Home for the Holidays

Dear CRC Community,

When I first came to UC Davis to attend graduate school, I had every intention of returning home to the Bay Area. However, I quickly fell in love with the communities in the Sacramento Region and decided to purchase my first home here. I bought a home that would have cost nearly three times as much in the Bay Area - a purchase I would not have been able to afford at the time. This decision-making process was not unique to me. The majority of the people I grew up with moved outside of the Bay Area, sometimes out of state or abroad. While I have never regretted this decision, the choice to move away from where we grew up has made it hard for my generation to support our aging parents and grandparents and for our aging parents to spend more time with their grandchildren. During the holidays we notice this more, and during a pandemic we simply can’t ignore it.

The CRC is participating in two research studies that examine this movement from the Bay Area to Central Valley communities, and we held our first workshops and focus groups in recent weeks. This migration has profound implications for housing, transportation, economic development, and more. These patterns have shifted and intensified as COVID-19 has changed the way we live, work, and learn. The results of these studies will be useful for policymakers, transportation engineers, land use planners, and community leaders. However, we can’t lose sight of the human impacts as well. Tight knit communities begin to unravel as the next generation moves further and further from home. Small towns are buckling under the pressures of population growth that has become unmanageable. Those who have been displaced may unintentionally displace others in their new hometown. In these research projects, we seek to paint a complete picture by sharing data that accurately documents these migration phenomena while elevating the voices of people closest to the issues. You can learn more about these efforts here.


-Bernadette Austin, Acting Director, Center for Regional Change