New study says 46% of Bay Area residents plan to leave in the next few years

Ron and Elizabeth Haines were both born in the Bay Area and have called the East Bay city of Pleasanton their home for most of their adult lives. This summer, however, they’re excited to relocate to Idaho.

“We are excited. I have tons of friends and family here. It’s going to be hard, but I have a feeling we’re going to have lots of visitors,” said Elizabeth Haines.

The couple, like many others, is having a change of heart about the Bay Area.

“One, it’s the high cost of living,” said Ron Haines.

“I think a lot of folks know how hard it is to live here. And the amount of people coming in, the job market is so good. For me, what I do for a living is I’m on the road all the time, I noticed that the weekends are worse than the weekdays. There are a lot of people on our roads.”

The Bay Area Council, a business-sponsored, public policy advocacy organization, found that 46 percent of Bay Area residents plan to leave in the next few years.

“This is the trend we’ve been observing. Two years ago, it was 34 percent and last year it was 40,” said BAC president, Jim Wunderman.

“On the downside of it is all the people who need to be here to provide all the services are being priced out. We’re seeing teachers, government workers, firefighters, police officers actually not able to live in the communities.”

Bay Area residents are moving to either more affordable California cities or to states such as Oregon, Nevada, and Texas. Places that are affordable, have lower taxes, and less traffic. The Haines said they fell in love with Idaho, because it reminded them of Tahoe.

“It’s the same as the Bay Area in some cases: nice mix of prairie, mountains, lakes, what Northern California has to offer,” said Ron Haines.

BAC said that over the coming years, more companies may follow the high quality workforce. Bay Area Millennials are quickly on their way out, with 52 percent saying they will move out of the Bay Area in the next few years.

Elizabeth Haines’ daughter will also be relocating to Idaho.

“She’s almost 19 and I gave her the option to stay here or go,” said Elizabeth Haines.

“She decided, well, not only does she still need her mama, but she also wants a new life. She wants to be with us and start a business up there.”

The Haines declined to say exactly where in Idaho they’re moving, because they don’t want more people from the Bay Area to follow them there.