Two-thirds of the Bay Area says their quality of life has gotten worse during the last five years of the venture capital tech boom, according to a new poll of 1,600 registered voters.
The “San Francisco sucks and everyone’s leaving” genre of article has been a staple since even before the internet was a thing, and has launched a thousand think pieces and Medium posts, despite US Census data showing the local population steadily increasing. But it’s possible that both points are true — that more new, often transient tech talent is moving into the Bay Area to chase their vested-option dreams, while displacing legions of natives and old-timers who can’t afford a cost of living driven ever-higher by massively unprofitable companies. A new poll quantifies this sentiment pretty precisely, as the Bay Area News Group reports findings that 44% of respondents they’re likely to move in the “next few years”, and 6% say they have “definite plans to leave this year.”
“It looks nice,” said 30-year-old Dublin software engineer Diego Vela, who commutes and hour-and-a-half each way to work. “Until you factor in reality.”
That reality is an income-inequality dystopia of expensive housing, congested commutes, and a depressingly persistent homeless problem, according the poll of 1,568 people in the five Bay Area counties conducted by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
Even the apparent beneficiaries of the property value boom report increased misery, as 64% of homeowners say their quality of life gotten worse despite massive wealth gains on paper. Unsurprisingly, more than half of blue-collar workers, African American, and Latinx respondents told pollsters they felt their days living in the Bay Area were numbered.
And of course San Franciscans were the single unhappiest cohort by region, with nearly 75% saying our quality of life has gotten worse in the last five years.
The poll’s methodology certainly employed something of a leading question, giving respondents variations of agree/disagree options to the statement "I am likely to move out of the Bay Area in the next few years." So it’s not exactly binding.
Also, who answers their phone and responds to pollsters' questions besides bored retirees and the generally despondent?
But it’s also no surprise that Bay Area residents feel like they’re in a bind economically, and our nauseating cost of living shows no sign of relenting with that new batch of IPO millionaires "about to eat San Francisco alive." Brace for more stories of this genre in the coming weeks/months/years.
Related: Is the Bay Area Becoming a 21-County 'Megaregion'? [SFist]