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How Have U.S. Migration Patterns Shifted?

The suburbs are having a moment as Americans are beginning to work more from home due to COVID-19 and it becomes less necessary for workers to live in downtown areas. But there are some other new migration patterns that have come about since the pandemic began making headlines in January.

Bankrate.com analyzed data from the United States Postal Service (USPS) from January 1, 2020 to mid-September of 2020 and has broken it down to find the current moving trends and how migration has shifted due to the pandemic.

As more Americans work remotely, people now have greater flexibility to work from anywhere and are likely to seek out areas outside the city with more space. While people have started to leave downtown areas, they are still staying mostly within the metro area but moving out towards the suburbs.

For example, those who moved out of Houston, Texas were likely to move to nearby Texas towns like Katy, Cypress, Spring, Richmond, and Humble, which were all 32 miles or less away from downtown Houston.

In fact, Texas was the state with the highest volume of people moving out from January to mid-September of this year. Texas has had some of the highest numbers of reported COVID-19 cases, which could be one reason people have left the state. The USPS data showed there were 3,040 moves out of Texas from January to mid-September. New York came in second place with 2,692 moves out. There were 1,064 reported moves out of Washington D.C., 763 moves out of North Carolina, and 417 reported moves out of California.

The state that saw the greatest influx of new people moving in was New Jersey, which had 1,873 moves in. South Carolina came in second place with 1,399 moves in and Maryland had 1,108 moves in. Connecticut and Arizona also had a good number of new residents according to the USPS, with 443 and 419 new moves, respectively. 

The data also shows that Americans were far more likely to move within the country than they were to move abroad. Of those who moved between January and mid-September, 89.60% moved somewhere else within the United States while the rest moved out of the country. Lockdown measures and travel restrictions put in place because of COVID-19 are likely reasons why so few Americans have moved out of the country.

About Author: Cristin Espinosa

Cristin Espinosa is a reporter for DS News and MReport. She graduated from Southern Methodist University where she worked as an editor and later as a digital media producer for The Daily Campus. She has a broadcast background as well, serving as a producer for SMU-TV. She wrote for the food section during her fellowship at The Dallas Morning News and has also contributed to Advocate Magazine and The Dallas Observer.
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