Tech people who swore off the Bay Area are coming back

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Rizal Wong, a junior associate at technology and business communications firm Sard Verbinnen and Company, left the Bay Area in December and traded a studio apartment in Oakland for a cheaper one-bedroom in his hometown of Sacramento near his family. But after the vaccination, he moved to San Francisco in April.

“I felt like I was coming back to my life,” said Mr. Wong, 22. “Meeting with colleagues who have also been vaccinated and having a drink after work definitely makes it more normal.”

Like many who have left the Bay Area, Mr. Wong did not go very far. Of the more than 170,000 people who moved from near San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland in 2020, the vast majority moved to another location in California, according to U.S. Postal Service address change data analyzed by real estate company CBRE.

For example, about 20,000 moved to the San Jose area. Another 16,000 went to Los Angeles, nearly 15,000 to Sacramento, and 8,000 to Stockton in California’s Central Valley. The more than 77,000 people who left the metropolitan area of ​​San Jose, a representative of Silicon Valley, went to similar places: San Francisco, Sacramento, and Los Angeles. In February, The San Francisco Chronicle reported similar numbers using postal service data.

Net migration from the San Francisco and San Jose regions – including people who moved in – was about 116,000 last year, up from about 64,000 in 2019, according to analysis of the Postal Service data.

For several decades, almost every year thousands more residents have left Silicon Valley and San Francisco than according to state reports. Often times, this movement is offset by an influx of immigrants from other countries – which was limited during the pandemic.



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