Sentier Research estimated the average U.S. resident made in January 2019.

It’s also more than the $74,841 figure that finance site Smart Asset estimated as SF’s median earlier this year. On the other hand, it’s significantly less than the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing records, which claimed the unadjusted area median income for a household of one is $86,200 per year in 2019.

However, since that data doesn’t factor in taxes, it’s hard to say how the two numbers compare.

According to the U.S. Census, SF had a median household income of $96,265 in 2017, but that figure could be comprised of more than one earner.