Workers in the Bay Area earn on average 37% more per hour than the national average, mainly due to much higher salaries for top wage earners, according to data released last week by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The average hourly wage for a worker in Contra Costa, Alameda, San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo, counties is $30.59 while the national average is $22.33, according to the federal statistics.
The bottom 10% of earners make an average of $10.07 per hour in the Bay Area compared to $8.74 nationally, only about 15% more, while the top 10% bring in $61.19 per hour in the Bay Area and $42.47 nationally, a difference of 44%.
The top occupations in the area are retail salespersons, cashiers, office clerks, general and operations managers, waiters, nurses, janitors, food preparation workers, secretaries and laborers, comprising a total of 385,100 jobs earning an average of $24.39 per hour.
People in computer and mathematical occupations comprise about 5.3% of the area's workforce compared to about 2.8% nationally. Those workers make an average of $48.63 per hour locally and $39.43 nationally.
The disparity of income between the richest and poorest residents is corroborated by another report released by the San Francisco Human Services Agency this month, which shows an overall upward trend in average income in the city but the proportion of low-income residents growing.
Income inequality has widened in Bay Area counties between 2007 and 2012, with San Francisco by far leading the rest of California in disparity of income between the rich and poor, according to the city.
San Francisco's rate of income inequality even exceeds countries like Swaziland, Peru, Madagascar and Panama, according to a comparison of the city's data to World Bank figures.
The highest paid occupation in the Bay Area, according to the labor department statistics, is the 671 psychiatrists who make an average of $111.41 per hour. The lowest paid occupation is card dealers, who make an average of $9.21 per hour.