I am trying to gauge the growth of the biotech/pharma sector in the Bay Area over the last few years: as you know, Boston is still the top destination, so my main concern is whether I will find other jobs if [things don't work out].
[Also], I was wondering what a “good” salary is for the Bay Area. Currently [my spouse] is finishing grad school so we are pretty much a single income family, but [they] are getting [their advanced degree in tech] so we’re hoping that [they] will be making a decent amount of money soon. Any sources which can help me compare, for instance, what the equivalent of say a 120K salary in Boston would be for SF would be immensely helpful.This is a good question, and one that I don't really have a strong sense of. It seems to me that San Francisco will continue to play "1A" to Boston's "1" for the foreseeable future. Absent some sort of bizarre catastrophe that strikes Silicon Valley, Stanford and UC-Berkeley (a series of huge earthquakes and fires?), it's hard for me to imagine that the science and financial ecosystem of the Bay Area will lose its relative position in the biopharma world, either nationally or internationally.
A brief look at median incomes and household income percentiles may be instructive, regarding pay scales. There are plenty of websites that compare cost of living, and I don't really know if any of them are better than others. I invite reader suggestions on that one.
However, I think one of the main drivers of high cost of living is the relative number of people with high incomes (I note here that I have read exactly none of the relevant social science around this.) So, a comparison of San Francisco County and Suffolk County, Massachusetts (using the Census Bureau's 2014 American Community Survey):
Suffolk County, MA: median income of $54,169, 26.9% earn more than $100,000
San Francisco County, CA: median income of $78,378, 40.9% earn more than $100,000
Middlesex County, MA: median income of $83,488, 42% earn more than $100,000
Norfolk County, MA: median income of $86,469, 43.6% earn more than $100,000
UPDATE: Thanks to Joe Q., I've decided to add some of the adjoining counties.