Dismal Poll Findings for Bay Area: Half the Respondents Want to Leave

To paraphrase Bill Clinton, it's the housing, stupid! In addition to the troubling findings of the Bay Area Council poll, a California housing report found that Silicon Valley had the highest percentage of residents leaving their counties.

3 minute read

June 6, 2018, 10:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid

Water Emergency Transportation Authority

NAN728 / Shutterstock

"Forty-six percent of Bay Area residents surveyed said they are likely to move out of the region in the next few years — up from 40 percent last year and 34 percent in 2016, according to a poll released Sunday by business-backed public policy advocacy group the Bay Area Council," reports Marisa Kendall, who covers housing for the Bay Area News Group, on June 2.

They couldn’t be more clear what the big problems are — and it is exclusively about the cost of housing,” said John Grubb, chief operating officer for the Bay Area Council. “They don’t see…enough action coming, and so they’re looking at taking matters into their own hands."

Well, technically not 'exclusively,' but mostly; 42 percent to be precise, "a dramatic jump from 28 percent last year," writes Kendall. "Meanwhile, 18 percent said traffic and congestion, 14 percent cited poverty and homelessness, and 12 percent said the cost of living."

One demographic that particularly concerns the business group are millennials because of their important place in the labor force.

Fifty-two percent of millennials said they will be attempting to leave the region in the next few years, up from 46 percent in 2017. That’s particularly troubling because it means the young people who should be driving the region’s workforce for decades to come instead are seeking opportunities elsewhere, said Grubb.

A separate analysis prepared by realtor.com®, using property searches and census data, found that Santa Clara County, followed by San Mateo County, had the highest percentage of residents leaving their counties, reports Katy Murphy for The Mercury News on June 1. Los Angeles County was third. Since their destinations were not necessarily out-of-state, it was not a measure of "out-migration." However, the net movement out of the county is labeled "domestic migration."

“They’re looking for affordability and not finding it in Santa Clara County,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com.

However, both Kendall and Murphy reference data from a separate report that appears inconsistent with the findings of their respective articles. Kendall writes:

A recent report from Joint Venture Silicon Valley found more people left Silicon Valley in both 2016 and 2017 than in any year since 2006. Still, Silicon Valley is gaining more residents than it’s losing — the region welcomed 44,732 newcomers between July 2015 and July 2017, and lost 44,102.

Another apparent inconsistency with recent media reports was that San Francisco was not among the top ten list of California counties rated by share of departing residents, described at the bottom of Murphy's article, along with their most popular destinations. According to the press release for the report prepared by Move, Inc. and realtor.com®, it ranked #13 among the 16 counties surveyed. However, it ranked second, after San Diego, when measuring out-migration, i.e., the share of departing residents leaving the state as opposed to settling elsewhere in-state.

The Bay Area Council's poll findings were also reported by the San Francisco Business Times which provided a link to the poll.

Sunday, June 3, 2018 in The Mercury News

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