1. This is a very important paper which traces long distances moves for different classes of people. The big conclusion is that the moves of more affluent higher income people are away from more restrictive or stringent place to less restrictive ones.
2. "We find 10-20% of moves between April 2020-February 2021 were influenced by COVID-19, with a significant shift in migration towards smaller cities, lower cost of living locations, and locations with fewer
pandemic-related restrictions."
3. "We find very different patterns across higher-income and lower-income migrants with higher income households moving out of more populous cities at greater rates, and moving more for lifestyle reasons and much less for work-related reasons compared to the pre-pandemic period."
4. "We find households are moving away relatively more from areas with greater remote work jobs, more stringent pandemic-related restrictions, and areas with higher rent-levels during the pandemic compared to normal times."
5. "Households are moving to areas with fewer cases, less restrictions, lower density, and lower rent relatively more."
6. "the high costs of indoor socialization during the pandemic has led to a significant change in how people spend their time: an increase in outdoor activities and
more time spent in one's own home versus in common areas indoors ..."
7. "These changes in time-use will increase the value of a good climate, access to outdoor recreation, and also the amount of space in one's home. "
8. "larger households with kids will have some different motivations for moving than households without kids. For instance, 5% of COVID-19 influenced moves cited having access to in-person learning as an important factor in their decision."
9. My take on this is that the overall driver in these migrations is flight from restrictions. Higher income households are moving from more restrictive places (which also happen to be larger, denser & bluer) to less restrictive places.
10. These households have more ability to move & less tolerance for restrictions. They feel they can manage risk on their own without government restrictions. They also prefer environments where in-person schooling is more likely.
11. This is even more the case with entrepreneurs, VCs, investment & real estate types who thrive on risk. They prefer & are voting with their feet for less risk-averse, less stringent, more open places.
12. This is coupled with fear of an ongoing pandemic, & a preference not simply for less density but for warmer climates & for more outdoor space - both for conducting business & outdoor socializing.
13. What I think is driving these moves is a preference for "normalcy", the pursuit of personal freedom & day to day liberty, & the ability to live one's life & family they way you choose, less subject to government mandates.
14. I think this, and not density per se, lies behind these moves.
15. And these are moves that are driven by class position & demography, with older, more affluent people moving toward warmer, less dense, less stringent locations & younger, highly educated people continuing to head to superstar cities.
16. My hunch is we are at best mid-way through this sort on openness, risk & stringency. if the pandemic flares uop again in the fall & winter & there is another round of restrictions in superstar cities & tech hubs (NY, Chicago, Toronto, San Francisco), ...
17. Then this sort will accelerate further ...
18. In any event, it is time we add risk-aversion vs. risk acceptance - or what the authors of this paper call stringency - to the dimensions which are driving America's ongoing Big Sort ... Again, paper is here:
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