Most Americans Are Moving Out of Big Cities To Nearby Locations

New York City
Aerial view of the New York skyline on a sunny afternoon

The new report from the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program reveals that Americans are moving out of big cities. But not to the Midwest as expected, but to the suburbs and the areas around them.

Last year, because of the pandemic, millions of Americans started to leave big cities. Nearly 7 million households move to different parts of the country: that’s half a million more than the previous year. However, despite many states offering perks to remote workers and areas transforming into ‘’zoom towns,’’ the latest data shows that remote workers aren’t moving away from the big cities. 

The Impact of Remote Work in the Big Cities 

Remote work keeps increasing. With vaccination campaigns and fewer restrictions, working at the office is now a possibility. However, companies are continuing to implement flexible measurements in response to employees’ preferences. Consequently, as employees don’t have to go to the office 5 days a week, they have started to move out of big cities.

Yet, they are not precisely moving to small towns or the Midwest. Record Daily interviewed Mark Muro, Senior Fellow and Policy Director at Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, and one of the report’s authors. He explained that people are moving around, but these are not the movements that were predicted by many. He says:

Interestingly, they’re mostly moving to the suburbs. They’re not moving, for the most part, to Wichita to save the heartland. They’re moving either farther out within the metro or into nearby counties. So nearby counties around the New York area or in the Bay Area, moving to Alameda County, and so on. And they’re mostly shorter moves.

Additionally, according to the US Postal service, thousands of people have moved from Manhattan to greener areas such as New Jersey or The Hamptons. The same is happening in Boston and Los Angeles.

According to Nicholas Bloom, professor at Stanford University, and Arjun Ramani, Americans have fled the biggest metropolises to nearby locations. Small cities haven’t received so many remote workers as was predicted. Covid-19 has not impacted the attraction people have towards big cities. However, people want to live near them, not in them. 

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