Tens of thousands of people are fleeing San Francisco, California, due in large part to the city's problems of increasing crime and homelessness, U.S. Census data and local polling shows.
San Francisco County lost 6.7% of its population, or 58,764 residents between April 1, 2020, and July 1, 2021, more than half of the greater Bay Area's decline of 116,385, according to a March report from the U.S. Census.
The greater Bay Area includes San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley.
The population decline is part of a national trend that saw 55.5% of 384 metropolitan areas nationally with a declining population during the period.
San Francisco, specifically, had the sixth highest numeric decline of residents, according to SFGate.com.
San Francisco Business Times reported in March that the city, and greater Bay area, were losing people even before the COVID-19 pandemic, with many people seeking lower housing costs, good schools, and safer neighborhoods.
Southern California's Chapman University professor and an author of a recent report, "Restoring the California Dream," Joel Kotkin said that the pandemic ended up fueling more migration out of the city, leaving it a destination for those with money.
"Today, California is a land of opportunity for trust funders and graduates of Caltech," Kotkin told the publication.
In addition to the pandemic and housing costs, 52% of residents disapprove of the job Mayor London Breed is doing, and voters just recalled District Attorney Chesa Boudin for being "soft" on criminals, a San Fransico Examiner poll earlier this month of 541 likely voters found.
The poll was conducted between May26-29 and has a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.
The key issues raising the ire of those responding to the poll included public safety and crime, drug dealing, and the high cost of living in the city, the Examiner reported.
Some 69% of those surveyed felt "less safe" in the city because of the homelessness problem, listing "homeless and mentally ill people on the streets" as a reason.
"Mayor Breed is focused on continuing to work for the residents of San Francisco, including through her recent budget introduction that includes support for small businesses and economic recovery, filling 200 vacant police officer positions and other public safety investments, enhanced cleaning operation, and continued resources to address homelessness and behavioral health challenges," Mason Lee, a spokesperson for Breed, wrote in a statement to The Examiner.
Crime in the city has increased, including the homicide rate increasing by 37% during the last two years, and a retail theft wave due to lowering the penalties for shoplifting that has received national attention, the Washington Free Beacon reported Monday.
According to the report, 70% of city residents believe their quality of life has declined, and 88% believe homelessness has gotten worse.
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