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National  + Retail  | Pandemic Didn’t Create New Migration Patterns  

The beginning of the pandemic saw many think-pieces predicting that the areas in which Americans choose to live would be altered permanently. However, a white paper from shows that much of the migration over COVID followed trends already underway. 

“According to around 30 million change-of-address requests to the U.S. Postal Service in 2020 analyzed by the New York Times, migration patterns during the pandemic mostly looked a lot like migration patterns pre-pandemic,” reported.  

“Certain smaller metro areas and vacation spots became more popular, and some larger cities did see their population decrease. But overall, areas that were already attracting new residents kept growing, and those that were already losing residents lost more.” 

The change in net population across states between the first quarter of 2021 and Q1 2022 stayed within the range of  -0.9% (in Illinois and New Jersey) and +2.3% (in Idaho). “Even when we compared the population in Q1 2022 to Q1 2019 and Q1 2018, the changes still remained relatively small in most states,” according to Moreover, many of the states with sizable population increases on a percentage basis were among the least populated to begin with, such as Idaho and Montana.

And while the aforementioned think-pieces often predicted an exodus from cities, the white paper points out that “much of the migration in and out of cities is intra-regional migration – people moving from suburbs to cities or people moving from cities to surrounding areas while remaining rooted around their city of origin.” 

However, the white paper states, “The data does show that a small, but significant, share of the population have moved across state lines since 2018. And since moving out of state is both expensive and labor intensive, families and individuals with the resources available make up a very specific demographic that can have an outsized impact on foot traffic to dining, retail, recreation, health, and cultural venues.” 


Inside The Story

About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 15-20 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).

  • ◦Economy