SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — For some time now, Silicon Valley and the greater Bay Area have experienced a rise in the cost of living, a growing homeless crisis, a stark income divide, and a variety of sustainability challenges. 

The pandemic has only highlighted these challenges and a recent poll reveals where residents feel the region is headed towards. 

“It has people on edge, people that live feel like they’ll never be able to get ahead, they’ll never be able to have ownership, their children won’t be able to have ownership,” said Russell Hancock, CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley. 

“And the pandemic has nothing to address that.”

Quality of life down in recent years

According to a recent poll released by Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a majority of poll respondents from Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties believe the quality of life has worsened in recent years.  

More than 70% of poll respondents say the quality of life in the Bay Area has gotten worse in the last five years and more than half (56%) of those polled plan to move out of the region in the next few years, citing a high cost of living and increasing housing prices as the top reasons for moving. 

“In the Bay Area we haven’t built much housing, we have jobs mismatched, we have hundreds of thousands of jobs being generated but we’re only generating a few hundred houses,”

“And for that reason, we have the highest housing prices in the world.”  


The poll also sheds light on just how much residents are split on several topics — 48% say the region is headed in the right direction while 52% say it’s on the wrong track. 

Significantly higher percentages of women, 55%, think climate change is an “extremely” serious problem in their area versus 42% among men. 

More women, 30%, consider racism to be an “extremely” serious problem versus 19% among men. 

Additionally, women respondents say they feel less financially secure than men — 44% of women versus 33% of men who cite low savings as a worry since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Overall, 40% of respondents feel financially insecure with higher percentages among Latino and African American respondents.

“We’ve always known that there was an income divide but the pandemic made it stark and dramatic,” said Hancock. 

“And the people that weren’t able to easily shift into home-work faced economic ruin, and devastating health challenges because they had higher exposure to the disease.” 

The Silicon Valley public opinion survey was conducted by Embold Research, a division of Change Research Inc. 

To learn more about the poll, click or tap here.