Nearly 50 percent of millennials want to leave Bay Area

- Bay Area residents say the cost of living, traffic, and housing are among the three biggest problems in the nine-county region according to the Bay Area Council's 2017 public opinion survey released on Thursday.

Those problems might end up driving people out of the region altogether. The 2017 survey found that 40% of respondent said they are thinking of leaving the Bay Area within the next few years.

"You have to work two jobs to maintain here in the city," said Adora Gipson. She was born and raised in San Francisco and found even a brief relocation to Antioch two years ago, couldn't help her escape the problems.

"It was overcrowded, expensive, cost of living and too much traffic. So you went to Antioch? And it was even more traffic. So that's why I'm back. Might as well deal with it here," said Gipson who has since moved back.

Now, she says she is thinking of moving to Oregon n the next 6-9 months.

Overall, the Bay Area Council's 2017 survey found that among the top three problems, 55% of respondents mentioned cost of living,
41% included traffic, and 39% mentioned housing.

"We're growing our economy but we haven't grown our housing alongside it. So it's put tremendous pressure on the existing housing stock. Higher prices, really difficulty getting a place, uncertainty as to the future," said Jim Wunderman, the Bay Area Council President and CEO.

"The housing is just insane. I mean, whenever I decide to potentially buy a house, who can buy a house here, you know?" said Leah Polito of San Francisco.

"Rent is super expensive," said Jay Rizzardo who lives in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood, "I mean I share an apartment with somebody else and I pay over $2,000."

The survey shows, that among younger people, so-called millennials, even more (46%) said they might move out of the area which could have a long-term effect on the region.

"They are the future workforce of the Bay Area. They are the future economy, so if we lose young people who have the technological skills and the innovation to grow the economy for the future but they decide to do it somewhere else, it's going to hurt the Bay Area," Wunderman said.

Breonna Williams is a Bay Area native, who attends San Francisco State University and holds down a minimum wage job. She says she is living with her parents and can't even afford a house in her old neighborhood.

"I'm from Oakland and the cost of living has just sprung up, like they sold a house down the street from my old school that was once considered bad and they sold it for 900,000 and it barely has a back yard," Williams said.

"If for whatever reason, the job, the compensation can't keep up with the cost of living then obviously you have to find someplace where you can," said Justin Ferrell, who relocated from Washington D.C. to San Francisco to work as a tech recruiter.

Still, overall optimism in the region remained largely unchanged from last year, with 42% saying the Bay Area is on the right track.

"The grass is not always greener on the other side," said musician Donnie Williams, who was with his friend Kevin Hurt entertaining people along Market Street. He is from New Orleans and says he's doing his best to make the best of things in San Francisco, a city he's come to love.

The survey found other problems frequently mentioned were homelessness (30%) and poverty/income inequality (28%).

Among those who reported annual earnings of $75,000 or less, 46% said they are considering leaving the area.

The Bay Area Council says they are working to find solutions. Wunderman says they hope local and state governments will support funding to fix highways and roads, increase capacity on Caltrain, expand regional ferry survice and urge employers to use more carpools.

He also says a recent bill they sponsored will make it easier and less expensive for homeowners to add in-law units. The Council is also working on bills that would streamline housing approvals.





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