From MTC – Vital Signs
7,400 more residents moved from the East Bay to counties outside of the region than made the opposite move. Of those, over 4,000 moved to San Joaquin County. This suggests that the East Bay, once seen as a more affordable option for housing in the Bay Area, is also becoming too expensive for many residents, leading them to seek cheaper housing outside of the region.
While the high cost of housing remains a major hurdle for the Bay Area, the strong job market has significantly reduced the net flow of residents moving to other states. In 2011, 15,800 more Bay Area residents moved to other states than moved into our region. By 2015, this trend had reversed, with around 3,000 more people moving from other states to the Bay Area than leaving for other states. In this same four-year period, relocation from the Bay Area to more affordable counties to the east remained relatively stable. Net migration between the Bay Area and these communities indicates a net outflow of 14,500 residents in 2015, resulting in lengthy commutes for those that continue to work in the Bay Area.
While data on the number of Bay Area residents that leave the region for other countries is not available, data on immigration show that roughly 86,000 people moved to the Bay Area from abroad in 2015. The majority of these new arrivals hail from Asia, though the fastest growing contingent is residents from other North American countries.
While many people have moved outside the Bay Area in pursuit of lower-cost housing, relocation within our region is even more common. In 2015, there was a net flow of 14,800 people from the three counties closest to booming job centers – San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara – to the more affordable counties of the East Bay. Even within the East Bay, residents continue to relocate from Alameda County to lower-cost Contra Costa County, or north to Solano County.
Those moving out of the Bay Area often choose the closest county beyond the borders of the nine-county region. New arrivals to San Joaquin County are disproportionately from Alameda and Contra Costa counties, whereas residents relocating to locations like Los Banos in the Central Valley and Hollister in the Central Coast region often come from Santa Clara County. Intra-state migration into the Bay Area appears to be driven by proximity to high-wage job centers, with the lion’s share of former Southern Californians choosing San Francisco, Alameda and Santa Clara counties as their new homes.