High-Earning Residents Leaving Bay Area, Census Finds

San Francisco AerialView

High-earning San Franciscans have been leaving the city since the beginning of the pandemic, according to census data.

The data shows that the median annual income of the San Francisco metro area – which includes the cities of San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley – decreased 6.3 percent from July 2020 to July 2021. In the same time period, the San Francisco area experienced the most significant population loss in the nation.

The median annual income of the San Francisco metro area is now $116,005, down $5,546 from last year.

Former San Francisco residents who moved out of the area cited the high cost of living and home prices as their reason for departing.

“I probably would not consider coming back. I really like living in a spacious house. I couldn’t do that if I lived in the Bay Area,” a former San Francisco resident in Tucson, Arizona, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s becoming very difficult for someone who’s not wealthy to live there comfortably. … It’s become a lot more difficult for working people.”

A study conducted by SmartAsset used IRS data to track the migration patterns of individuals under 35 with gross income over $100,000. The study found that nearly 24,000 California and New York residents left their respective states for locations in Texas, Florida, and Washington – three of the seven states that do not impose a personal income tax (there is no state income tax in Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming; New Hampshire is phasing out its 5 percent tax on interest income and dividends; and Washington taxes only the capital gains income of high-earners, at a 7 percent rate).