California

1 in 3 residents say they’re likely to abandon San Francisco, city’s own survey finds

A growing percentage of San Francisco residents reports being likely to leave the astronomically expensive California city — and that’s according to the city’s own survey of residents.

San Francisco’s 2019 survey reveals that 35 percent of respondents said they are likely to move away in the next three years, with 20 percent of residents reporting an imminent relocation is “somewhat likely” and 15 percent reporting a move is “very likely.”

The San Francisco Controller’s Office released an infographic on the findings, writing that “attitudes about leaving the city have remained relatively consistent for the past 14 years.”

But this year’s percentage is still a notable jump from just a few years ago: The city’s 2013 survey showed that only 20 percent of people said they were likely to move in the following three years — a percentage that itself had “declined substantially from 32 percent in 2011,” according to the 2013 findings.

This year’s finding was slightly higher than 2017, when 31 percent of residents said they were likely to abandon San Francisco in the following three years.

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In this year’s survey, younger people were significantly more likely to report being somewhat or very likely to move out of San Francisco in the next three years: Nearly half of those under 35 said they were likely to move, compared with just 22 percent of those older than 55.

How long someone has already lived in San Francisco was also linked to reported likelihood to move, with 48 percent of those residing in the city for less than five years saying they’re likely to go but just 26 percent of those who have lived in the city more than two decades reporting similar intentions.

San Francisco renters were nearly twice as likely to report an anticipated move compared with the city’s homeowners.

According to the city, most who leave San Francisco aren’t going far.

Half of San Francisco residents who moved away from 2013 to 2017 relocated to another county in the Bay Area, and 20 percent of other out-migrants moved elsewhere in California, according to U.S. Census data compiled by the city.

The survey found that 42 percent of residents were “not at all likely” to move away in the next three years and 22 percent were “not too likely.”

San Francisco isn’t the only part of the Golden State facing an exodus, either.

“About 691,000 people left California to live in other states in 2018, new census estimates indicate,” Phillip Reese wrote in The Sacramento Bee earlier this week. “At the same time, roughly 501,000 people came to California from other states, creating a net loss of about 190,000 residents in 2018.”

The Bee reported that “California saw the biggest net loss of residents to Texas, Arizona, Nevada and Oregon, according to the census estimates, which are drawn from its annual American Community Survey. It gained residents from much of the northeast United States, along with parts of the upper Midwest.”

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.
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