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COVID-19 Side Effect: Americans Are Moving to Find Space and a Fresh Start

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed nearly every aspect of American life, including where people want to live.

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Confused couple of having to move and arrange all the packages to new home. Concept of success, delusion, change and future
Confused couple of having to move and arrange all the packages to new home. Concept of success, delusion, change and future

The coronavirus and resulting stay-at-home orders have given Americans a lot of time to reconnect with their loved ones, enjoy the simpler things, and figure out what’s most important in life. 

The economy and job market have also been flipped on their heads, and unemployment has hit record highs. As a result, people have become more conscious about where they’re spending their time and energy, and this includes contemplating where they live.

A recent FinanceBuzz survey about moving during the pandemic found that nearly half (45%) of Americans who were furloughed or laid off due to COVID-19 are considering moving permanently. They’re not alone — 26% of all Americans are also thinking about relocating.

Let’s explore the top reasons behind this more unexpected COVID-19 side effect of permanent relocation.

Top 7 reasons why COVID-19 has Americans thinking about moving:

1. To lower their cost of living (41%)

According to a FinanceBuzz recession survey from early 2020, 72% of Americans were concerned about a potential recession occurring within the next year. In June, The New York Times reported the U.S. had already officially entered a recession in February.

With the continued disruption in economic stability because of COVID-19, a permanent move elsewhere is seen as a viable strategy for easing financial burdens. And with the rise of a remote workforce, you can be a lot more flexible with where you’re living and working.

2. To be in a less populated area (29%)

The World Health Organization attributes the spread of COVID-19 to being in close proximity to people who have the virus. This means living in highly populated areas can greatly increase the risk of contracting coronavirus.

Take New York City, for example. In March, CNN reported that the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak was New York City. At the time, nearly a third of all coronavirus cases in the U.S. came from the Big Apple. As the largest city in the U.S. (by population), New York City became a prime example of how quickly COVID-19 can spread in populated areas.

3. To get a fresh start (28%)

Sometimes, you need a new perspective on life to continue progressing. For many, making a permanent move can offer the much-desired fresh start you may want or need. COVID-19 will have a lasting impact, so if you think a big change like moving could help, you might be right.

4. To find more/better job opportunities (27%)

In May, Forbes reported that about 40 million people had filed for unemployment since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March. Even with the numbers now recovering, there are still a lot of people out of work. Unemployment benefits can provide vital assistance in a time of need, but that aid might not be enough to cover essential living expenses and debt payments. 

In a FinanceBuzz survey on debt, 80% of people viewed debt as a moral issue or, in other words, the vast majority of people believe debt should be repaid. But not being able to pay off debt during the pandemic could affect your financial and mental well-being. As laid-off Americans seek new employment opportunities to better manage their debt, they may have to look for jobs in other states and cities. 

5. To have a bigger yard or more outdoor space (27%)

Between quarantines, stay-at-home orders, and avoiding crowded public spaces, it’s hard to get out of the house and enjoy being outside. If you can’t go anywhere, your own house and property will have to do. That’s why many Americans are considering a permanent move to prioritize a bigger yard or more outdoor space.

6. To be closer to their family (27%)

With travel restrictions and social distancing procedures in place, families haven’t been able to spend as much time together. As a result, many individuals feel the need to be closer to their family and may consider moving nearer to them. With shutdowns and social distancing recommendations continuing to occur in waves, the whole family could join together in a quarantine pod instead of being relegated to the occasional video call.

Note: According to NPR, quarantine pods are groups of people that are in normal contact with each other, but still take precautions with the outside world and the spread of coronavirus.

7. To live in a region less impacted by COVID-19 (26%)

If you’re trying to avoid the spread of COVID-19, it could make sense to move somewhere that has had fewer cases. Because we don’t yet have a vaccine, a more remote area like Alaska or Vermont could seem appealing. After all, a New York Times article shows that these two states have had the fewest number of coronavirus cases so far.

Bottom line

If you’re thinking of making a permanent move because of COVID-19, you’re not the only one. Many Americans are thinking of relocating for various reasons, with the coronavirus set as the underlying factor. If there’s a move in your immediate future, stay safe and good luck.

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