31% of Young Adults Relocated During Covid. But They Aren't Giving Up on Cities Altogether

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  • Gen Z and millennials were most likely to relocate during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Yet many of those who moved didn't stray far from cities.
  • Here's what we know about why they moved.

A pandemic migration has been underway, at least for young adults ages 18 to 31.

That's according to a survey that found 31% of people in that age cohort relocated either permanently or for an extended period of time during the Covid pandemic. That's compared with 16% of adults overall.

Gen Z — who range from ages 18 to 24 — were most likely to pick up stakes, with 32% relocating. That was followed by millennials — ages 25 to 40 — at 26%.

Members of Gen X — ages 41 to 56 — and baby boomers — ages 57 to 75 — were least likely to relocate, with 10% and 5% having made moves, respectively.

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The main reason people relocated was to be closer to friends and family, which was cited by 31% of respondents. That was followed by more affordable living, with 27%, or relocating for a job, 21%.

Others were motivated by opportunities for more space, 18%; different climates, 17%; or the ability to work from anywhere, 17%.

While many of the respondents left cities, they did not go far.

In the New York metro area, three of the five most popular places to relocate from Manhattan were less than 15 miles away, according to Bankrate's analysis of data from the U.S. Postal Service.

Meanwhile, people who left other cities, such as Austin, Texas, Dallas, Houston or Orlando, Florida, mostly chose new home bases that are less than 30 miles away.

"It really seems like people are just leaving the densest neighborhoods to go to places where they may be able to get a bit more bang for their buck," said Zach Wichter, a mortgage and real estate reporter at Bankrate.

Bankrate's research came from an online survey conducted in February that included 5,158 adults. They also analyzed U.S. Postal Service change of address requests from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020.

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