Valparaiso, Chile. May 10, 2015: Houses on Cerro Concepcion, Valparaiso historic World Heritage of UNESCO

How is the affordability issue separating people psychographically and demographically? The issue is broad and creating private islands of sameness, driving more polarization.

As the high cost of living drives Bay Area residents to relocate out of the area, the region is becoming less inclusive with a wider racial and economic divide, according to data released Thursday.

Between 2010 and 2016, low-income households and African-American and Hispanic residents were more likely to leave the region, while those moving to the area were more affluent and educated than those leaving. Among all large U.S. metros, the Bay Area has the greatest disparity between those leaving the area and those moving in, according to the report from the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley and BuildZoom.

The solution may lie in building more housing for all income levels in the right places. The report's authors advocate for building within the Bay Area's existing footprint through densification in ways that foster diversity.

"For this to happen, communities across the Bay Area must do their share and accommodate new development, not only in pockets of density — whose appeal to families with children is limited and which could potentially devolve into concentrations of have-nots — but also through the gradual upzoning of areas currently reserved for single-family homes or otherwise encoded to ward off growth," authors Issi Romem, BuildZoom's chief economist and a Terner Fellow, and Elizabeth Kneebone, Terner Center research director, write in the report.

Housing projects have been met with resistance in some of the region's cities, and many Bay Area cities do not meet their regional housing needs allocation for units at various affordability levels as determined by the state. Laws such as SB 35, which streamlines the process for projects to move forward if they meet certain criteria and affordable housing requirements, seek to push past resistance in some areas. Several bills this year have tried to address housing needs both in the Bay Area and around the state.

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