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People leaving Seattle aren’t heading far from home

Complaining about living in the city is a local pastime, and every other week a resident seems to pen an editorial loudly announcing that they’re leaving Seattle. Part of the fun of leaving is telling everyone.

RELATED: Boise is taking on the people exiting Seattle 

For the first time, a recent report by Redfin found that more of its site’s users were looking to leave Seattle than move here. But where are locals going? Not very far, apparently. U.S. Census data shows that of the 100,000 people leaving King County each year, about 30,000 don’t venture any farther than Snohomish or Pierce counties, the The Seattle Times’ FYI Guy reports.

“They walk there,” joked KIRO’s Radio’s John Curley.

“The idea is that you feel like you’re connected to this region,” said KIRO Radio’s Tom Tangney. “Even if you can’t afford Seattle or Eastside prices, maybe that’s the reason. Or you feel like the homeless issue or property crimes will be better elsewhere.”

This particular data isn’t surprising, since locals leaving Seattle have long opted to keep one foot in Seattle and one foot out. What flabbergasted Tom and Curley is that Los Angeles appears to rank third as a destination.

“I can’t take Seattle,” joked Curely. “I want someplace that’s dirtier, and with more crime and higher rent. Because this place is just not testing me enough. I’m going to LA and I’m walking there!”

Leaving Seattle

According to Redfin, 10.6 percent of disillusioned Seattleites were eyeing Los Angeles, followed by Bellingham, Portland, and Phoenix. About 14,500 people head to the Golden State every year. Millenials make up just under half of those leaving, though just as many are moving here as well, presumably waving as they pass each other.

“Maybe the people that like present day Seattle are leaving to get an even better version of it in LA,” joked Tom.

Still, despite the Redfin report and weekly haranguing, more people ultimately move here than away. Recent Census data showed that King County grew by 2,800 people. How many of them stay or end up complaining remains to be seen.

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