Urban Flight Seeded the COVID-19 Pandemic Across the United States

38 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2020

See all articles by Joshua Coven

Joshua Coven

NYU Stern School of Business

Arpit Gupta

NYU Stern School of Business

Iris Yao

NYU Stern School of Business

Date Written: October 14, 2020

Abstract

We document large-scale urban flight in the United States in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Populations that flee are disproportionately younger, whiter, and wealthier. Regions that saw migrant influx experience greater subsequent COVID-19 case growth, suggesting that urban flight was a vector of disease spread. Urban residents fled to socially connected areas, consistent with the notion that individuals were sheltering with friends and family or in second homes. The association of migration and subsequent case growth persists when instrumenting for migration with social networks, pointing to a causal association.

Note: Funding: None to declare.

Declaration of Interests: None to declare.

Keywords: Migration, COVID-19, Contagion

JEL Classification: I140, J610, R410

Suggested Citation

Coven, Joshua and Gupta, Arpit and Yao, Iris, Urban Flight Seeded the COVID-19 Pandemic Across the United States (October 14, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3711737 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3711737

Joshua Coven

NYU Stern School of Business ( email )

Stern School of Business
44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012-1126
United States

Arpit Gupta (Contact Author)

NYU Stern School of Business ( email )

Suite 9-160
New York, NY
United States

HOME PAGE: http://arpitgupta.info

Iris Yao

NYU Stern School of Business ( email )

44 West 4th Street
Suite 9-160
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

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