A recent poll shows that just under 50 percent of Bay Area voters want to permanently pack their bags and leave the expensive and congested liberal Northern California region as soon as they can make arrangements.
The Bay Area Council (BAC) administered the new survey and found that a shocking 46 percent of residents in the greater San Francisco-Oakland area have had enough of the region’s skyrocketing cost of living and escalating home prices – indicating that they plan to move elsewhere within the next few years.
Many reasons to leave
BAC President Jim Wunderman – who heads the business-sponsored public policy advocacy group that conducted the poll – indicated that the results divulge that homelessness and major traffic congestion were also at the top of list of things that greatly bothered Bay Area residents.
“This is the trend we’ve been observing,” Wunderman revealed to KTVU. “Two years ago, it was 34 percent, and last year, it was 40.”
BAC hopes decision makers in the Bay Area take heed of the poll findings and consider it a warning that action steps are needed to avoid an impending exodus.
“The Bay Area Council says [the poll] is a big wake up call,” ABC-affiliate KGO-TV announced. “The advocacy organization is hoping state legislation aimed at expanding the housing supply will help, as well as Regional Measure 3, which – if approved by voters on Tuesday – will inject $4.5 billion for transportation projects.”
BAC Spokesperson Rufus Jeffris emphasized that residents not earning extremely high salaries are – for the most part – struggling to pay their rent or mortgage … not to mention the other costs of living in the Bay Area.
"We're seeing a lot of good high paying jobs, which is great news, but the high housing costs and the traffic make it harder for lower and middle incomes to stay here," Jeffris told KGO.
Young and old on the go … for good
Those desiring to leave are not just recent transplants or out-of-homers looking for a new experience, either, as most participants in the survey suffered through the grind of the Bay Area for at least two decades.
“The majority of the 1,000 polled said they have lived in the region for more than 20 years and increasingly believe that life in the Bay Area is heading in the wrong direction – despite mixed feelings about its economy,” Fox News reported.
A number of cheaper and less congested states have been declared the destination of choice for many fed-up Californians.
“Bay Area residents are moving to either more affordable California cities or to states such as Oregon, Nevada and Texas – places that are affordable, have lower taxes and less traffic,” KTVU’s Leigh Martinez noted.
It was also indicated that the Bay Area’s younger generation is getting just as fed up with the region as their parents, and it is likely that they will be following jobs that are moving out of state.
“BAC said that over the coming years, more companies may follow the high-quality workforce,” Martinez continued. “Bay Area Millennials are quickly on their way out, with 52 percent saying they will move out of the Bay Area in the next few years.”
Even though San Francisco’s and Oakland’s homeless problem was not marked as one of the major reasons for the impending exodus of Bay Area residents, it is acknowledged as one of the huge burdens that many communities recognize and face on a daily basis.
One of the major driving forces behind the migration outside of the Bay Area has to do with money.
“Forty-five percent of those who say they are planning to leave cited cost of living as the driving factor, while 27 percent said housing and rent costs are becoming too much to bear,” Fox News’ Norman informed from the poll. “Sixteen percent of that group said they plan to move somewhere else in California, while Texas, Oregon, Nevada and Arizona topped the most sought-after states outside of California for relocation.”
It was also discovered that the wages of federal employees living in the Bay Area simply cannot keep up with the soaring cost of living.
“On the downside of it is all the people who need to be here to provide all the services are being priced out,” Wunderman noted. “We’re seeing teachers, government workers, firefighters, police officers actually not able to live in the communities.”
Exodus already underway
Contending that it is now far too pricey to stay in Pleasanton, California, Ron and Elizabeth Haines are preparing to move to Idaho in the summer.
“We are excited,” Elizabeth Haines shared with KTVU. “I have tons of friends and family here. It’s going to be hard, but I have a feeling we’re going to have lots of visitors.”
Her husband echoed her concerns about the declining state of conditions in the Bay Area, with inflation and commuting being major drawbacks for him.
“One – it’s the high cost of living,” Ron Haines voiced in his first complaint. “I think a lot of folks know how hard it is to live here, and the amount of people coming in – the job market is so good. For me, what I do for a living is I’m on the road all the time. I noticed that the weekends are worse than the weekdays. There are a lot of people on our roads.”
Idaho was chosen as the Haines future home because of its resemblance to Lake Tahoe – a popular tourist and ski destination on the eastern border of Northern California and Nevada.
“It’s the same as the Bay Area in some cases – nice mix of prairie, mountains, lakes – what Northern California has to offer,” Ron Haines added.
The Haines’ daughter has also become wary of the way of life in the Bay Area – a growing trend with Millennials.
“She’s almost 19, and I gave her the option to stay here or go,” Elizabeth Haines shared with KTVU. “She decided, well, not only does she still need her mama, but she also wants a new life. She wants to be with us and start a business up there.”
Inflated home prices were another complaint voiced by local residents.
"You kill yourself trying to pay for the housing, and then you leave because it's just ridiculous, right?” San Francisco resident Ben Imadal told KGO. “So, I mean, it sounds about right."
Another resident from the City by the Bay stressed to the local ABC 7 News station KGO that the mass exodus from the Bay Area has already begun.
“Almost all of my daughter's friends and their parents have left,” Hickox informed the TV station. "We're making it work for now. Cross my fingers, but it's hard."
A South Bay resident self-identifying as “DJ Seafood” emphasized that the Bay Area now only accommodates the affluent sector of society.
"The cost and the value don't equate out for some of us – especially if we don't have cushy jobs that pay an arm and a leg," he explained to KGO.