Pandemic concerns, changes in income and employment status, and evictions prompted many Americans to move around in 2020. In our latest survey, we gained more insight into how moving related to COVID-19’s impact.
As of September, 20% of survey respondents moved this year.1 Of those who moved, 33% say they weren’t planning to move this year, and 45% said their move was a result of COVID-19.2
Let’s dig into details about who moved, where they moved to and from, why they moved, and when moving peaked in 2020.
Top states where people moved to and from
Many of the states that people left were the same states others moved to the most, except New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, which didn’t receive enough new residents to make the top ten.
California, New York, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Washington, and Colorado may have lost more residents than other states, but they also gained more new residents than other states. North Carolina, Arizona, and Georgia also had an influx of new residents.
But most folks who moved homes didn’t necessarily search too far for greener pastures.
Where did people move?
Most of our survey respondents stayed within the same city and state, but 14% went beyond their state line to find a new home.
- 46% of people moved within the same city
- 38% moved within the same state
- 14% moved to a different state
People chose to move locally for different reasons—close proximity to friends and family, the comfort of “home,” job security, or costs of long-distance moving. Whether the move was local or long distance, we wanted to know: what reasons did people have for moving in the first place?
Why did people move?
Nearly half of our survey respondents said their move resulted from income loss and the need for affordable housing. And over a third of respondents said their move was related to COVID-19, either from concerns related to health, work, housing, or money.
The US Census Bureau reports a national housing insecurity average of 7.9%, with some states and metro areas having upwards of 15% or more during the pandemic.3 As of this writing, there is a federally mandated eviction moratorium lasting until December 31, 2020, but there are reports of an extension until February, 2021.4
The situation’s economic uncertainty stirred up a lot of movement, but it wasn’t the only factor.
Moving in 2020: Renting vs. homeownership
With 45% of survey respondents saying upgraded housing was a moving factor, the economic dynamics paint a mixed picture between renters and homeowners.
Although most survey respondents were renters who continued to rent after their move, 35% of respondents became homeowners in 2020. However, of the 39% of homeowners that moved, 13% became renters after their move.
To gain more insight on respondents’ demographics, we looked at their age, who they lived with, and their housing. Here’s what we learned.
Demographics of people who moved in 2020
Millennials moved the most out of any age group in 2020. And those living with significant others moved more than those living with single families, alone, or with roommates or parents.
Who moved based on housing type
|Dwelling type||Number of moves||Percent of total|
|Number of moves||Percent of total|
Those who lived in one-bedroom apartments or three-bedroom homes moved the most. Those living in studios, three-bedroom apartments, and one-bedroom homes moved the least.
Moving in 2020: When did most people move?
- The fall of 2020 showed the highest percentage of moves, peaking in September.
- Most people moved at the beginning of the week on Monday.
- More people moved at the beginning of the month on the 1st, followed by the 15th, and then days at the end of the month.
We can’t be sure of the full impact of COVID-19 just yet, but based on our findings, it’s clear that it was a disruptive year that resulted in many folks changing residences—be it for health or economic concerns or as an opportunity to start somewhere fresh.
Moving is stressful as it is, let alone during a global pandemic. Whether you’ve been planning to move for a long time or it’s coming as a surprise, we can help you take some of the stress off. Visit our comprehensive guides to learn more:
We used proprietary data from our top partners to gather information about where people were moving to and from along with when their move occurred. We also conducted a Pollfish survey of 700 Americans 18+ to understand more about their 2020 move.
- Move.org, Pollfish survey conducted September 14, 2020.
- Move.org, Pollfish survey conducted October 13, 2020.
- US Census Bureau, “Household Pulse Survey,” Accessed December 10, 2020.
- Annie Nova, CNBC, “Next Stimulus Package May Include Eviction Moratorium and $25 Billion in Rental Assistance,” December 9, 2020. Accessed December 10, 2020.