Contrary to popular belief, no great migration in pandemic

By MIKE SCHNEIDER Associated Press

Contrary to popular belief, there has been no great migration in the U.S. during the pandemic.

New figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau show that the proportion of people who moved over the past year fell to its lowest level in the 73 years that it has been tracked, in contradiction to popular anecdotes that people left cities en masse to escape COVID-19 restrictions or in search of more bucolic lifestyles.

In 2021, more than 27 million people, or 8.4% of U.S. residents, reported having moved in the past year, according to the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement.

By comparison, 9.3% of U.S. residents moved from 2019 to 2020. Three decades ago, that figure was 17%.

Besides giving rise to shelter-in-place restrictions, the COVID-19 pandemic may have forced people to postpone life-cycle events such as marriages or having babies that often lead to moves. But the decline is part of a decadeslong migration decline in the U.S., said William Frey, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution.

“These numbers show a lot of people didn’t move or moved at a slower rate,” Frey said. “But it’s a longer-term trend.”

That’s not to say that nobody

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