Moving, but Staying Relatively Close to Home
Many left New York City over the pandemic, whether to upstate New York or to other nearby regions. And while most of the population of Manhattan (New York County) seems to have returned to the city, the population of Brooklyn (Kings County) was still down 4% year-over-three-year (Yo3Y) in April 2022.
Critically, however, many of those leaving Brooklyn are moving to nearby, equally urban areas – Queens and Manhattan were the two most popular counties among former Brooklynites between April 2020 and 2022. Others have left for more suburban counties in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut, which still allows them to maintain a connection with their original city. These people may frequently return to New York to go to the office, meet friends, or shop.
Moving to the City During COVID
Many of those moving out of the suburbs and into the city are also staying close to their location of origin. Maricopa County in Arizona (home to Phoenix) is the state’s largest city with over 1.5 million residents. Between July 2020 and July 2021, the county had thelargest population growth in the United States, and between April 2021 and April 2022 Maricopa County boasted a net population increase of 1.7%.
As the map below illustrates, many of the new residents came from nearby locations. Some relocated from the surrounding suburban towns, while others moved to Maricopa Country from neighboring California and Nevada.
The decision to move is often a lengthy one that can take many months, or sometimes even years. For most people, the transition to hybrid work and newfound appreciation for nature was not enough to compel them to leave their city, or region.
Still, a small but significant share of the population did choose to relocate over the past two years. Some of those left urban centers for quieter rural or suburban areas, but others moved out of the suburbs and into the city, or out of one urban neighborhood and into another. And if people chose to move to the city despite the difficult circumstances of 2020 and 2021 – predictions of the death of cities are unlikely to come true anytime soon.
For more domestic migration insights, read the full white paper.