From L.A. to Boise: How Migration Has Changed During the COVID-19 Pandemic
38 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2021 Last revised: 26 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 26, 2021
We provide an initial assessment of how migration patterns and migrants motivations for moving have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. We use proprietary data on over 300,000 residential, interstate moves over the last four years, which includes details on each move as well as detailed survey data. We find 10--20% of moves between April 2020--February 2021 were influenced by COVID-19, with a significant shift in migration towards smaller cities, lower cost of living locations, and locations with fewer pandemic-related restrictions. We find very different patterns across higher-income and lower-income migrants with higher income households moving out of more populous cities at greater rates, and moving more for lifestyle reasons and much less for work-related reasons compared to the pre-pandemic period. Our results have implications for the structure of cities, tax and political bases, real estate, and other outcomes of interest.
Keywords: COVID-19, Pandemic, Relocation, Remote Work, Agglomeration
JEL Classification: R23, J61, J11, R10, O15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation