Americans Are Fleeing Lockdowns, When They Can Afford It

Americans Are Fleeing Lockdowns, When They Can Afford It by Jeffrey A. Tucker for American Institute for Economic Research

For nearly a year, governments have been instructing people to stay put. Don’t leave your home unless you have to. Forget about organizing or attending events. Weddings and funerals are too great a risk for spreading disease. And so on it goes.

But not everywhere is this the case. Many states are open, some are still shut, and many others fall somewhere in between. In some places in the United States, life feels almost normal.

Might we predict a shift in population from lockdown states to open states? According to North American Moving Services, Americans are still on the move at high rates that compare with 2019, despite or maybe because of all the edicts.

Consider the top five cities that people are leaving: New York, New York; Anaheim, California; San Diego, California; Chicago, Illinois; and Riverside, California. All five of those cities remain even to this day in stringent lockdowns. Indoor dining in California is not permitted, and will only be permitted in Chicago starting next week. New York is still in lockdown, despite Andrew Cuomo’s call for the city to be reopened.

And where are people moving to? The top five destinations are: Phoenix, Arizona; Houston, Texas; Dallas, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Denver, Colorado. Georgia was the first state to reopen following the panicked lockdowns of March 2020. Arizona and Texas opened in July.

The point is even clearer when you consider the states gaining and losing residents. Illinois, New York, and New Jersey – all with extreme stringencies – are losing residents faster than any other states. Northeastern states make up four out of the seven states, with California now fourth on the list. They are moving to Idaho, Arizona, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Here is what the coming/going map looks like.

These population shifts have contributed to a dramatic spike in single-family home construction.In addition, a Gallup survey reports that “nearly half of all U.S. adults said they’d prefer to live in a small town or rural area in 2020. That’s a nine percentage-point increase from 2018, when just 39 percent of respondents said the same.” Which is to say we might only have begun to see these shifts, as people lose confidence in mayors and governors that thought so little of their people’s lives and liberties as to treat them like nonvolitional players in an agent-based model.

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