Why Some Americans Regret Leaving Cities During the Pandemic

By: Anneken Tappe · November 28, 2023 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener

Many Americans left the high prices and population densities of cities in the rearview mirror during the pandemic.

First escaping Covid, and later sky-high rents and costs, many realized they could get much more bang for their buck outside the city. But in doing so, some left behind their professional networks, friends, and family, leaving some to wonder if they made the right choice.

Millennial Migration

The relocation trend was particularly pronounced among Millennials. Between 2020 and 2021, 54% of homebuyers aged 31 to 40 bought homes in a suburb or subdivision, while 31% purchased a home in a rural area, according to the National Association of Realtors. And who didn’t like the idea of a garden during the pandemic…

Pros & Cons

With the pandemic behind us, shutdowns long forgotten, and many employers hurrying workers back into offices, the value proposition of living outside the city has changed again.

Americans are still able to take advantage of lower prices and larger spaces, thanks to the rise of remote work. But far from city centers, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Suburbs and rural areas are more isolated, which matters for those who left behind a big social life. There are also fewer “third spaces” like coffee shops and libraries, which help city dwellers build relationships outside of the home and office.

Perhaps worst of all, with some employers mandating staff work from the often city-based office, the suburban life might now also come with a hefty commute.

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