- Some surveys suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to an exodus of technicians from the San Francisco Bay Area.
- City dwellers may move to less dense and more affordable areas as work from home becomes the norm.
- In a new study, in the heart of the tech region, San Jose is ranked as one of the best-positioned cities in the US to capitalize on the post-pandemic future.
- With just 5,300 people per mile, San Jose is much less dense than San Francisco’s 17,000.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a “city flight” could take off from the San Francisco Bay Area. According to a new study, some technicians rooted in San Francisco may not be traveling too far.
Data analytics firm Moody found that San Jose, about 50 miles south, is one of the most suitable cities in the U.S. to welcome an influx of residents fleeing crowded areas in a post-coronavirus future, according to The Mercury News reported. The company analyzed the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the US with well-educated and widespread populations. San Jose on the list includes Durham and Raleigh in North Carolina, Salt Lake City, and Boise, Idaho.
The pandemic has caused many to rethink their urban lifestyles in expensive cities as employers increasingly accept work from home. Some are also skeptical about staying in dense environments, which have proven to be the perfect breeding ground for an infectious disease like COVID-19 to spread.
The researchers behind the Moody study suggest that less dense areas with established occupational sectors could benefit from expected brain drain from crowded cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, The Mercury News points out.
It’s worth noting that many of the same problems that plagued San Francisco – like a housing shortage and a subsequent rise in the cost of living – are also present in San Jose. But the city of South Bay is much less dense than its north cousin.
Approximately 881,000 residents live on 49 square miles of San Francisco compared to just over 1 million on 180 square miles of San Jose. There are more than 17,000 residents living on each square mile of San Francisco, compared to 5,300 in San Jose, according to The Mercury News.
San Francisco is a city of hikers and cyclists. San Jose is more suburban and car-friendly.
“Silicon Valley is nobody’s idea of an emerging area,” study author Adam Kamins told Forbes. “But there’s a remarkable contrast between the San Jose subway area, with its sprawling tech campus, and the crowded San Francisco.”
Many who work in South Bay have chosen San Francisco apartments to be closer to desirable city amenities such as museums and a colorful dining scene. Tech companies have turned to private shuttles to take employees from their urban homes to the sprawling corporate premises in the heart of the valley.
The Twitter building in San Francisco on March 16, 2020.
Katie Canales / Business Insider
Some companies have looked past the valley to San Francisco to set up a business for young workers. Salesforce, with its 61-story gleaming glass skyscraper, is one example. Twitter and Uber did the same, leading the indictment on the big tech advance to San Francisco by establishing their headquarters in the center of the city’s neighborhood around 2011.
According to the study, San Jose may be a desirable city to move to. However, other surveys suggest that technicians may want to leave the Bay Area altogether. Business Insider’s Rob Price reports that the social networking site Blind conducted a survey of thousands of tech geeks in the area, two-thirds of whom said they would leave the Bay Area if their employer allowed them to work remotely permanently .
Tech workers were already tired of life in the expensive area, and crowds of workers had begun to move to cheaper cities like Austin, Texas.
Fast growing cities with burgeoning tech hubs are likely to continue to grow in the future, Forbes reports.
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