Moving-focused group MyMove analyzed data from the USPS about change-of-address requests. By far, this is the most comprehensive snapshot of migration trends during the coronavirus pandemic - revealing nearly 16 million Americans moved between February and July.
MyMove determined temporary moves soared 27% between February and July compared with the same period last year. The data also shows permanent address changes rose by 1.9% year over year.
The most significant outlier in the USPS data was the parabolic spike in temporary address changes, mostly due to city-dwellers escaping large metros during coronavirus lockdowns.
Besides USPS data, MyMove also examined a Pew Research Center survey of 10,000 Americans conducted in July. The study allowed MyMove to understand why and where people moved.
"About a quarter (28%) told us [they chose to move] because they feared getting COVID-19 if they stayed where they were living," said D'Vera Cohn, senior writer and editor for Pew who published the study findings, told MyMove.
"About a fifth (20%) said they wanted to be with their family, or their college campus closed (23%). A total of 18% gave financial reasons, including job loss," Cohn said.
As the month-by-month chart below shows, "the number of total monthly moves has remained consistent throughout the pandemic, with slight spikes in March — at the onset of the pandemic — and in July. Summer months are peak moving season, which could also explain the July increase," MyMove said.
MyMove shows that people moved from metro areas, like Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Chicago, to less populated cities that were in Texas, George, Florida, and Idaho. We outlined this here:
- A Mass Exodus Away From Big Cities On Both Coasts
- Zillow Exposes Dramatic Exodus Out Of San Francisco Real Estate
- As US Cities Crumble, Demand For Rural And Suburban Properties Is Soaring
- US New Home Sales Plunge To 10 Year Low As Exodus From Cities Accelerates
Readers may recall, we pointed out, in late March, how city-dwellers were fleeing at least one major city.
Noel Roberts, real estate agent for Nest Seekers International, told MyMove the exodus from cities was because people are waiting out the virus pandemic storm in rural communities.
"Over the past several months, we've seen an influx of renters in the Hamptons coming from New York City to come and escape the city as well as wait out the virus," Roberts said.
MyMove also said people left metro areas to take "advantage of online learning or remote work to save money on housing and living expenses, and probably expect to return to their college campus or office spaces soon enough."
Cities that lost the most movers in 2019 and 2020:
Some smaller cities gained movers during the pandemic:
MyMove, on a metro level, shows outbound migration trends of city-dwellers in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago:
Pew found that many city-dwellers had their mail rerouted to nearby residences in less-populated areas.
Cohn, of Pew, said, "Among those who moved due to the virus, 13% [of respondents] told us they moved to a second home or vacation home, many of which probably are outside cities."
Top Cities That Gained Most People During The Virus Pandemic:
States That Gained And Lost Most People During The Virus Pandemic:
Real estate experts have warned the "exodus" from cities will last two years.