People have been moving out of Silicon Valley and the entirety of San Francisco at an alarming rate in “a unique and dramatic exodus” that’s been unfolding since the pandemic began. According to a study by the California Policy Lab at UC Berkeley and UCLA, the 11-county region is experiencing a record increase in emigration rates, while immigration is at a record low. There’s been a 30% increase in the number of people moving out, while immigration numbers continue to dwindle in the face of stringent travel and safety restrictions.
The trend is also spreading state-wide, with data from the U.S. Postal Service showing the number of people moving out of California jumped by 15% over the past year.
Before the pandemic, surveys showed increasing frustration among the region’s populace over traffic, skyrocketing cost of housing, rising unemployment, and other banes. To boot, the toll of the pandemic on the region’s economy and employment rate, as well as the growing adoption of remote work has given many residents more impetus to relocate to other less-expensive cities.
But it’s not only residents who’re bailing ship. Many companies, including industry leaders are also leaving Silicon Valley and the surrounding areas for good. Recently, Oracle and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise announced the permanent relocation of their headquarters to Texas. Other companies are also fleeing to Colorado, Florida, and other states, while some have gone fully remote, adopting work-from-home policies from top to bottom.
Many leaders of the Bay Area, including policymakers and tech leaders have expressed shock over the current reality. “We’re in real trouble,” decried John Chambers, former CEO of Cisco and a renowned think tank in Silicon Valley during an interview.
However, experts believe it’s still too soon to tell what the real impact of this migration crisis might be, though many believe it could be far-reaching and highly consequential to the region.
“The stakes are high,” the California Policy Lab warned in its report. “Significant population shifts could affect the size and composition of regional labor markets as well as rent and home values.”
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