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One Third of Bay Area Residents Plan to Leave for Good, Says Poll

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Number corresponds exactly to number of people who made $75,000 or less last year.

If you think the city is too dense, good news: Wait a while, and the problem might fix itself.

The Bay Area Council, a coalition of local business interests, just released its annual survey of Bay Area morale. Years past usually showed general faith in the status quo, but this year's results suddenly lurched in the direction of a major bummer. The biggest takeaway is that over a third of those polled plan to move out of not just San Francisco but out of the Bay Area altogether in "the next few years."

The survey doesn’t specify why people think they might leave, although we do note that that 34 percent statistic corresponds exactly to the number of respondents who made $75,000 or less last year.

Perilously vague timeline aside, it seems fair to interpret the response to mean that an alarming number of those asked are increasingly ready to give up on the Bay.

Indeed, if the Bay Area Council figures are anything to go by, San Franciscans have lost heart to a shocking degree this year. In 2014, only 27 percent of those polled felt the region was "on the wrong track," and in 2015 that number rose to merely 28 percent (well within the survey’s three point margin of error). In 2016, though, that number skyrocketed to 40 percent.

The number of confused and conflicted San Franciscans increased as well, from 17 percent last year to 20 percent now. That leaves only the remaining 40 percent who feel that things in the city are still going well, a figure that somehow manages to be neither a majority, a minority, nor a plurality.

SFist points out that the Chamber of Commerce found even more tepid results when it asked the same question. And just last week, Trulia sounded the alarm about an enormous migration of the working class out of San Francisco and Oakland.

Twenty-three percent of people cited the cost of housing as the number one problem in the region. This is five points higher than last year but, oddly, a point lower than in 2014. But the number one number one worry was the general cost of living, cited by 25 percent of those polled, up from 21 and 18 percent the last two years.

(Traffic was number three. At least some things never change).

But a nearly overwhelming 60 percent of those polled say that they prefer to build more housing outside of the Bay Area (again, not just San Francisco) rather than build more housing here. Only 32 percent disagreed.

The survey of 1,000 locals was conducted between February and March of this year. Nearly two-thirds of those who responded have lived in the Bay Area more than 20 years, while 13 percent have lived here five years or less.

Twelve percent of those polled live in San Francisco, with 30 percent hailing from the East Bay (Alameda and Contra Costa counties) and 25 percent in Santa Clara County.