Report Warns of Millennial Mass Migration Out of Bay Area

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Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council responds to Urban Land Institute's Bay Area in 2015 report, says partnership could keep millennials and jobs from leaving the state

Greater Sacramento already supports Bay Area business, but with almost $4 billion investment in the Urban Core, along with numerous investments across the region, we are preparing to step out of the shadows and become the Bay Area’s next business partner.

A new report from the Urban Land Institute, Bay Area In 2015, indicates that the millennial population will be declining in the Bay Area due to rising housing costs and millennials’ high quality of life expectations. Seventy-four percent of millennials in the Greater Bay Area are likely to move in the next five years, and only 24 percent are very confident that they can afford the home they want. By not addressing these issues and ignoring the advantages of a partnership with the Sacramento Region, the Bay Area is risking losing this crucial workforce demographic to out-of-state markets like Seattle, Atlanta, and Denver rather than keeping jobs in California.

Greater Sacramento and the Bay Area already share a workforce of over 208,000 commuters between the two regions. The Sacramento region’s lower costs of living are a draw for Bay Area employees, and its lower costs of doing business provide significant savings to companies employing Bay Area residents, without the risks associated with moving operations out of state. In fact, a business with 300 employees and 50,000 square feet of office space would save $204.4 million over 10 years with a location in Sacramento rather than San Francisco. With a drive time of only 90 minutes and Sacramento’s rail station, the second busiest in California, providing easy transit to and from the Bay Area via the Capital Corridor Intercity Rail Service, Sacramento is truly the front door to the Silicon Valley.

The regions’ shared talent pool includes a large number of graduates from top-ranked educational institutions UC Davis and UC Berkeley. In fact, the Sacramento Region has the second largest population of UC Davis alumni and third largest population of UC Berkeley alumni. And while UC Berkeley has a more prominent reputation in the Bay Area, UC Davis has actually surpassed Berkeley on several rankings, including innovation and research over the past three years – UC Davis ranks 11th at $2.2 billion and UC Berkeley ranks 22nd.

“Greater Sacramento already supports Bay Area business, but with almost $4 billion investment in the Urban Core, along with numerous investments across the region, we are preparing to step out of the shadows and become the Bay Area’s next business partner,” stated Barry Broome, president & CEO of the Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council. Broome says Sacramento can offer opportunities for growth that the saturated Bay Area market cannot and offers “the American Dream” to Bay Area residents looking to buy homes but discouraged by the prohibitive housing costs.

According to a 2015 Redfin report, the top destination choice for millennials leaving the Bay Area is Seattle, which could have significant negative long-term consequences for California businesses and its culture of innovation. Millennials are secondarily choosing to move to Sacramento, proving that their interest in the region is already strong. With Seattle experiencing its own housing cost increases – up 26.9% since 2013 compared to Sacramento’s modest 9.9% increase and San Francisco’s daunting 30.8% increase during the same period – millennials will likely be priced out of Seattle’s market as well and increase their migration to the Sacramento Region as a result.

With the Sacramento Region and the Bay Area already so closely connected, proactive efforts to partner would be mutually beneficial and help California maintain its position as the 8th largest economy in the world and #1 state for innovation.


About the Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council:
The Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council (“Greater Sacramento”) is an organization created by regional CEOs and led through public-private partnership to retain, establish, and grow sustainable businesses throughout Greater Sacramento’s 17 communities. By establishing one point of contact for business growth, a streamlined permitting process, and a customer-focused experience, Greater Sacramento will strengthen the region’s job-creating capacity while developing and advancing Sacramento’s brand and story. This mission, combined with active involvement from local governments, massive Urban Core investment, direct educational access to UC Davis, Sacramento State, and the Los Rios Community College District, and Sacramento’s position as the Front Door to the Bay Area, is helping Greater Sacramento earn the reputation as the best and easiest place to do business in California. For more information, visit

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Judy Sheldon
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