san francisco
Moves from San Francisco to Sacramento increased by 70% in 2020.
Katie Canales/Business Insider
  • San Francisco lost the most residents between 2019 and 2020 out of every major city, per CBRE.
  • Moves from San Francisco to Texas increased by 32.1% and to Florida by 46.2%.
  • Yet most who left San Francisco went to nearby Sacramento, the data shows.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

San Francisco lost the most residents between 2019 and 2020 out of every major city, according to a new analysis.

The Bay Area city lost about 18 residents per 1,000 people in 2020, compared to losing just 9 residents out of ever 1,000 the year prior, according to a new report by the commercial realty firm CBRE Group.

Though most people moved out of San Francisco to other areas in California, the share of people moving to Texas and Florida soared compared to 2019, the data showed. The number of people who moved from San Francisco to Texas increased by 32.1% between 2019 to 2020, and the share of those who moved to Florida rose by a whopping 46.2%.

CBRE Group, based in Dallas, Texas, obtained USPS records through a Freedom of Information Act request, a spokesperson told Insider. CBRE used the USPS records of individual permanent address changes between 2019 and 2020 to analyze how the pandemic impacted migration patterns.

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Tech companies' transition to work-from-home during the COVID-19 pandemic incentivized employees to move out of San Francisco to less costly areas, CBRE estimates. As many as 89,000 households moved out of San Francisco between March and November 2020.

Several prominent techies boasted about their move out of California. Elon Musk confirmed he moved to Texas in December after criticizing California's response to the pandemic. Unicorn investor Keith Rabois moved to Miami and said the Bay Area is losing its concentration of tech talent.

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"Many of the most ambitious people on the planet have lived here," Rabois told Insider regarding the Bay Area, "but post-COVID, I think the concentration of talent has atrophied, perhaps permanently."

Yet CBRE said most who left San Francisco went to nearby Sacramento. Moves from San Francisco to Sacramento increased by 70% in 2020, and more people moved to California's capital last year than to cities like Tampa, San Antonio, and Austin.

"The pandemic came just as the bulk of the large and increasingly affluent millennial cohort had reached prime family formation age," the report states. "Consequently, millennials had been trending toward more suburban residencies even before COVID-19 came on the scene."

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