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Here’s why people plan on leaving San Francisco

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“Good luck, suckers. SF is over.”

San Francisco Airport terminal with people leaving. Photo by Anton_Ivanov/Shutterstock

After newly released census data showed an uptick in people bolting from the Bay Area, we asked readers if they planned on leaving San Francisco for good. Many of you had a lot to say.

Everything from variations on “good, beat it” to “I don’t want to leave, but it’s too expensive” were echoed in the comments. Many of them brutal with their honesty, most of them depressing. Alas, it’s a city full of renters with too few able to buy property.

And being a metropolitan city, San Francisco is prone to constant change like most urban area, a fact that tends to take people by surprise.

First up, greybox86 gave a rundown about how the city has changed in a short time. And how they’ve lost hope when it comes to home buying.

[...] I went to school in the Bay and left shortly after graduation in 2008. Always wanted to live in SF and I made the move in 2015. The city has changed so much since my college days, it really isn’t the same place anymore. It has lost its uniqueness and quirkiness and has become dirtier with a sharp class divide.

I have lost hope in ever buying in the area, far too expensive and I’m not sure if prices will ever be attainable after this tech boom. I am planning on moving by the New Year – looking into LA or NYC (I lived in both). I don’t think I’ll ever plan on moving back, however, will plan to visit. SF is a very charming city to visit, but living here can be exhausting.

With an eye on Los Angeles, many bemoaned the city’s tech saturation, like fixsf1 who said:

Probably moving to LA soon. SF has become unlivable – overcrowded, traffic mess, yimbys advocating density that is changing the city for the worse, losing the artists and eclectic community that we had, too many divides (rich/poor, young/old, bikes/cars, new urbanism pushed/ vs traditional SF urbanism) – loss of culture. Tech takeover has filled the city with homogeneous "tech-bots" – they have ruined it – they can have it.

And others, like Jack NuMaker, were blunt in their assessment of Baghdad by the Bay:

ASAP. I’ve grown to Hate the city I once loved. I plan on moving to the East Bay, hopefully with a view of SF so I can watch it BURN.

Oh dear.

It goes to show you that, good or bad, San Francisco brings out untethered passion in people.

Jbriz, however, made an excellent point, saying that denizens here end up paying top dollar for second- and third-tier infrastructures and schooling.

Everything is expensive, the infrastructure is terrible, it takes forever to get anywhere, if you can’t afford to live in Palo Alto the public schools are 2nd or 3rd rate, the food scene is overrated, local boosters have an arrogance about this place 2nd only to NYC...and the reality of living here flies in the face of the liberal activism. Holy shit people, there are literal shantytowns everywhere. Boston has a 98% shelter rate for the homeless, NYC 75% – here it’s 5%. Put your money where your mouth is. Homelessness is more of a pressing issue than whether or not your city has hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. People talked about marriage equality but voted against it. Talked about prison reform while voting to expedite the death penalty. Talk about affordable housing but then stand in the way of most new housing . . . and then scratch their heads over why housing is so expensive.

I can tolerate disingenuousness. I can even tolerate poor public services and the lack of infrastructure. Paying top dollar for it, on the other hand, is insufferable.

Others considered themselves not only lucky to live here, but also championed its inclusive vibe, especially when compared to other less accepting parts of the state. Reader frozentoast says:

We’re not going anywhere. We’re lucky enough to afford it and we can’t think of a better place in the US to raise our non-white family. We have a beautiful neighborhood, view and the schools are some of the best in the country. There is a reason prices are so high to live here – supply and demand. If we HAD to move I think I would consider Seattle, La Jolla, west LA.

But according to Eddie Aneramac, the city’s elitist attitude and smugness has reached a tipping point. He notes:

I’ve lived in SF for years (25th & Guerrero) and I’m leaving for Chicago. Better food, better culture, better architecture, and most importantly: better people. SF (and the whole bay in general) is too elitist and too quick to pat themselves on the back for every little thing. The quality of life here has substantially degraded since I moved here, and now it’s clearly not worth the exorbitant prices. Good luck, suckers. SF is OVER.

And last but not least, brutal honest comes into play. Some residents just want others to leave. After all, only so many people can live on 7x7- miles of land, in a city where housing development isn’t what it should be. Reader linberl sums up their feelings about people leaving thusly:

Great. Let them leave. The Bay Area is too crowded. Bye, Felicia.

Read more reasons why people are planning on leaving San Francisco.