2023 News Releases

2023 Silicon Valley Poll: 7 in 10 Bay Area residents think the Bay Area is on the wrong track

cover image3 in 4 say quality of life has deteriorated

+half likely to leave within in 5 years

Housing affordability and homelessness considered most pressing of issues

October 3, 2023 – According to the 2023 Silicon Valley Poll, released today, Bay Area residents believe housing affordability and homelessness are the most serious problems facing the region, but a new concern also ranks high: the state of the Bay Area’s downtowns. Just 29% of area residents believe the Bay Area is headed in the right direction, down from 36% last year. Residents feel compassion for the unhoused but are losing patience with tents in public parks and RVs parked on streets. Nearly half of those polled say they lack financial stability. Respondents are also worried about the cost of healthcare and the unequal distribution of wealth.

These findings and more emerged from an exclusive poll by Joint Venture Silicon Valley and the Bay Area News Group, which polled 1,951 adults in five Bay Area counties.

“The Poll has shown us that our Bay Area neighbors are highly concerned about the cost of living, the high cost of housing, the growing number of unhoused residents, and the plight of our downtowns,” said Russell Hancock, CEO of Joint Venture, and president of the Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies. “There’s no single culprit and yet there is a headwind of factors that are keeping us on edge.”

The Silicon Valley Poll is a public opinion survey placed in the field by Joint Venture Silicon Valley’s research arm, the Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies, in partnership with the Bay Area News Group.

Russell Hancock will moderate a briefing on the poll Wednesday, October 4 at 10 AM PDT. Space is limited.

Poll Highlights

  • 71% of respondents think the Bay Area is on the wrong track, up 7 points from last year; 76% think the nation is also on the wrong track.
  • Republicans are most pessimistic about the region: 65% think the quality of life here is much worse than it was five years ago, compared to 25% of Democrats.
  • 52% of respondents say they are likely to move out of the Bay Area “in the next few years,” identical to the responses reported one year ago with 59% of young people and 63% of part-time workers are mulling plans to leave. The most cited reason? High housing costs.
  • Housing affordability and homelessness have retained the 1 and 2 spots as the region’s most pressing problems, with more than 90% of respondents ranking them as “extremely serious” or “very serious.”
  • 44% of residents consider themselves financially unstable (e.g., no money left over after meeting monthly expenses); 58% of African American and Hispanic or Latino respondents consider themselves financially unstable.
  • Over the past year, most residents say they rarely if ever visited the region’s three major downtowns (San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose). In the case of San Francisco, safety concerns and the unsettling effect of seeing so many unhoused were cited as the main reason. By contrast, most respondents indicated they “don’t have a reason” to visit San Jose (75%) and Oakland (66%).
  • 43% of respondents see Google’s proposed “village” as important to San Jose’s future. That opinion is more pronounced among Santa Clara County residents, at 54%.
  • 76% of Bay Area residents are willing for their taxes to provide short-term financial aid to those experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless; 75% would support a program to provide tiny homes and 71 % would increase the supply of affordable housing.
  • While there is strong support for measures for addressing homelessness, 72% of residents also feel that communities should prevent people from living in public places like parks and city sidewalks; 80% support “care courts” which mandate enrollment in treatment facilities.
  • 56% of respondents support giving our struggling rail systems (BART, Caltrain) an additional boost with tax dollars – but this majority approval is less than the 2/3 support a successful ballot measure would need. Respondents are roughly split on whether we should prioritize bus networks over rail (53-47% in favor of buses).

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The 2023 Silicon Valley Poll is a survey of 1,951 adults in five Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara). The survey was placed in the field August 29-September 6, 2023, by Embold Research, on behalf of Joint Venture Silicon Valley and its research arm, the Institute for Regional Studies. The modeled margin of error is 2.5%.

The Silicon Valley Poll is a companion piece to the Silicon Valley Index, a comprehensive report presenting hundreds of indicators on the strength of the Bay Area economy and the health of its community. The Index reports on the facts about the region; the Poll provides valuable information about people’s view of Silicon Valley’s major trends and challenges.

Register for the Poll Briefing: https://jointventure.org/events/silicon-valley-poll-briefing

Media Credentials: A limited number of media credentials are available for journalists who wish to cover the event in person. Please contact Robin Doran:

Download the report View the data

For further reference

To access Silicon Valley’s online data hub, visit www.siliconvalleyindicators.org.

About the Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies

The Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies is the research arm of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, and is housed within the organization. The Institute provides research and analysis on a host of issues facing Silicon Valley’s economy and society. For more information, visit www.siliconvalleyindicators.org.

About Joint Venture Silicon Valley

Established in 1993, Joint Venture Silicon Valley is a platform for analysis created and supported by the major sectors (business, government, labor, academia). The analysis emanates from the organization’s research arm, the Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies. The Institute catalyzes action by spotlighting issues, convening the region’s leaders, and facilitating a process for collaborative action. For more information, visit www.jointventure.org.

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