Survey: 34% of Bay area residents want to leave

For my money, San Francisco is the most beautiful city in America.  But that hardly matters to residents fighting sky-high housing costs, traffic gridlock, and a quality of life that has been declining in recent years.

A survey by the Bay Area Council reveals that 34% of residents would leave the city if they could.  Surprisingly, those who have moved to the city in the last five years are more likely to look for greener pastures.


"We can whine about this, or we can win by solving our traffic and housing problems," Carl Guardino, president of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, told The Mercury News. "The last time the Bay Area had seemingly solved its traffic problems was the worldwide recession of 2008. A recession is not how we want to solve our traffic and housing problems."

People who have lived in the area for five years or less are those most likely to start packing their bags, according to the report. San Franciscans with lower income and those putting more of their income toward housing expenses were also listed among those prepared to leave.

Residents noted that the most serious problems facing the Bay Area included high cost of living, poverty and income inequality, crime rates and homelessness.

The biggest concern for the Bay Area is the potential loss of its young labor force, though.

"These younger folks, millennials, are our future workforce; this is our labor market; this is our talent pool," Rufus Jeffris, vice president of communications for the Bay Area Council, told CNBC. "So, our economy is fueled by our talent and when folks are saying that they are going to leave, that can create a real problem for us in terms of attracting and retaining the workers and talent that we need to succeed."

"This is our canary in a coal mine," said Jim Wunderman, CEO of the Bay Area Council, in a statement. "Residents are screaming for solutions. Do we expect to see more than 2 million residents up and leave? Of course not. But losing even a fraction of that number and the talent they represent because we failed to deal with our most pressing issues would be very bad."

Some 54 percent of the local population said they would remain in the area.

With housing costs so high, only the poor (who receive subsidies) and the very rich can afford to live in the city.  The middle class is fleeing and the city government is doing little to address the housing crisis to stem the flow.

San Francisco is the blue model writ large.  It has generous everything – salaries, pensions, and subsidized arts and leisure activities, to name a few.  But the underside of the city is as ugly as it gets.  There is a crisis of homelessness that has led to vagrants wandering the city, urinating anywhere they wish, accosting citizens.  It has made life miserable for the middle class who often find their neighborhoods overrun with homeless people.

As the most prominent sanctuary city in the country, San Francisco has seen its share of illegal alien criminals murdering and raping citizens.  Is it any wonder that so many want out?

You might question why anyone would move there in the first place.

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