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Definition: Silicon Valley

An area south of San Francisco, California that is noted for its huge number of computer companies. Initially, Silicon Valley was confined to the Santa Clara valley and started north of Palo Alto stretching 25 miles south to San Jose. With expansion into neighboring towns, the entire San Franciso Bay area can be considered Silicon Valley.

Thousands of hardware, software and related firms have headquarters or offices in Silicon Valley, making it the largest confluence of high tech in the U.S. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the number of computer and electronics firms grew exponentially, which is when the area got its nickname. In the 1990s, software and Internet-related companies proliferated. A downside to all this has been high prices for houses and apartments. Real estate goes for two to 10 times prices elsewhere in the country, especially if there is any sizeable land, which is only for the very wealthy. See Silicon Beach and high-tech regions.

Silicon Valley