Tom Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder

Tom Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder

One in every five U.S. adults relocated this year, citing COVID-19 as the reason why. That totals millions of Americans uprooting to seek a safer community, housing they could afford, or even a college dorm that closed – all due to COVID-19, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Young adults are the most likely to have been affected by coronavirus-related moves. About 37 percent of those ages 18 to 29 have moved, had someone move into their home, or know someone who moved because of the pandemic. Young adults are also among the groups most affected by pandemic-related job losses and the shutdown of college housing in early spring, reports the Pew Research Center after analyzing survey results among 9,654 U.S. adults from June 4 to 10, 2020.

The reasons for moving are varied – 28 percent say they moved to reduce risk of contracting the virus. Another 23 percent say it was because their college campus closed, and 20 percent say they wanted to be with family. An additional 18 percent say the most important reason was financial – about half of those cited job loss.

Other data adds context pointing out that some big-city residents recently sought to live in a less dense area, heading to their summer homes or choosing to relocate to a new place – in either case the driving force is to escape the coronavirus. Census Bureau statistics reveal that these temporary relocations lead to longer-term exodus from large metropolitan area populations.

In part, the remote work experience prevalent since the start of coronavirus pandemic is driving the move away from densely populated areas. People have long chosen to live no longer than 30 minutes from work. Over the past decade, this requirement caused extreme home value growth in coastal job centers, which in turn precipitated an affordability crisis.

The sheer number of workers newly using video conferencing instead of holding in-person meetings may cause a seismic shift in where home buyers choose to shop for a home. Half of those able to do their job from home say they would be open to a commute time to work of up to 45 minutes or longer. This willingness to live farther from work could translate into a post-pandemic recovery that mitigates amped up housing demand in larger cities and drives a boom in smaller cities and exurbs.

Educational attainment and income also increase the likelihood that a person moved due to the outbreak – 28 percent of adults with a bachelor’s degree moved or knows someone who did, compared to 18 percent of those without one.

Around six-in-ten of the adults who moved say they relocated to a family member’s home. That included 41 percent who moved in with their parents or in-laws; 4 percent who moved in with an adult child or in-law; and 16 percent who moved in with another relative.

To read the full report visit

By Tom Kalinski. Tom is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, the local residential real estate company he established in 1977. For questions, e-mail Tom at [email protected],
call 303.441.5620, or visit