But another reason is that the San Francisco Bay Area is where you can find other educated people. Last month the NY Times discussed
a growing divide among American cities, in which a small number of metro areas vacuum up a large number of college graduates, and the rest struggle to keep those they have.
The winners are metro areas like Raleigh, N.C., San Francisco and Stamford, Conn., where more than 40 percent of the adult residents have college degrees. The Raleigh area has a booming technology sector and several major research universities; San Francisco has been a magnet for college graduates for decades; and metropolitan Stamford draws highly educated workers from white-collar professions in New York like finance.College-educated Bay Area conservatives wearily put up with the excesses of left-wing religion--paper, not plastic, shopping bags that are always tearing open, pale-white indoor flourescent lighting instead of more pleasing but less efficient incandescents, ripe compost bins, ever-increasing sales taxes, income taxes, bridge tolls, and license fees--in order to partake of the area's advantages, which include living amongst a highly educated and heavily liberal population.
Living where other college-educated folk gather increases the probability of finding a high-income spouse. This correlates with one economist's theory that the value of college lies in assortative mating, which
explains why education is highly correlated with income, even though the skill-value-added of college education appears to be low. Going to college increases your chances of landing a high-income spouse. That raises your income, even if your skills do not go up. Moreover, going to college is highly correlated with having affluent and intelligent parents, which in turn means that young people who go to college will themselves tend to be intelligent and start out with some financial flexibility to invest in their human capital in other ways (by traveling abroad, for example). So there will be a correlation between college and income, even if there is not much causation.Even if one already has a life partner, one may choose to live in the Bay Area to help the children find a high-status, high-income mate.
O, the sacrifices that we make for the kids.