A new survey of residents of the San Francisco Bay area found that the majority of them are planning to leave “in the next few years.”
“It’s important to note these feelings go beyond the pandemic itself,” said Russel Hancock, President and CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, the organization behind the poll.
“High percentages of us are concerned about wildfires, drought and political polarization. 71 percent feel that the quality of life in Silicon Valley has grown worse over the past five years. We’re split (48 to 52) on whether the Bay Area is headed in the right direction. On this basis, we probably shouldn’t be surprised that 56 percent of us are mulling plans to leave the region, a higher percentage than any previous polling we’ve seen. Even our tech workforce (53 percent) is wondering if the grass is greener someplace else.”
SF Gate reported the polling, which also found that residents are roughly 50/50 on whether the area is heading in the right direction.
“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,” Hancock said. “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.”
Besides liberal economic policies, other factors are motivating the moving, including high cost of living and housing prices.
“It’s the cost of living, high housing costs. I think that is the dominant thing. It’s housing housing housing,” said Hancock. “…That is driving almost all of the results.”