Are People Flocking Back to SF? Here’s What Data Shows

LinkedIn also recorded where those people were coming from, with Los Angeles at the top of the list. Ranking second and third, respectively, were the Dallas-Forth Worth area and Washington, D.C.

The only area to attract more professionals, according to the Linkedin data, was Austin. As it happens, Austin was also the most popular destination for folks leaving the Bay Area, ranking above Sacramento, Seattle, San Diego and Denver. 

San Francisco Chief Economist Ted Egan said that residents moved around the Bay Area as remote work became the norm. But many workers are still positioning themselves for an eventual return to the office, he said.

“The housing data says people are moving further away from office centers, but upper-wage workers are not en masse moving to lower-cost metros as if they didn’t care where their job is physically located,” Egan said. “They’re positioning themselves for a longer commute; they’re not positioning themselves for a longer work-from-home.”

Put another way: The era of digital nomads permanently decamping to Hawaii appears to be largely over. 

The San Francisco metro area had one of the steepest population declines over the first year of the pandemic, with a roughly 2.5% drop according to census data. That loss was even starker in San Francisco proper, which lost an estimated 58,000 people, mirroring a larger national movement away from dense, urban areas.

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