Wealth, class, and remote work reshape California’s boomtowns

By Sarah Parvini, Los Angeles Times, July 2, 2021

“Rebecca Luke, an executive assistant in medical technology, needed to be close to her company’s office in Emeryville. Her husband [worked] multiple-day shifts out of the Santa Clara County Fire Department.

“In October, the couple packed up their then-7-month-old boy and drove to their new home in the still affordable Sacramento suburb of El Dorado Hills.

Most Californians who moved in 2020 stayed in-state, many trading city life in the Bay Area for suburban or rural communities, fueled by the hunt for more open space, a sense of community, and affordable housing [and] a newfound ability to work remotely. El Dorado [County], the birthplace of the California Gold Rush, has absorbed an influx of Bay Area transplants.

“During the fourth quarter of 2020, San Francisco saw the largest percentage change in residential exits — 61 percent — of any county in the state.

“Many who leave the Bay Area do not move far. Counties in the Sierra saw a large influx of migrants from San Francisco compared with 2019. Some 4,724 people moved to El Dorado County in the fourth quarter of 2020 — a 23.8 percent growth compared with the previous year. Neighboring Amador and Placer counties saw 22.5 percent and 12 percent growth, respectively. High earners moving to a lower-earning area drive up the cost of living.

“Higher-earning migrants also are creating new jobs for working-class locals, said Ruth Zermeño, a community member who works with New Morning Youth and Family Services in Placerville.

“Families coming to live in this area need housekeeping services. There are [also] opportunities for work as cooks, and there has been an uptick in landscaping and construction work.

“But places ‘farther up in the highways and valleys are as forested and as densely green as any,’ said Seva Rodnyansky, assistant professor of urban and environmental policy at Occidental College. ‘So more homes in the hills or in the forest continue to add fire risk.’ ”

Read the full article here.

Also in Roundup: Sarah Holder in Bloomberg CityLab wrote about Bay Area residents choosing to migrate north to Humboldt County, straining the existing housing stock and infrastructure. Read that story here.

Return to Northern News here.