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Forty percent of the Bay Area wants to leave, says new poll

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Including 46 percent of millennials

The Bay Area from the wing of a plane. Eric Broder Van Dyke

This week we asked Curbed SF readers whether or not they plan on leaving San Francisco. As it turns out, those who said yes will likely have some company during their exodus.

On Thursday, the Bay Area Council (a business-sponsored public policy advocacy organization) released the results of a late January phone poll asking 1,000 Bay Area voters whether they want to stick around.

The results: 40 percent said they are “considering leaving the Bay Area in the next few years,” with the trend particularly pronounced among those hit hardest by housing costs. Of those spending between 45 and 55 percent of their income on housing, 49 percent are in the mood for a change of scenery.

The 18 to 39-year-old range made up 46 percent of those pondering other pastures. Here are some of the reasons why:

Cost of living was [...] one of the top three problems [cited] (55%) followed by traffic (41%) and housing (39%). Homelessness (30%) and poverty/ income inequality (28%) also figured high on the set list of problems. [...]

33 percent of millennials (18-39) rank cost of living as the region’s top problem and 65 percent choose it as one of the top three, compared with 16 percent and 44 percent, respectively, for voters aged 65 and older.

Of course, some departures are more motivated than others.
Pete Sheffield

The trend is most pronounced in Santa Clara County. The Bay Area Council goes on to suggest that the poll results indicate cities should build more housing.

Of course, the terms used here, “considering leaving,” are a pretty light touch. Often people will express a desire to leave simply as a means to vent without ever seriously taking steps toward departure.

The U.S. Census indicates that roughly 80,000 people are fleeing the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward area annually. But 100,000 new residents are coming in annually to replace them.

Still, it’s significant that the number of people publicly disgruntled about the living in the Bay Area has gone up. In 2016, the same BAC poll found only 34 percent considering a move at the time. If that stat keeps going up, it will inevitably translate to more actual move-outs sooner or later.

Some Curbed readers are possibly among the freshly jilted, including one who laid it all on the line this week:

I have lost hope in ever buying in the area. [...] 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 don’t think I’ll ever plan on moving back. [...] SF is a very charming city to visit, but living here can be exhausting.