San Francisco residents battle high housing costs, but they're still the only Californians who wouldn't tell young people to move

Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesMore than half of Bay Area residents believe young people can find the best opportunities locally.
  • A new survey reveals that most Californians would advise young people to move away for better opportunities.
  • One notable exception: More than half of Bay Area residents believe young people can find the best opportunities locally.
  • It’s a surprising perspective, considering the Bay Area is plagued by expensive housing and a tangential “poop problem.”

Despite the ridiculously high cost of a living – and a tangential “poop problem” plaguing its streets – the Bay Area’s residents still think it’s a good place for young people to settle down.

That’s according to a new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), first reported by SF Gate. Among all Californians, 64% would encourage young people in their communities to flee the area for better opportunities. Of the seven regions surveyed, the Bay Area is the only one where a greater share of respondents think young people should stay in the area (54%) instead of leaving (45%).

PRRI’s definition of the Bay Area includes Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma counties.

Taken as a whole, Californians without a college degree are more likely to encourage young people to move elsewhere for opportunity than those with a college degree – a difference of nearly 15 percentage points. About 55% of California residents say the American Dream is harder to achieve in their state than other places in the US, while 16% say it’s easier and 29% say it’s about the same.

Despite repeated narratives about San Francisco’s insurmountable housing crisis, PRRI’s survey found just 27% of workers in the Bay Area are struggling with poverty, the lowest of any other region in the state. By contrast, almost 50% of Los Angeles workers are struggling with poverty, and 68% of workers in the San Joaquin Valley, the rural inland region that includes Fresno county.

The survey also found that lower levels of poverty means workers in the Bay Area aren’t facing as many “financial hardships,” like reducing meals or cutting back on food, receiving financial help from family or friends, or having difficulty paying a monthly bill or mortgage. Only 9% of Bay Area residents reported experiencing five or more of the financial hardships listed in the last year – again, the lowest of any region.

Read more:
California real estate is so expensive that families, retirees, and even tech workers are living in cars and vans

It’s important to note that the PRRI survey gathered responses only from 3,318 employed (or actively looking for employment) Californians, so the poverty levels do not include unemployed or homeless people.

Though some people may be encouraging young people to settle in the Bay Area, many are still looking to move away themselves. A June survey from the Bay Area Council advocacy group found that 46% of residents say they plan to move away soon, up from 40% last year and 35% in 2016, reported Business Insider’s Leanna Garfield.

A previous SF Gate story reported that Californians relocating to Washington and Oregon are upsetting locals who are seemingly threatened by a “Californiacation” of the Pacific Northwest, in which home prices surge and traffic worsens, among other things.

Some Bay Area expats reported seeing “F- California” or “California sucks” graffiti, while others have been verbally derided by locals.

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