65% of residents have strong sense of belonging
60% are more stressed since pandemic
October 11, 2021 - According to the just-released Silicon Valley Poll, most Bay Area residents (65%) feel a strong sense of belonging to their region. At the same time, the vast majority of poll respondents believe the quality of life has grown worse in the last five years. More than half (56%) of those polled plan to move out of the Bay Area in the next few years, citing the cost of living (84%) and high housing costs (77%) as the top reasons.
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.
The polling was conducted by Embold Research, a division of Change Research, Inc.
Most respondents rate the costs of living, housing, and healthcare, and homelessness as extremely serious problems. Despite their pessimism, Bay Area residents who say their financial situation improved (45%), outnumber those who say it is worse (26%). Residents say the region is a good place to pursue a career (71%) and to raise a family (46%) but not a great place to buy a home.
“Since 1995 Joint Venture has published baseline metrics in the Silicon Valley Index,” said Russell Hancock, CEO of Joint Venture and president of the Institute for Regional Studies. “The Index reports the facts and now the Poll reports how we’re feeling. Sometimes our feelings align with the facts; sometimes they are at odds. The Poll is our acknowledgment that perception is also a form of reality.”
Hancock will moderate a briefing on the poll Tuesday, October 12 at 9 AM PDT. There is no cost to attend but advance registration is required. Space is limited.
- Respondents are split on the overall direction of Silicon Valley and the greater Bay Area: 48% say the region is headed in the right direction while 52% say it is on the wrong track. 71% of respondents think the quality of life is worse now than it was five years ago.
- 56% of respondents say they are likely to leave the region in “the next few years.” This is a nine-point uptick from 2020, when the same question was posed by a pre-pandemic survey.
- A similar share of tech workers (53%) say they are likely to leave the region.
- 75% of respondents identify the cost of housing as the Bay Area’s most serious problem, followed by homelessness, the increasing frequency of wildfires and drought.
- 40% of overall respondents feel financially insecure. Higher percentages of Latin-x and African American respondents self-identify as insecure.
- Of the respondents unable to work from home during the pandemic, 22% were forced to take cuts in pay and 19% were laid off or temporarily furloughed.
- 95% of respondents who now work from home say they want to continue working remotely some of the time, but only 34 % want to work remotely all of the time.
- A majority (52%) of respondents say they feel more isolated and alone since the onset of the pandemic; 60% say they feel more stressed; 66% say they feel more worried about the future.
- A 44% plurality of those now working from home say that their work-life balance has improved as a result; 25% say it is worse. For those whose work must be done in person, only 20% say their work-life balance has improved.
- The Poll reveals disparities of opinion between ethnic groups. For example, 28% of white respondents report worries about housing or food costs, compared to 44% of African American respondents. 71% of overall respondents think of Silicon Valley as a “good” or “excellent” place to pursue a career, but only 59% of African American respondents do, and 34% of African Americans rate Silicon Valley as a “poor” place for career opportunity.
- The Poll also reveals disparities between men and women. Significantly higher %ages of women (68 versus 52%) think climate change is “extremely” serious; more women (30% versus 19%) consider racism to be an “extremely” serious problem. Women also feel less financially secure than their male counterparts (44% of women versus 33% of men cite low savings as a worry).
The poll of 1,610 registered voters in Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Francisco counties was conducted September 22-26 for Joint Venture Silicon Valley and Bay Area News Group and has a margin of error of +/- 2.8%.
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.