Key Highlights

  • Nearly 20% of Americans moved in 2020 due to COVID, according to Pew Research Center
  • Over 20% more Americans planning to move in 2021, according to latest research

Americans STILL on the Move

COVID’s “rearranging” of society in 2020 was HUGE.  Nearly one-fifth of Americans either moved themselves or knew someone who moved as a result of the pandemic, according to research done by the Pew Research Center.

2021 is expected to see even more “rearranging.”  According to the Neighbor 2020-2021 American Migration Report, over 20% more Americans are planning to move in 2021 than in 2020.  Compare this additional +20% planning to move in 2021 with the usual 14% of Americans who typically move in a yearly basis.

Reasons to “Rearrange” Themselves Elsewhere

In 2021, unlike in 2020 when the primary motivating factor to move was safety due to COVID concerns, Americans are on the move because they can move.  Being unleashed by remote work, here are some of the primary reasons motivating movers:

  • 47% – lower cost of living
  • 30% – moving closer to family
  • 19% – increased work flexibility
  • 16% – looking for new job opportunities
  • 13% – better schools
  • 9% – change in romantic relationship

Finding a new job or being transferred to a new location in an existing job came in last place for a combined 15%.  Fewer still said their moving intentions were based upon safety concerns.

Homeownership/Renter-ship Implications

Among these already moved and intending-to-move, homeownership is up +11%.  Before their move in 2020, some 43% said they owned their previous home.  In 2021, 54% survey respondents said they now or will own their new home after moving.

Renter-ship, on the other hand, is falling.  Some 49% said they were previously or currently renting compared with just 40% who said they are now renting or will be renting after they move. That’s a significant drop of 9%.

4 in 10 Movers Relocating from Big Cities to Smaller Suburbs, Towns or Rural Places

Moving from bigger to smaller places fulfills the top priority of 47% of movers…moving to a lower cost of living.  A lower cost of living enables movers to achieve the goal of having more space inside and outside of their new home.

Shopping Lists for Your Potential Buyers, Agents

Take a look at all the factors affecting home choices:

  • 48% – more outdoor space
  • 42% – more kitchen space
  • 40% – more storage space
  • 31% – more garage space
  • 28% – more space for remote working
  • 20% – more space for exercise equipment
  • 20% – opportunity to downsize
  • 18% – being farther from people
  • 18% – being closer to people
  • 13% – more space for remote learning


Thanks to the Neighbor 2020 – 2021 American Migration Report and the Pew Research Center.

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