Bay Area to Central Valley Migration and its Impacts

This project is a cross-campus effort between the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, Occidental College’s Department of Urban and Environmental Policy, and the UC Davis Center for Regional Change. Over a three-year time period (2020-2023), we are working together to bring both a quantitative and qualitative understanding of regionalism and regional interaction to changing conditions in California’s Central Valley. This project seeks to understand the impacts of out-migration from the Bay Area on Central Valley communities. Learn more about the project here.

Our research aims to work together with local policymakers and community stakeholder groups towards more equitable urban and regional planning and coordination. To help us understand what is happening in the Central Valley, we are seeking guidance and support throughout the project from a community advisory committee composed of individuals who understand firsthand how demographic changes in their communities impact migration patterns, fiscal health, and overall quality of life.

CZI Flowchart

Capturing Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The regional factors under study were in place well before the COVID-19 pandemic started. However, the economic and social disruption caused by this global health crisis is impacting key conditions in Central Valley communities that are central to this study, including regional migration, commuting patterns, and government budgets.

To respond to this reality, our quantitative and qualitative research efforts include analyses of the current and ongoing effects of the pandemic in key areas such as housing, employment, and fiscal health. As part of this effort, we are surveying agency officials to ascertain the effects of COVID-19 on the financial health of local governments in the Central Valley and surrounding regions. Potential participants for this survey include budget officers, city managers, county administrators, transportation and public works department directors, school district finance directors, and others who can speak to the ongoing fiscal impact of the pandemic on their local agencies and jurisdictions. We will be conducting this survey periodically over the next three years to understand the ongoing toll of the economic downturn associated with COVID-19 and the fiscal responses of local governments.

To receive additional information and/or participate in our community advisory committee and our fiscal survey of local agencies, please contact Sarina Rodriguez, CRC Community Engagement Research Specialist, at

Consent Script for Focus Groups

This project is supported by the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) as part of their Housing Affordability program in their Justice & Opportunity initiative.