New data from LinkedIn indicates that residents are leaving once high demand urban centers for smaller metropolitan areas and the suburbs. "Fresh data from LinkedIn's Economic Graph team shows that smaller metro areas are gaining, some famous big cities are slipping, and hints of de-urbanization can be found across the country."
Residents of the top listed cities that were already outrageously expensive to live in are now also dealing with COVID-19, spiking crime and ongoing civil unrest. Yet even as coronavirus cases have dropped crime continues to grow exponentially in urban centers.
Local officials have fueled crime, by releasing inmates and handicapping police. Prosecutors decline to prosecute and judges let suspects walk. Quality of life has plunged as the homeless, the mentally ill and drug abusers appear to have more rights than the tax payers and plague residents and business owners with petty crime and leave needles and human waste in the streets.
Another major contributing factor appeared to be if schools would reopen or not. Schools farther away from urban centers were more likely to offer in person learning.
Moon Salahie, owner of Elite Moving & Storing in Yonkers, NY has been working nonstop since the city began Phase 1 of its reopening in June. He told the New York Post that "People are fleeing the city in droves." Salahie said that "90 percent of the moves are to the suburbs and mostly families with kids worried about the school year. He's packed people out of neighborhoods all over Manhattan."
The coronavirus trapped families in small apartments with nowhere to go, while simultaneously forcing them to become teachers for their kids while working from home, which caused many families to flee for the suburbs. Parks and playgrounds were closed across the city so families traded their small two bedroom apartments for bigger suburban homes with backyards and home offices.
According to the Hartford Courant "More than 16,000 New Yorkers have left the state for suburban Connecticut since March, according to new data from the U.S. Postal Service."
United Van Lines and Mayflower movers told the Post that they "had done 1,000 out-of-state moves from New York City starting in March, with 28 percent to Florida and California, and 16 percent to Texas and North Carolina." According to Fox business "between May and July there was a 95 percent year over year increase in interest in moving out of Manhattan. That compares with a 19 percent increase in moving interest in the US, overall."
Casey Madden told ABC News that she moved in with family in Long Island and then moved out of state to Tampa, Florida, with her boyfriend. "All of the things I loved about New York City kind of just disappeared because of COVID." Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo has discussed the mass exodus at press conferences and even tried bribing people to come back
Second on the list is the San Francisco Bay Area. According to George Anders, Senior Editor at Large of LinkedIn. "Many tech companies have switched to an extended work-from-home routine—and employees are becoming increasingly bold in deciding where that 'home' should be." Anders cited the Financial Times which says that schools near Lake Tahoe, nearly 200 miles northeast of San Francisco, are awash with applications from families that have relocated from the Bay Area.
Online real estate company Zillow released new statistics shining a stark light on the issue this week. Their "2020 Urban-Suburban Market Report" reveals that inventory has risen a whopping 96 percent year-on-year, as empty homes in the city flood the market like nowhere else in America. Flush with cash only months ago, San Francisco is experiencing multiple crises. According to The Guardian, "Besides its long-running housing and homelessness emergencies, and a transit network in meltdown, the city faces a severe fiscal challenge. Its $13bn budget – larger than that of a dozen US states – now faces a $1.7bn deficit over the next two years."
Finishing in the top three was Seattle, Wash. Similar to San Francisco, tech drives the economy in the Pacific Northwest. Even with the ongoing riots, according to Anders, "Seattle and Portland are still seeing an overall influx of people, but just at a lower rate than before." However, with employees at tech giants like Amazon working from home businesses are shuttering. Over 130 businesses with over 47,000 employees have closed downtown.
Amazon is even beginning its withdrawal from Seattle in response to the recent "Amazon Tax." Amazon chose not to renew their lease for the top eight floors of an office building in South Lake Union. The space totals over 180,000 square feet and sparked concerns of an office real estate crash. Facebook is following Amazon to nearby Bellevue having just acquired an unused campus from REI, whose employees are planning to continue working remotely.
Now that the Seattle Police have been defunded and civil unrest continues, residents are looking for an escape plan. A report by Seattle-based online residential real estate company Redfin, found that the number of home sellers looking to leave the Seattle metro area has jumped to 13.7 percent, compared with 11.2 percent at the same time last year. Meanwhile, the net outflow of homeowners from Seattle has soared from 363 in the second quarter of last year to 6,007 in the second quarter of this year - a jump of more than 1,500 percent.
According to the report, the most popular destinations for those leaving Seattle are Phoenix, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Anders continued that "One way to see the growing appeal of smaller cities is to look at the five U.S. cities with the largest increase in their inflow-to-outflow ratios from April through August, versus a year earlier. These cities are Jacksonville, Fla. (+10.7 percent), Salt Lake City (+9.6 percent), Sacramento, Calif. (+7.6 percent), Milwaukee (+4.5 percent), and Kansas City, Mo. (+3.9 percent), according to LinkedIn data. Both Salt Lake and Sacramento portray themselves as benefitting from northern California's exodus."
"We don't need to be in Silicon Valley," says Robert Wood, chief executive officer of digital license-plate maker Reviver. He relocated the company to Sacramento earlier this year, uprooting it from the San Francisco suburb of Foster City, Calif. Lower costs and growing acceptance of a work-anywhere attitude in response to pandemic dislocations helped spur that decision.
Similarly, "Salt Lake City has set its sights on bringing in more high-tech industry, particularly in life sciences," journalist Emma Penrod wrote in Utah Business last month. "And COVID-19 could end up being a blessing in disguise.
LinkedIn notes that the moves could be "circular" between different cities across the country. However, with departees citing the same reasons for departure from each city, people will most likely avoid running to a city with the same issues they are fleeing.