Business & Real Estate

Despite high salaries, Santa Clara County ranks low nationally in discretionary income

Trove Technologies Inc. recently released a study revealing that California ranks third worst among states in discretionary income, despite boasting the fourth highest salaries.

Santa Clara County, along with five other California cities – San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Los Angeles and San Diego – ranks among the bottom 10 major areas nationwide for discretionary income.

The inaugural Trove Discretionary Income Study incorporates data that reflect regional differences in salaries, cost of living and taxes to gauge the take-home pay of U.S. workers across 778 occupations. While many cost-of-living calculators highlight general income differences across cities, no others take into account the effect of taxes on the cost of living or identify the significant differences by occupation.

“Santa Clara County is completely unaffordable for many workers in the lower-and middle-wage brackets,“ said Michael Pao, co-founder of Trove Technologies. “Although wages outpace the national average by 29 percent, taxes and expenses blow away the rest of the country, with housing expenses coming in 75 percent higher than average.”


Some of the major findings for Santa Clara County and California:

• Santa Clara County ranks No. 42 out of 50 major areas nationwide in discretionary income, despite ranking No. 2 in salaries.

• Salaries in the Bay Area are 29.1 percent higher than the national average; housing expenses are 74.6 percent higher and nonhousing expenses are 2.5 percent higher.

• Santa Clara County salaries rank high among major cities for certain occupations: Management (No. 2), Computer and Mathematical (No. 2), Legal (No. 1) and Healthcare Practitioners and Technical (No. 2).

• California ranks 48th out of 50 states nationally in discretionary income.

• Salaries across all occupations in California are 14 percent higher than the national average (No. 4), while housing and nonhousing expenses are 61.4 percent and 5 percent higher, respectively (No. 3 for both).

• Six major California cities – San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Los Angeles and San Diego – rank among the bottom 10 major cities nationwide in discretionary income.

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