MARIN COUNTY (KCBS) – A new study has found that nearly 60 percent of people who work in Marin County can’t afford to live in the area and instead, commute from other counties.

Robert Hickey of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California authored the report and cites a lack of affordable housing as one of the main reasons for the large commuter workforce.

“About two-thirds of Marin workers earn less than $55,000 a year,” said Hickey. “It’s about $55,000 a year that you need to earn to afford a typical one bedroom apartment.”

KCBS’ Melissa Culross Reports:

Hickey said that with so many people commuting long distances, it is hard on both the workers and the county.

“When fewer people can live in the county, that means even more people are on the highways, like Highway 101. It’s not a coincidence that Marin’s congestion on its freeways has increased faster than any other part of the Bay Area,” said Hickey.

The report found that Marin’s economy has shifted to lower-paying retail and service sector jobs over the years, while home prices continue to rise. In fact, it projected that over the next five years, 65 percent of jobs created in Marin will be in low-paying sectors.

The report by Live Local Marin also found that 77 percent of houses built between 1999 and 2006 were priced for households earning $80,000 or more per year, which only 11 percent of the county’s workforce can afford.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (3)
  1. John Davis says:

    As you reported, many workers don’t make more than $55000 a year and it takes a household to earn $80000 to live in 77% of the new houses, you jump to conclusion that only 11% can afford to live in those houses.

    It will be helpful (and showing your journalist training) if you also report how many families have two earners and how many of them can earn enough to live in Marin county. It is impractical to expect an average single-earner family can afford a house in an affluent (if not most expensive) county in the country.

  2. Doug O'Bayley says:

    I grew up in marin. Went to school there, had my first child there. I moved in the 70’s when it became apparent I could no longer afford the “luxury” of marin. Now that I can afford to live anywhere i wish i no longer want to live in marin. The county I held dear has changed between my arrival in 1959 and today. Marins refusal to accept bart or the commute train from Sonoma county only make it blatantly clear that the jobs available will all be service jobs provided by workers who live elsewhere to a population who also commutes elsewhere all chained to highway 101.

  3. Scott Thompson says:

    Most Marin jobs (66%) have become service sector jobs paying less then $30,000. Since one-bedroom apartments listed in Marin are more than $1500 monthly, the math doesn’t work even with two jobs. And two incomes will not come near what is needed to pay an $800,000 minimum mortgage. Wake up everyone! Marin is severely dysfunctional, and it’s getting worse. Policeman, firemen, teachers, nurses cannot live here. The reporter here did fine. I wouldn’t shoot the messenger. Just watch the traffic on 101 everyday.

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