Coronavirus Crisis Forced Millions to Move, Survey Finds

A man looks at signs outside of a store that is closing due to Covid-19 in Niles, Ill., on May 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

(CN) — The Covid-19 pandemic has created a variety of complications to everyday American life, including medical wellness, financial security and housing.

In a new analysis published Monday, the Pew Research Center said more than one in five respondents had to relocate because of the virus outbreak or knew someone who did.

In a survey of 9,654 Americans between June 4 and 10, researchers found that 22% of respondents “relocated, had someone move into their household or know someone else who moved” due to Covid-19, according to the analysis. In the overall average, 14% said they knew someone who moved, 6% said someone moved into their household and 3% said they moved.

However, the 3% average belied a significant difference when stratified by age, race and ethnicity. Nine percent of respondents between 18 and 29 years old said they moved, and the percentage decreased with age (3% for those between 30 and 45, 2% for those between 45 and 64 and 1% for those over 65.)

Similarly, minorities were more likely to have relocated during the pandemic than their white counterparts. Only 2% of white respondents indicated a move, whereas 4% of black respondents said the same. Hispanic and Asian respondents were even more likely to have moved at 6% and 7%, respectively.

This trend carried over into the other two categories. Younger respondents were twice as likely to take on a new resident during the pandemic at 10%, versus 5% for those between 30 and 64. Only 2% of respondents over 65 said the same. Though 5% of both black and white respondents claimed to have a new resident due to the pandemic, Hispanic and Asian respondents were nearly twice as likely to indicate a new addition to their household at 9% and 8%, respectively.

Twenty-two percent of respondents between 18 and 29 indicated that they knew someone who had to move due to the virus, which also decreased with age (15% for those between 30 and 45, 10% for those between 45 and 64 and 9% for those over 65). Broken down by race, Hispanic respondents were most likely to know someone who moved at 17%, followed by white respondents (14%) and black and Asian respondents (12%).  

Researchers also asked respondents to explain their reasoning for relocating, which helped illustrate why the pandemic is affecting housing for younger Americans more significantly. While a plurality of the 3% who moved (28%) said that they did so to reduce their risk of contracting the virus, the next highest reason given for moving was due to college campus closures (23%), forcing students out of their dormitories.

Twenty percent of those who relocated said that they moved to be with family, and 18% said that they had to relocate for financial reasons (8% were due to job losses, and 10% gave an unspecified financial reason).

Some open-ended answers also illustrated the nuances of relocating during the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, one respondent said they were traveling at the time restrictions were put in place and cannot return home. Another said they “needed more space to work from home.”

One respondent was recalled to active duty in the military, while another said, “I normally split my time between two locations. Now staying in one with less risk.”

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