Relocation Trends in a Post-Covid World
The pandemic brought a lot of changes to the way we work and live, and many of these changes are shaping today’s housing market. While moving has been on the decline within the US for the last several decades, the past few years have seen new domestic migration trends that are reshaping today’s housing market. According to Forbes, local moves within states slowed even more between 2019 and 2021 due to COVID, but permanent address changes between states increased to over 10 million during this time. As a result, a population shift is taking place across the country.
A Shift Away from Many States
One of the most significant factors impacting relocation trends in the United States is remote work. With more and more companies allowing their employees to work from home, people are no longer tethered to specific geographic locations in the same way they once were. This has led to a significant shift of people moving towards more affordable states across the US.
States like California and New York, once hotspots for young professionals, are losing residents at an unprecedented rate. In contrast, places like Texas and Tennessee are seeing a surge in popularity, with many new residents drawn to their more relaxed pace of lifestyle and stronger local job markets.
Taxes and Cost of Living are Major Considerations
Of course, remote work isn't the only factor driving these trends. Taxes and the cost of living are also major considerations for people looking to relocate. Many states with high tax rates, like Illinois, are seeing residents leave in droves, with many choosing to move to states with no income tax, like Florida.
Similarly, the cost of living has become a significant burden for many people. In places like the Northeast, the cost of housing, transportation, and food can be prohibitively high, making it difficult for people to live comfortably. By contrast, states in the South offer a much lower cost of living, with more affordable housing that allows people to enjoy a higher standard of living with less financial stress.
Domestic Migration Trends
Due to these factors, states like Florida, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia gained the most population over the past few years. From April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022, the combined population of Texas and Florida expanded by more than 1.5 million residents according to the U.S. Census Bureau. New York, California, and Illinois lost the most during this same time frame. For those leaving these states, the majority left large urban areas.
The Pandemic Accelerated Trends
While remote work, taxes, and the cost of living have been factors influencing relocation decisions for some time, the pandemic has accelerated these trends significantly. With many companies forced to shut down or limit their operations during the pandemic, people have had more time to reflect on their priorities and make decisions about where they want to live and work.
For some, this has meant moving closer to family and friends, or to areas with more natural beauty, better climates, and outdoor recreational opportunities. For others, it has meant taking advantage of the flexibility offered by remote work to move to more affordable areas and enjoy a higher quality of life. Many of these locations have also had stronger local job markets.
What Does this Mean for the Future?
So what do these relocation trends mean for the future of the United States? For one, it's clear that remote work is here to stay, at least in some capacity. As more companies embrace this new way of working, people will continue to have more flexibility in where they choose to live and work. States with lower taxes and cost of living, better quality of life, and appealing climates will continue to see their populations grow and flourish.
While we'll have to wait and see what this looks like for the landscape of our country as a whole, it's a good time to consider what you want out of life and where you want to live it. Community Finder's Area Information pages provide a great resource as you begin this journey.