California's population grows as more people flee Bay Area for elsewhere in U.S.


California's population is growing, but at the same time, a paradoxical event is taking place: More people are leaving the Bay Area for elsewhere in the United States.

In the last year, California grew by .85 percent, bringing the total of people living in the Golden State to 39.5 million, according to the Department of Finance. But also in 2016, 30,000 people fled cities such as San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland to other parts of the country, according to an analysis by Jed Kolko, chief economist of of net domestic migration gleaned from the census. A survey by LinkedIn showed many of these ex-Bay Area residents moved to cheaper West Coast cities, including Seattle, Washington and even Sacramento.

"The number is accelerating," Kolko said. He noted that in 2015, only 807 people left the nine-county Bay Area. In fact, the exodus is fairly new, in the last two years. From 2011 to 2014, thousands of people actually flooded the Bay Area. The last time people really exited the Bay Area was in 2010, the Census data shows.

KTVU  caught up with several people poised to flee the Bay Area, most of whom said they were hoping to find less expensive places to live. The median home price in San Mateo County, for example, is $1.5 million.

Jessica Robertson-Baird, who has lived in San Jose for four decades told KTVU earlier this week that her family is moving to Oregon because it’s getting harder to raise a family in Silicon Valley. And Realtor Myron Von Raesfeld, former president of the Santa Clara County Realtors Association and San Jose City Council candidate, told KTVU is now looking to move to North Carolina so he doesn't have to keep up with the rat race in his retirement.

They are part of an outward migration trend that Redfin noted after analyzing a sample of 1 million users. The real estate company found that 19.4 percent of potential homebuyers in San Francisco searched outside of the region for houses, meaning a potential net loss of 15,000 people so far this year. The San Francisco region also recorded the highest "net outflow,"  topping Los Angeles and double that of New York.

“Movement of Bay Area residents to more affordable metro areas dominated the nation’s migration patterns in the first quarter,” Redfin noted last month. “This trend isn’t unique to Silicon Valley—it is happening in many other expensive metros as well.”

Part of the reason of why home prices are so expensive in the Bay Area is because there aren’t enough places for people to live.

The state’s housing stock increased by .63 percent (total:  88,562 units) while the population grew by .85 percent (total: nearly 355,000) bringing the total number of Californians to 39.5 million people,  according to Department of Finance data released in May.  Breaking the numbers down, that’s only one new home for every 3.78 new residents.

“We need 180,000 new units a year” to keep up with the population growth, said Dept. of Finance spokesman Doug Kuczynski, citing data from the California Dept. of Housing and  Community Development.

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