By Tim Hunt
People are bailing out of San Francisco, but not the Bay AreaUploaded: Mar 11, 2021
Much has been written in the last year about families and companies bailing out of high-cost California and the Bay Area in particular.
Two recent studies have shown something different. People are rushing out of urban areas such as San Francisco, but most are not going beyond the broader 11-county Bay Area. The non-partisan California Policy Lab at UC Berkeley used data from quarterly credit and residency reports to arrive at that conclusion. A San Francisco Chronicle article used data from change of address forms from the U.S. Postal Service and came to a similar conclusion.
Exits from San Francisco from late March 2020 until year-end soared by 649% compared to 2019. The report showed 38,800 people leaving the City by the Bay compared to 5,200 in 2019. About two-thirds of the people remained in the Bay Area, while counties in the Sierra Nevada and Northern California showed huge increases in former Bay Area residents ranging from 50% to more than 100%.
The statewide trend showed a change in the fourth quarter of 2020 when 267,000 people left the state and only 128,000 moved in. The movers leaving the state has grown slightly to 18% from 16% since 2015 and that trend continued in 2020.
For state government bureaucrats, the survey noted no dramatic difference in departures based on household wealth. There have been well publicized departures of some wealthy folks, but this report determined that was not a trend.
The Chronicle report showed similar trends. The top six destinations for people leaving San Francisco were Bay Area counties, topped by Alameda County.
The trends in business relocations has the Bay Area Council very concerned. The council has been advocating at the state and regional level to bring business to the table because San Francisco voters passed two anti-business measures last fall and the Democrat-dominated Legislature is hardly business friendly.
The council has formed a group to work on improving the business climate in the state by addressing homelessness, high taxes and other negatives that are sending companies out of state. The coalition is charged by Clint Reilly of San Francisco. Reilly is a real estate investor as well as owner of several media properties.
The goal is to raise millions of dollars to support their initiatives including an advertising campaign stressing the greatness of California. They could start with improving government efficiency in San Francisco. Lee Ohanian of the Hoover Institute wrote this week about San Francisco, pointing out that the budget is $15,650 per capita, about 40% higher than New York City.
That’s truly stunning, but it leads to absurdities such as the city paying $61,000 annually to house formerly homeless people in tents. The city’s current budget for its Dept. of Homeless and Supportive Housing is $852 million, more than the city of Sacramento’s total budget of $650 million for more than 500,000 residents.
The city estimates there are 8,000 homeless people there which works out to $106,500 in city costs per person.
Thanks to Ohanian for pointing this out. It just causes you to shake your head and realize how over-staffed San Francisco must be. It certainly doesn’t have more unionized employees than New York—both cities are wall-to-wall with public and private unions.