Dueling SV Economic Statistics

Two different data sets paint an interesting portrait of the relative economic conditions of the county’s cities.  They got me thinking about the state of the various cities, so I’m posting this.

The first, an infographic tweeted by Mercury News reporter Mike Rosenberg (@RosenbergMerc), shows the jobs/resident ratios of the larger of Silicon Valley’s cities (plus Fremont).  Short answer – Sunnyvale is on the low end of the relative cities, placing 5th of 7 with 1.22 jobs per resident.  Palo Alto was tops with 2.89 jobs per resident, and San Jose is at the bottom with .89 jobs per resident.  Combined with other statistics I found, it implies that Sunnyvale is doing better on its jobs/housing ratio than neighboring cities.

The second is an SVBJ article by Cromwell Schubarth (@SVBizCrom) showing where VC funding went in 2014.  In short, out of $10.9 billion invested in 584 deals in the SF Bay Area, $731 million (66 deals) was invested in Sunnyvale, placing us sixth behind SF, PA, MV, Redwood City, and SJ.  Normalizing the numbers, it suggests that Sunnyvale did much better than Santa Clara and San Jose, worse than Mountain View and Palo Alto (which fits with conventional wisdom of how high tech develops along the Highway 101 cities).

The two sets of stats, put in context, make for an interesting illustration of the characters of the cities in Santa Clara County.  To help put those statistics in context, here are some useful stats.  These are rough numbers gathered from various places and possibly a year or two apart, and I know members of these cities will be quick to tell me that their populations are off by a couple thousand people.  And there are unique geographic aspects of the various cities that distort the meaning of these numbers.  So take all of this with a relative grain of salt. It’s mostly an exercise in curiosity for me.

  • San Jose – 180 square miles, 1 million people, 319.6k housing units, 1776 units/square mile, 3.13 people/unit
  • Sunnyvale – 22.69 square miles, 150k people, 57k housing units, 2512 units/square mile, 2.63 people/unit
  • Santa Clara – 18.4 square miles, 120k people, 46k housing units, 2500 units/square mile, 2.61 people/unit
  • Mountain View – 12.27 square miles, 76k people, 34k housing units, 2770 units/square mile, 2.23 people/unit
  • Palo Alto* – 25.79 square miles, 64.4k people, 26k housing units, 1008 units/square mile, 2.48 people/unit
  • Cupertino – 11.26 square miles, 59k people, 21k housing units, 1865 units/square mile, 2.81 people/unit

* Note that the Palo Alto statistics are misleading, due to the various open space preserves that comprise about 1/3 of its area.  Normalizing it by removing that yields closer to 1575 units/square mile).

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