While the average American moves between every five and seven years on average, COVID-19 might make these numbers skyrocket. In a recent study published by PEW Research, as many as 22% of people have either met someone who has moved because of the COVID-19 pandemic or have done so themselves.
That means millions of people have relocated or know someone who has relocated since the start of the pandemic in the United States — a little over four months. Even more conservative estimates published by NPR claim that at least 3% of people have directly moved because of the pandemic, either permanently or temporarily.
But why are people moving? A few answers come to mind:
- New couples want to move in together to bypass social distancing
- Family members are moving in together for their safety, both physically and financially
- In-person college classes have been canceled, eliminating the need for rental houses across the country. PEW notes that as many as 23% of the moves have occurred because college campuses have closed
- People are moving to avoid the high cost of rent amidst the pandemic. After all, 68 million Americans have poor credit alone
- People don’t want to live in highly infectious areas like New York City
While some areas have eviction protection measures in place, like New York City’s Tenant Safe Harbor Act, it seems that the cost of rent amidst the high levels of unemployment is a top factor in these statistics. The majority, around 61%, of those who moved claimed to have gone to a family member’s home.
There’s no way to tell if these changes in housing will be permanent, especially when there’s no end to the pandemic in sight. Perhaps more concerning is the future of the job market. With so many jobs moving to remote work, it might not be necessary for newfound suburbanites to move back to the big city. The New York Times notes that many city dwellers have moved to suburban neighborhoods as per mail forwarding requests from the postal service.
Most colds only last for 10 days, but the novel coronavirus has definitely made an impact. In some cases, cold symptoms can last for months. In others, it leads to death. While many states are entering various stages of reopening, however, it’s still important to take this threat seriously. Florida recently set a record by welcoming more than 15,000 cases of COVID-19 in a single day, making this pandemic far from over. As renters and landlords alike struggle to make rent, there’s no saying what the future will hold. If states roll back reopening plans in light of the new cases sweeping the nation, more moves away from big cities and single apartments are likely.