Bay Watch: Are Wealthy People Actually Leaving the Bay Area in Droves?
Short answer: no. However, they are leaving the region at a faster rate than they were before the pandemic, or after the Great Recession. This week, the Bay Area Council Economic Institute investigated people moving into or out of the Bay Area back to 2010, tabulating them by income level to calculate overall trends in migration.
They found that in 2021, every income group experienced negative net migration, including what we call ultra-high income residents (earning $350k or more), confirming a change in migration patterns that have led to a decline in the region’s population of higher income earners. Despite these shifts, net losses are still driven by lower income residents moving out: nearly 75% of the region’s net out-migration is attributable to individuals leaving who earn $100k or less. Therefore, reported increases in average incomes of those who left the region are skewed because of the increase in relatively small numbers of ultra-high income movers.