By the Daily Post staff
Bay Area residents are growing increasingly pessimistic about the direction the area is headed, and a whopping 46% say they’re planning to leave in the next few years.
That’s according to new poll results released by the Bay Area Council, a pro-business group.
Stratospheric housing costs, the overall high cost of living and bumper-to-bumper traffic are the main culprits behind the region’s worsening grumpiness. The housing crisis topped the list of most nettlesome issues for the fourth straight year, according to the poll, which is conducted annually.
Housing costs were mentioned by 42% of respondents in an open-ended question about the region’s worst problem.
Traffic was the second most-mentioned problem.
Homelessness followed closely behind.
Fewer people mentioned concerns over-development, over-population and gentrification.
Millennials are leading the charge for the doors with 52% saying they will be seeking greener pastures in the next few years, up from 46% in 2017. Renters, people without college degrees and those spending 50% and more of their income on housing also want out.
Where will they go? The poll found 24% plan to move elsewhere in California while 61% said they would look outside the Golden State. Texas was a popular destination, according to the poll, with 10% saying they would mosey on down to the Long Horn State.
Oregon, Nevada and Arizona also attracted Bay Area residents. Another 6% said they would go just about anywhere that was more affordable and has lower taxes.
Who’s responsible for fixing the housing and transportation problems? The poll found that 56% of voters think cities, counties and other public agencies are most responsible for making housing more affordable while an even bigger 66% say government agencies bear primary responsibility for improving traffic and transportation.
And while much blame has been heaped on the booming tech industry for the region’s problems, the poll found that just 19% of voters think it is the responsibility of tech companies to solve the housing affordability problem while 18% said it’s the job of tech employers to fix the region’s worsening traffic.
Just 25% of voters surveyed say the Bay Area is headed in the right direction, a precipitous drop from just four years ago when 57% held a favorable outlook for the region.
That pessimism is also creeping into voters’ attitudes about the Bay Area’s seemingly invincible economy, even as unemployment reaches record lows.
In 2014, 50% of voters surveyed in the Bay Area Council poll expected the economy to improve. In 2018, that figure has plunged to just 25%. Just as troubling, the poll found 47% of voters expect a signifi-cant economic downturn sometime in the next three years.