Why a majority of Silicon Valley residents need to transfer
More than half of Silicon Valley and Bay Area residents are considering leaving the area because of housing and high cost of living concerns, according to a new poll released Tuesday.
The results of the Silicon Valley joint venture survey show growing pessimism among residents of the region, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sixty percent of respondents say their lives have become more stressful since the pandemic, and 56 percent are considering leaving the Bay Area in the next few years.
Introducing the survey, Russell Hancock, Joint Venture chief executive, said this was “a higher percentage than any previous survey we’ve seen.”
Among the technical staff who responded, 53% said they are considering leaving the region – home to some of the largest tech companies in the world, including Apple Inc. AAPL, -0.72%,
Alphabet Inc.’s google googl, -1.74% goog, -1.34%, and Facebook Inc. FB, -0.60% – including 15% who said they were leaving the Bay Area but wanted to keep their jobs.
Most respondents agreed with some of their biggest concerns about the region and asked questions about what policy makers should do to address these issues. More than 90% agreed that the cost of living was an extremely serious or very serious problem and 90% thought the cost of living was an extremely serious or very serious problem. Almost 90% of the respondents saw the issue of homelessness in the region in a similar way.
The mood among respondents was mixed depending on their circumstances, including their income level, age and home. A majority of low-paid workers were more likely to say their situation was worse than it was before the pandemic, as they lost jobs or suffered wage cuts. Higher earners were less likely to say their situation was worse than it was before the pandemic, and many said their work-life balance had improved.
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Accordingly, 33% of those with an annual income of $ 50,000 or more said they “totally agree” they are considering moving out of the Bay Area, compared with 22% of those with an annual household income of $ 250,000 or more who felt the same. And 63% of renters said they would likely move out compared to 48% of homeowners who would likely.
As for the age gap, 64% of 18-34 year olds agreed or strongly agreed that they would likely move out of the Bay Area in the next few years, while 54% of 35-49 year olds felt the same way. For 50 to 64 year olds it was 60% and for 65 year olds 41%.
However, journalists interviewing the respondents said at a public presentation of the poll on Tuesday that it was unclear whether some of them will go ahead with their plans to leave the region.
“Family was cited as the main reason people had ties to the Bay Area,” said Louis Hansen, a reporter for the Bay Area News Group, who worked with Joint Venture on the survey. “They would keep talking about their frustrations and then saying they love California.”
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Another Bay Area News Group reporter, Marisa Kendall, wrote about how the pandemic highlighted the region’s wide income disparities. She said that for some low-income residents, moving might be out of reach. A single mother she spoke to said she didn’t even know how to start the process.
“It’s hard to say goodbye,” said Kendall. “It’s expensive. You have to find schools for your children. We might see some people not pull the trigger.”
Previous surveys have shown that sentiment doesn’t necessarily translate into action. Last year, a similar survey by the Bay Area News Group conducted with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group found that 47% of respondents were considering leaving the company. That was a 44% increase in 2019. But data from Joint Venture’s most recent Silicon Valley Index showed that the region’s population didn’t actually decrease in 2020.
This year’s poll polled 1,610 registered voters in five Bay Area counties – San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, and Santa Clara – which include Silicon Valley counties. The survey was conducted online from September 21-26 in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Mandarin.