Living in the booming Bay Area requires a fair amount of hustle, luck, and resilience. While it’s possible to secure that rent-controlled apartment, find a well-paying job and forgo a car-dependent lifestyle, it’s usually an uphill battle. But now a new report states that the struggle is just too real for many of our millennial residents. Forty-six percent of 18 to 39-year-olds interviewed earlier this year voiced an interest in leaving the Bay Area.
The data comes after the Bay Area Council, a public-policy advocacy organization, interviewed 1,000 registered voters from around the Bay Area on issues of economic growth, housing, transportation, drought, education, and workforce. Of the millennials polled, 65 percent listed the cost of living as a major reason for wanting to move.
Out of the nine counties that make up the Bay Area, Santa Clara had the highest number of residents thinking about throwing in the towel: 47 percent. And in an unsurprising trend, renters surpassed homeowners in a desire to bounce: 50 percent of leasers wanted to leave, while only 31 percent of homeowners considered a move elsewhere.
While it might be easy to applaud anyone’s impending departure so there’s more room for the rest of us, losing young people is a big blow to any geographic area. “Losing our youth is a very bad economic and social strategy,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “But until we get serious about building the housing we need we’re going to continue seeing our region drained of the young and diverse talent that has helped make the Bay Area an economic powerhouse.”
This all seems pretty doom and gloom, but it’s also important to note that this is just talk. How many people have you overheard at Zeitgeist lamenting how drastically San Francisco has changed since they moved here in 2013? It’s easy to complain but hard to follow through with plans to vacate, particularly when you realize other cities around the country have things like snow, counties that voted red, and a population that’s never heard of bánh mì.