A Third of Bay Area Residents Say They Want to Move

May 2, 2016, 4:20 PM UTC

Bay Area residents have had it with high costs and congestion.

According to a 1,000-person poll conducted by the Bay Area Council, a business-sponsored public policy advocacy group, about one-third of people living in the nine counties surrounding the San Francisco Bay are considering moving. According to SF Gate, council president and CEO Jim Wunderman called it the region’s “canary in a coal mine,” forewarning danger if nothing’s done to remedy the issues.

The poll found that 34% of Bay Area residents say that they are either strongly and somewhat likely to move away. While 54% say they have no plans to do so, only 31% feel strongly about staying.

Plans for relocation aside, there has been a considerable drop in optimism in recent years. About 40% of residents think that the area is headed in the right direction, compared to 55% last year and 57% the year before. Meanwhile, another 40% think that the Bay Area is “seriously off the wrong track.” Notably, optimism positively correlates with higher income.

When asked to identify their three biggest concerns, residents consistently pointed to cost of living, housing, and traffic. Though last year’s poll found that Bay Area residents were most concerned with the California drought, with 24% identifying it as their biggest problem, only 1% named it as their top issue this year.