“Silicon Valley Poll” Tells Us More Than 40 Percent of Residents Are Considering Moving Out of the Bay Area – Two Reasons May Come as a Surprise

San Jose, CA – One thing is clear from this year’s annual Silicon Valley Poll – People are thinking twice about staying in the Bay Area and are looking for answers to perceived pressing problems. 44 percent of those polled in five counties say they are likely to move out of the Bay Area in the next few years, but only six percent say they have definite plans to leave in 2019.

So, why are they considering a future move? Among those contemplating a move, 77 percent say high housing costs and 76 percent say it’s the cost of living. Other factors feeding discontent include traffic congestion at 51 percent, with quality of life coming in at 45 percent and taxes not far behind at 41 percent.

“We need to take big, bold, transformative steps before we lose the talented people who keep the engine of Silicon Valley, and our innovation economy, running,” said Carl Guardino of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. With the leadership of Governor Newsom, and our own advocacy at The Leadership Group, we believe that voters in 2020, will have real, substantive choices to help solve some of the most pressing transportation and housing challenges facing our region and state today”.

Figure 1: Reasons to Move Away

Reason to Move Away All Voters Likely to Move Away in Next Few Years Definite Plans to Move Away in 2019
High housing costs 60% 77% 74%
Cost of living, overall 57% 76% 70%
Traffic congestion 37% 51% 45%
Quality of Life 32% 45% 52%
Amount of Taxes 28% 41% 50%

The poll conducted by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group in partnership with the Bay Area News Group surveyed 1,568 potential voters in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties from February 14-24th.

Figure 2: Perceptions by County

Position All Voters Alameda County Contra Costa County SF San Mateo Santa Clara
Total Better 7% 7% 4% 6% 10% 9%
Stayed the Same 23% 22% 28% 17% 21% 26%
Total Worse 65% 67% 62% 72% 63% 60%

The perceptions of what currently ails the Bay Area is fairly consistent across counties with 83 percent saying the cost of housing is the most serious problem, followed by cost of living at 81 percent and, perhaps surprisingly, homelessness comes in third at 79 percent, followed by traffic congestion at 76. In fifth place is increasing wildfires at 70 percent. However, voters are divided on if rapid growth in the Bay has been positive or negative, with a plurality of 33 percent viewing as positive.

To learn additional findings and discuss more in-depth demographic information contact Pam Kelly, senior communications manager at pkelly@svlg.org.

The poll of 1,568 registered voters in Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco counties, was conducted by FM3 Research for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Bay Area News Group. The poll, conducted Feb. 14-24, has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.

About the Silicon Valley Leadership Group
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group, founded in 1978 by David Packard of Hewlett-Packard, represents 330 of Silicon Valley’s most respected employers on issues, programs and campaigns that affect the economic health and quality of life in Silicon Valley including energy, transportation, education, housing, health care, tax policies, economic vitality and the environment. The Leadership Group members collectively provide nearly one of every three private sector jobs in Silicon Valley and generate more than $3 trillion in annual revenue.