Throughout the nation main central enterprise districts in cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle stay eerily empty as employers proceed to maintain workers working remotely. Heading into the vacations, only 1 in 10 office workers had made their way back into Manhattan.

However is the disruption brought on by the pandemic—and the do business from home increase—truly convincing Individuals to pack their luggage and transfer?

To seek out out, Fortune and SurveyMonkey polled 2,098 U.S. adults in November.* This ballot, which has a modeled error estimate of +/-3%, is a fair deeper examine than our August look at migration

The discovering? Thousands and thousands of Individuals moved because of the pandemic—and hundreds of thousands extra plan to take action. Amongst U.S. adults, 16% say they’ve both moved out of their metropolis/county throughout the pandemic (6%) or plan to maneuver within the subsequent 12 months (12%). Round 2% of Individuals who moved throughout the pandemic plan to take action once more in 2021. Usually solely 3.7% of Americans move across county lines in a given year. If this forecast involves fruition, it’d mark the largest yr of migration in a long time.

Alternate text

The pandemic, in some ways, has disproven the notion that firms can solely operate and innovate in an workplace setting. So it shouldn’t be stunning that cities and concrete areas—the long-time bedrocks of Company America—are shedding essentially the most residents: Whereas 4% of rural Individuals and seven% of suburban Individuals say they plan to maneuver out of their metropolis or county within the subsequent 12 months, that determine is 9% amongst U.S. adults residing in city areas.

However simply because somebody is leaving one metropolis doesn’t imply they’re leaving cites altogether. They may very well be fleeing high-cost San Jose for Denver or Austin, for instance.

Not all of those pandemic strikes will be chalked as much as WFH. Look no additional than Jamil Dawson, who lived in Calera, Alabama pre-pandemic. Throughout COVID he watched as associates and neighborhood members noticed their long-time jobs disappear in a single day. That was a wake-up name for Dawson, who was reminded that alternatives and jobs are fleeting. That motivated the 40-year-old in the summertime of 2020 to simply accept a promotion to govt director at a well being clinic, which moved his household three hours from their residence in Alabama to Starkville, Mississippi.

“We will make plans and get comfy in a job, and say ‘I can transfer ahead in 5 years.’ However you may not have 5 years. COVID made that crystal clear,” Dawson informed Fortune.

Alternate text

In the course of the pandemic, Gen Zers (9%) and millennials (7%) have moved at a lot increased charges than Gen Xers (3%) and child boomers (3%). For Gen Z, an age cohort that’s someplace between school and early profession, some are shifting residence with mother and pop whereas college is distant. Different Gen Zers and younger millennials are saving a buck by not renewing their big-city residence leases and crashing with household or associates till issues are again to regular.

Our knowledge counsel Gen Z and millennials will proceed to maneuver at excessive charges in 2021, nevertheless, millennials ought to truly edge out their youthful friends: Amongst millennials, 20% say they’ll transfer within the subsequent 12 months, in comparison with 16% of Gen Zers. In the meantime, solely 10% of Gen Xers and seven% of child boomers say they’re prone to transfer out of their cities or counties.

Why would millennials (born 1981 to 1996) uproot at such a excessive clip in 2021? One idea: Elder millennials are rapidly approaching their 30s and 40s, they usually may very well be utilizing this pandemic as motivation to calm down, whether or not close to household or within the suburbs for house. In contrast to their youthful Gen Z counterparts, millennials might need merely wanted extra time—maybe to discover a new college or jobs for each spouses—earlier than making the large transfer.

*Methodology: The Fortune-SurveyMonkey ballot was carried out amongst a nationwide pattern of two,098 adults within the U.S. between November 9 and 10. This survey’s modeled error estimate is plus or minus 3 share factors. The findings have been weighted for age, race, intercourse, schooling, and geography.


That is an excerpt from Fortune Analytics, an unique publication that Fortune Premium subscribers obtain as a perk of their subscription. The publication shares in-depth analysis on essentially the most mentioned subjects within the enterprise world proper now. Our findings come from particular surveys we run and proprietary knowledge we gather and analyze. Sign up to get the full briefing in your inbox.