Silicon Valley Pain Index

Silicon Valley Pain Index

Dr. Armaline speaking at press conference

2021 SV Pain Index [pdf]

Dr. Scott Myers-LiptonThe HRI will offer the SVPI as an annual report on the state of inequality and quality of life for San José and Silicon Valley residents. Its inspiration can be found in Professor Bill Quigley's Katrina Pain Index following the devastating 2005 storm. The SVPI measures are meant to reflect fundamental (IBHR) International Human Rights and to serve as one of many potential illustrations of Santa Clara County’s [SCC] performance as a “human rights county.” 

First produced in 2020, the 2021 SVPI report updates prior findings and illustrates a stunning increase in inequalities over the past year, as communities weathered a global rebellion against racist police violence, the global COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine rollout, and an economic downturn producing high unemployment rates in the face of still rising housing costs.

While our community was shocked at the incredibly high levels of racial discrimination and income and wealth inequality detailed in the 2020 SVPI, the 2021 Silicon Valley Pain Index shows how the level of inequality during this pandemic has gone from bad to horrific. As 2021 SVPI shows, most all “pain” indicators have worsened, as hunger, housing insecurity, homelessness, high school dropout rates, income inequality, and wealth inequality have all increased.

SV Pain Index: Dr. King's "Curious Formula" [pdf]

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

We celebrate Dr. King’s birthday each year since his life’s work provides the nation a way out of the chaos of white supremacy and toward the beloved community offered by a multi-ethnic, multi-racial democracy. But for Dr. King, the beloved community was blocked by racism and economic exploitation, which he saw as interconnected, stating, “A nation that will keep people in slavery for 244 years will ‘thingify’ them and make them things. And therefore, they will exploit them and poor people generally economically.” For King racism and economic exploitation were part of the structures of society that were enacted out through various institutions (i.e., political, economic, education, family, criminal justice, etc.), and they created a pattern, or "curious formula". King saw this “curious formula” dating back to the writing of the Constitution in 1787, where a black person was defined as 60% of a human being when determining taxation and representation. According to King, this initial principle led to a “curious formula” where Blacks received one-half of the good things in life, and two times the bad.

This curious formula was the reality in 1968, when King was murdered, and sadly, it is the reality today in these United States, and more specifically for us in Silicon Valley. And while there are probably not many in Silicon Valley who would support the violent actions taken this past week by the white extremist organizations in Washington DC, institutionalized racism still dominates most of our institutions as is demonstrated by the MLK infographic presented by Silicon Valley Pain Index. In dramatic color images of King, the infographic shows the curious formula’s consistent pattern where our institutions provide Blacks (and other people of color) one-half of the good things in life, and two times the bad.

SV Pain Index: 2020 [pdf]