Snapshots

Is the Bay Area really falling? Hyperbole vs reality

Media frequently highlights the high cost of living in the Bay Area versus other U.S. metro areas.

November 27, 2019
  • Media frequently highlights the high cost of living in the Bay Area versus other U.S. metro areas. The narrative is companies are leaving San Francisco and California in general to more affordable markets with less taxes.
  • While there are numerous examples to cite of migrants moving out of the region, the reality is the Bay Area has had a remarkable economic run since the recession driven by the technology center.
  • Of the top 15 metropolitan areas in gross domestic product, San Jose grew the fastest, followed by Dallas, and San Francisco during the recovery, ahead of Seattle, Atlanta, Houston, and many other metros. In fact, San Jose grew faster than smaller city economies such as Austin, Nashville, and San Antonio. 
  • Even more remarkable is the reality that while the Bay Area only accounts for approximately 2 percent of the nation’s population, it represents 48 percent of venture capital spending in the country year to date.
  • While some tech firms have expanded, moved or established offices outside of the Bay Area, the region’s prominence as the global tech epicenter is here to stay and should continue to support office demand.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, GDP by MSA, 2009-2017

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