San Francisco Residents Want To Leave

Over the past 6 weeks, we’ve seen an unprecedented number of people looking to relocate out of the Bay Area, and almost no one looking to move into the region.

The slow down in VC funding, as well as massive layoffs at startups and tech companies, could be some of the major factors driving this sharp shift in net migration patterns.

Out of roughly 1,200 moving searches involving the Bay Area, almost 90% have been for outbound relocations. Los Angeles and Austin were among the most popular destinations.

To put this into perspective, during the same period last year, there were 980 move searches involving the Bay Area on our moving cost calculator. Of those 980 requests, 57% were for outbound moves and 43% were for moves into the Bay Area. This is typical for any major city that has a lot of people coming in and out at any given time.

But what we’re currently seeing is an incredible 90% of move searches involving the Bay Area are current residents looking to leave and only 10% are people looking to move into the region. That’s a very different picture from just last year.

Some of the most popular outbound destinations include:

City % of searches
Los Angeles 14.98%
Austin 6.72%
Atlanta 5.33%
Columbus 5.10%
Nashville 3.25%
Portland 3.00%
Seattle 2.24%

The Bay Area has a complicated migration history, so it’s hard to say precisely what’s driving the change. We’ve also observed changes in relocation requests out of other major cities like New York recently.

But there are many reasons why the region could finally be experiencing a shrinking population:

  • The VC funding firehose is starting to lose pressure
  • Startups are laying off workers left and right
  • A well documented lack of affordable housing
  • The insane cost living in the Bay Area
  • Coronavirus may have urban dwellers rethinking major cities
  • The current halt on foreign immigration into the United States

While long term net migration trends take years to measure, this early data does suggest a major acceleration in residents leaving the Bay Area. This is a trend we will certainly be keeping an eye on.

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