Coronavirus may Prompt Migration out of American Cities
Nearly one-third of Americans are considering moving to a less densely populated area because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to a Harris Poll survey released Thursday.
By the numbers: 39% of urban dwellers said the COVID-19 crisis has prompted them to consider leaving for a less crowded place, according to the survey of 2,050 U.S. adults from April 25-27,
- 18- to-34-year-olds were more likely than other age groups to say they’re considering a move.
- Urban residents (43%) were more likely than suburban (26%) and rural (21%) residents to report having recently browsed real estate websites for homes or apartments to rent or buy, per the survey.
- Yes, but: Alarm over coronavirus is high in rural areas, too — 77% of rural residents reported they are very or somewhat concerned about themselves or a loved one being exposed to COVID-19.
Between the lines: It’s not yet clear how the pandemic will reshape cities in the long run, but many experts say it will accelerate trends that were already underway before the coronavirus outbreak.
- City growth slows: After people flocked to big cities in the early 2010s, major metro areas with populations of more than 1 million have seen growth slowdowns and even losses over the past four years, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Brookings Institution’s William Frey.
- Remote work normalized: Remote work is likely to become a more permanent reality, allowing staff more flexibility to live further away from their company’s headquarters — hence, further away from major cities.
- Spreading out: Suburbs had already become more attractive to millennials before the pandemic. Demographers and realtors tell HousingWire that the crisis is a “tipping point” for people already wanting more space or a different quality of life outside urban cores.
The other side: People tend to stay put in an economic downturn, so a recession could discourage people from picking up and moving, even if they’ve thought about it.