From L.A. to Boise: How Migration Has Changed During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Peter Haslag and Daniel Weagley

We examine how broad changes in work arrangements and lifestyles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have affected households’ location decisions. Using data on over 360,000 residential, interstate moves over the last 5 years, we find more than 12% of moves were directly influenced by the pandemic. Among pandemic-influenced movers, over 15% of households cite that remote work influenced their move. Lifestyle-related (job-related) migration increased (decreased) significantly, particularly for the set of households who are likely to have access to remote work. We further find these changes in migration patterns are positively related to post-pandemic economic growth.