Immigration Balances Bay Area Population Drain

Bay Area residents are leaving, to be replaced by residents from other countries.

Americans are getting out. But folks from foreign countries are getting in.

Welcome to the new Bay Area.

More people are leaving the Bay Area for other parts of the United States than are moving here from other parts of the country, according to the Bay Citizen. That means that if it weren't for immigration, the area's population would be dropping.

According to Census figures, 400,000 locals moved out of the Bay Area every year from 2005 and 2009, and 345,000 people from other parts of the United States moved in. That's a loss of 55,000 people annually, but it's countered by the 71,000 people who moved here from other countries over that span, according to the Census data.

Santa Clara County, in Silicon Valley, was ground zero for this phenomenon: 24,000 immigrants arrived as 83,000 residents exited for other parts of the US, according to figures.

The main reason is that "rarified jobs" are created in the new tech boom, according to experts. "We are not creating midrange jobs that create growth and employ large numbers of people," Russell Hancock, the CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, told the news Web site.

Many new residents are here on temporary work visas "because they are cheaper," according to James Lai, a professor of ethnic studies at Santa Clara University.

Nearly half of the 400,000 residents who left the Bay Area left California entirely. Many others moved to Los Angeles or the cheaper Central Valley, according to the Census.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
Contact Us