Are Significant Number Of People Moving To New Place?


Social media stories and popular public perception painted a picture that mass people are moving to suburbs and rural areas. It is true that after the pandemic the global economy was highly affected by the ripple effect. But the statistics don’t present that a significant number of people moved to another place which can have a substantial effect on local housing markets.

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Human mobility is a multifaceted behavior and different factors are playing an important role to influence this phenomenon. The world-upending pandemic is performing as one of those factors. The spikes of human mobilization due to the COVID-19 pandemic were primarily among individuals and were temporary.

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According to the US Postal Service (USPS) data, permanent moves of people were 31.74 million and 31.96 million chronologically in 2019 and 2020. The permanent moves from January to October 2021 was 26 million which is 800,000 fewer moves than in the same span in both 2019 and 2020. These data indicate that there were spikes in human mobility at the initial stage of the pandemic. But now the trend is decreasing.

A particularly interesting fact is individual moves have been accelerated faster than family moves. 400,000 more individual moves in March 2020 and 250,000 more moves in December 2020 compared to the same months in 2019. The individual moves were 5 percent higher in 2020 than in 2019.

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On the other hand, the family moves ticked up slightly in March 2020 which was a five percent increase from March 2019. Total family moves in 2020 were 7 percent lower than in 2019. So, the data explored that family moves fell after the onset of the pandemic. Presently, it remains at lower levels.