2020 will go down in history for a pandemic that changed the world. No one would ever have imagined last year that we would stay home for social distancing in order to help save lives. Specifically, one in three adults substituted some or all of their typical in-person work for telework compared to 1 in 20 adults that worked remotely before the pandemic. With teleworking at record high levels, people also decide to move for various reasons. Some of them seek out bigger houses with bigger yards for their kids to play in and office space for them to work. Others seek more affordable homes in less dense places away from large city centers since they can telework.
While teleworking may continue long after the pandemic, it is obvious that far fewer people are moving for job-related reasons during the pandemic than they used to do pre-pandemic.
To better understand the COVID-19 impact on U.S. mobility, we collected United States Postal Service® change-of-address data from March to October 2020 for each county across the United States. Since people who want to forward their mail from their old home to new residences file a change of address request to the USPS®, this dataset serves as a good proxy on how many people moved since the beginning of the pandemic.
Most people moved in the beginning of the pandemic and during the summer months
As of October, 8.93 million people relocated since the pandemic started. This is an increase of nearly 94,000 people changing the address of their residence compared to 8.84 million in 2019 during the same period (March through October). Breaking down the data by month, most moves during the pandemic occurred in March, with 1.23 million people relocating compared to 1.00 million a year earlier.