SF moving companies have been busy, as San Francisco residents have been largely relocating to nearby counties. As an increasing number of residents have been leaving the Bay Area over the past few years, city planners have designated the area surrounding the Bay as a megaregion. With the region starting to include cities like Fresno and Sacramento, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is planning accordingly.
SFist has previously covered the fabled “Cal Exodus” and whether the research backs the claims or not. According to a UC San Diego survey, the number of people leaving California has been relatively stagnant over the past two years.
"Despite the popular notion of unhappy Californians leaving the state en masse, our robust research shows there is actually no exodus," said Thad Kousser, chair of the political science department at UC San Diego and the lead researcher of the survey. "Most residents say that they still believe in the 'California Dream.'"
Regardless of the stats, there is proof that people are leaving the Bay Area for cheaper housing and cost of living. Researchers like Dr. Seva Rodnyansky, an urban and environmental policy professor at Occidental College, saw a correlation between income and where people had moved by tracking state tax returns.
"For places like Roseville and Folsom, nearly 35 percent of movers had household incomes of $100,000," said Rodnyansky in his interview with ABC7 News. "In contrast, 30 percent or more movers to Stockton, Los Banos and Patterson had household incomes below $25,000. So that's a pretty stark difference."
Since the pandemic, remote work has increased more than ever before. In 2020, close to 70% of full-time workers were working from home. Once more people seemed to realize that remote work might have been a longer-term situation for both employees and companies, city residents saw it as a sign to move somewhere more affordable if the commute was a nonexistent factor.
While overall commute traffic is down, residents moving to outlying counties (such as Merced, San Joaquin, and Yolo) caused traffic to spike. One of the reasons why, is a rise in “supercommuters” from those areas, driving 50 or more miles to their work. As of August 2021, San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles accountsfor about a third of supercommuters in the nation. The highest rate of supercommuters reside from Stockton, about 80 miles east of San Francisco. Stockton is also followed by Modesto, Santa Rosa, and San Jose in the top ten metropolitan areas having the highest rates of supercommuters, most of whom are commuting to San Francisco.
As a result, the MTC is planning on a list of twelve transportation projects in the megaregion. They are studying migration patterns and prioritizing the order in which they complete the projects. The MTC is also working on getting state and federal support in funding for these projects. No projections of costs are available at this time, but it surely will be expensive.
"They will strategize and put together a work plan to pursue funding together, to work together on those grant applications," said Diane Nguyen with the San Joaquin Council of Governments.