Poll: Over Half of Bay Area Residents Plan to Leave Area, More Would If They Could

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Posted: Oct 13, 2021 3:15 PM
Poll: Over Half of Bay Area Residents Plan to Leave Area, More Would If They Could

Source: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

According to a poll released on Monday by Joint Venture Silicon Valley, 56 percent of Bay Area residents in five counties said they agreed with the statement "I am likely to move out of the Bay Area in the next few years." Among the 44 percent who said they likely won't, 14 percent they want to, but cannot move. 

This includes 35 percent of those 18-34 and 36 percent of those who rent housing. The poll also notes:

The pressures to leave are more intense for residents without property or with lower levels of educational attainment. The number of renters who say they are likely to leave is 63%; of these, more than nine in ten cite the costs of living and housing. While respondents with a bachelor’s degree or higher are evenly split on the likelihood of leaving (50% agree; 50% disagree), those with less than a bachelor’s degree are more likely to leave (62% agree; 38% disagree). Most households making less than $250,000 per year say they are likely to move (57% agree). This is not notably more intense among those in the lower brackets making less than $50,000 a year (59%).

There already has been a mass exodus or an announced mass exodus. Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced last week that he's moving Tesla headquarters out of California to Texas with affordability being one reason. As Audrey Conklin for FOX Business reported, Musk has been hinting he'd move out since May 2020 and he also suggested it's to do with a tweet from State Rep. Lorena Gonzalez from May 9, 2020 which said "F*ck Elon Musk."

Musk isn't the only one, as the poll indicates 53 percent of tech workers say they are likely to leave the region.

And, according to Roman Flores for The Desert Review, "U-Haul one-way numbers mark California as number one for abandoning State." The article is from January but had an update in April. 

"Residents with deeper roots are less likely to think they may leave. Homeowners and respondents age 65 or older disagree that they are likely to leave the region. Among residents 65 or older, 41% say they are likely to leave. Among homeowners, 48% say they are likely to leave," the poll also notes.

President and CEO Russell Hancock began a letter to open the poll with:

The 2021 Silicon Valley poll—our first—finds us in a dark mood. 

We’ve long been a high-stress region. Staggering housing prices, rising homelessness, a stark income divide and a host of sustainability challenges have had us on edge for some time. But when you toss a highly infectious disease into the mix you get a smothering amount of anxiety: 60 percent of respondents say their lives have become more stressful since the pandemic set in; 52 percent feel more isolated and alone, and 66 percent are genuinely worried about the future.

The poll notes that a whopping 84 percent cite the high cost of living as their major reason, 77 percent do so when it comes to high housing costs, and 62 percent cite the quality of life. Tellingly, 71 percent of respondents think the quality of life is worse now than it was five years ago.

Hancock spoke with the San Francisco Chronicle about the reasons. "It’s housing, stupid," Hancock said. "That is driving almost all of the results we see in this poll."

According to World Population Review, San Francisco is the second most expensive place to live in 2021. In fact, five of the 10 most expensive cities are in California. Oakland, which is also in the Bay Area, is the sixth. 

California is the third most expensive state to live in, behind Hawaii and the District of Columbia. 

San Francisco has certainly been in the news recently. As Landon reported last night, Walgreens recently announced they are closing five stores in the city, citing "[o]organized retail crime." 

And, as I reported back in July, a whole host of other store chains are closing early or closing down due to crime. 

A June poll from San Francisco's own Chamber of Commerce noted that over 40 percent of respondents--500 San Francisco residents registered to vote--were planning to move out of the city over the next few years due to the rise in crime, homelessness, and quality of life concerns. 

A press release from the chamber of commerce noted that "For the second year in a row, 70% of residents feel that the quality of life in San Francisco has declined."