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As coronavirus infections continue to spike and work from home appears to be permanent, many Americans are planning to move to new places.
According to a new study by Upwork, a freelance platform, about 14 to 23 million Americans plan to move to another city or region due to working remotely. The survey was conducted October 1-15 among 20,490 Americans aged 18 and over.
The massive exodus motivated by people was no longer confined to the city where they worked. The pandemic has changed the views of many companies about working from home. Facebook has announced plans for half of its employees to work from home permanently. The company even hired a remote manager in September to ease the transition.
“As our survey shows, many people see remote work as an opportunity to move where they want and where they can afford to live,” said Adam Ozimek, chief economist at Upwork. “This is an early indicator of the much larger impact telework can have on economic efficiency and spillover opportunities.”
Big cities will see the largest number of migrants, according to the survey. About 20% of respondents plan to move to live in a big city. Since many people want long-term jobs away from home, more than half aim to relocate more than two hours or even further away from their current home.
Another study conducted by United Van Lines, a large household-moving company, found that people want to move out of New York at a rate higher than the national average. And in early September, the request to leave San Francisco had more than doubled compared to the US average. The survey was conducted between March and August.
Nationally, there is a 32% increase from this point last year, according to a United Van Lines survey. The most common reasons associated with pandemic-affected dynamics are: concern for the health and well-being of individuals and families, a desire to be closer to family, to change in employment status or job placement (including the ability to work remotely) and a desire to change or improve a quality of life lifestyle.
Customers told the moving company that the pandemic caused them to reassess what is important to their families, that is, closer to their families and friends. Other clients said they had to expand their job search out of the state.
Adedayo Akala is an intern at the NPR Business Desk.