Merc: Silicon Valley losing its appeal ? Me: Nope.

According to this San Jose Mercury News piece, a Silicon Valley Leadership Group report ranks the region last among eight high-tech areas in quality of life.  The report, called “Daring To Compete: A Region-to-Region Reality Check,” will be officially released Wednesday. The leadership group compared Silicon Valley to Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Fairfax, Va.; Boston; Seattle; Austin; Portland, Ore.; and San Diego.

According to the Merc, in the seven categories examined, Silicon Valley ranked no higher than six. When it came to housing affordability, only San Diego did worse. Some data points:

  • Raleigh-Durham ranks first among the eight regions overall, thanks to its low cost of housing, easy commutes, good schools, and low unemployment and taxes.
  • While all the tech regions were hit hard by the downturn, Silicon Valley continues to struggle with the highest unemployment rate.
  • While Silicon Valley eighth-grade students have some of the best math test scores in California, the state as a whole ranks last in the list.
  • Silicon Valley still has the second-highest tax rates, tied with San Diego and behind only Boston.

The report points out that international competition from European countries, South America, Asia,… is growing in order to setup other technology hot beds.

It is true that it costs an arm and a leg to live out here: houses, schools, etc. but if you are in the startup world, looking at building your next venture, trying to assemble the founding team, raising the initial capital and getting the necessary support: this is still the place to be. Companies might eventually relocate, offshore, etc. but one of the most priviledged starting points is here. Every week I meet young entrepreneurs who have relocated from other parts of the country to launch their company here. And the first thing they do is to hang out at geek meetups, events, parties, in order to build up the ecosystem they will need to grow. One of the resources I often point to is this list of public events happening every day in the Valley. 

TechCrunch MeetupExpensive ? Yes. Losing its appeal ? For startups, hell No.

Want one more reason ? The newly enacted TechCrunch Meetup was a real blast. Thanks to Mike and Keith for putting this together, it was great.