Will Virus Aftermath Cause A Population Shift From Urban To Rural?

  
By:  john-russell  •  2 weeks ago  •  19 comments

Will Virus Aftermath Cause A Population Shift From Urban To Rural?
“At some point [hopefully soon], the lockdown will end [and] people may end up with more say over where they live than ever before, as companies consciously choose to maintain low overhead, canceling real estate leases and favoring the lower overhead cost of virtual teams. In this new normal, where will people buy one-way tickets from … and to?”


The basis for this belief is that as the ease of "working at home" , or remotely, accelerates more and more people will wish to live away from the troubles of city life. In this instance the main trouble being the higher infection rates in a big city compared to a rural area. 

Will such a thing cause people to move away from metropolitan area to smaller towns?  It sounds pretty plausible especially if half the workforce will be allowed to work from home, which has been predicted for the near future. 

Of course, such people who move will give up easy access to excellent restaurants , nightclubs, museums, cultural events, and high level sports events.

The following is from a longer article on Illinois politics, but I think what is described here would apply to many states with very large cities. 


Watch for a population shift after the worst of the pandemic passes Illinois. Residents eager to leave the petri dish of the big city may leave for rural communities as more companies allow for remote work.





“I do think there’s a trend in the direction,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Thursday when asked if Covid-19 will send city folks fleeing to the country. But the state’s big investment in broadband internet, he argued, would play a bigger role than the pandemic.

Illinois, which has already seen population declines in recent years as birth rates and immigration have dipped, is likely to drop further post-Covid-19. “It’s just a matter of how much,” says Northwestern University sociology professor Christine Percheski, who studies demographics. She told Playbook the decline will be fueled by a combination of mortality rates rising, fertility rates falling and immigration grinding to a halt.

The nation has already seen more than 86,000 deaths due to the coronavirus, and Illinois is expected to surpass 4,000 total deaths today — and we’ve still got months to go to get through this thing.

Immigration, which has shaped Chicago, has all but ended as countries have closed their borders due to the pandemic and many are repatriating themselves. “Chinese have returned to China, Americans to America. Trump is signing an executive order to ban almost all immigration,” notes  a story about global migration amid Covid-19 in POLITICO Magazine . “At some point [hopefully soon], the lockdown will end [and] people may end up with more say over where they live than ever before, as companies consciously choose to maintain low overhead, canceling real estate leases and favoring the lower overhead cost of virtual teams. In this new normal, where will people buy one-way tickets from … and to?”

On the fertility front, Percheski expects births to decline starting in January. “This is not a snowstorm. It’s a huge public health crisis and a period of great uncertainty with high unemployment. Historically, those conditions mean there’s a big drop in birth rates,” she told Playbook.

It’s not just a case of being fearful about the future. Social distancing has kept many single folks and teens (who contribute to those fertility numbers) apart from each other.

Speaking of young adults, it’s likely that more of them — recent college graduates or single people working in restaurants and retail businesses — will return to live with their parents out of state until they get on their feet.

Separate from population decline will be a population shift as city folks decide they want to leave urban life for the country, Percheski said. “We’ll see people in Chicago move to more rural and less expensive parts of the country or places less crowded and where the pandemic is spreading less quickly.”

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/illinois-playbook/2020/05/15/a-population-pivot-pritzker-v-gops-brady-lightfoots-helluva-first-year-blago-raw-489235


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JohnRussell
1  author  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

I think there may be something to this, although I dont think it will be as dramatic as this article seems to suggest. 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @1    2 weeks ago

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
2  FLYNAVY1    2 weeks ago

I'm going to say that while there might be those that are wanting to, the way out is not going to be easy if not impossible.

Urban/suburban sprawl is what we got the last time that people migrated out of the cities.  I believe that with the upcoming financial hardships, the move out of the cities is going to become very difficult for those with minimal or no income, and without skills that allow them to work from home over the intranet.  They are going to become financially trapped to stay in the cities. 

Back when America had a large involvement in an agrarian society, it made sense to stay on the farm.  Today, I think it is less that 1% of our population feeds the rest of us given the level of machine power in our agricultural industry.  There won't be any jobs to support their move out of the city.  We may see some move back towards "nuclear families" that include aunts and uncles living with other family members.  But that's about it.

 
 
 
It Is ME
3  It Is ME    2 weeks ago

"Will such a thing cause people to move away from metropolitan area to smaller towns?"

God....I hope not !

Don't need Sodosopa coming to me. So much for the " Small Town " if it does !

 
 
 
Kavika
4  Kavika     2 weeks ago

Having lived in both urban and rural environments I found both had the advantages. IMO, the very serious problem with rural living is access to good medical care. There is a health crisis in rural America currently with rural hospitals closing regularly. The shortage of doctors and health care workers are an additional burden. 

For an aging America, this is a very serious problem. The COVID19 is making all it worse. 

I currently live in a city of 60,000 which has excellent medical facilities and is surrounded by outstanding facilities fairly close by. The Univ of Florida medical center and the Mayo Clinic. 

The arts and restaurants here are first class. I attribute this to a large senior population and a city government that has us in mind and is progressive (not in the political sense) in maintaining this.

 

 
 
 
evilgenius
5  evilgenius    2 weeks ago

There may be some of this, but it's not going to be a statistical sizable shift. If we can bring back more small manufacturing perhaps small towns may see a resurgence. I think that would be a good thing in many ways. Hmmmm... I wonder how rural/small town Trump Humpers would feel about a liberal migration into their traditional strongholds?

 
 
 
Dean Moriarty
5.1  Dean Moriarty  replied to  evilgenius @5    2 weeks ago

Yeah I hope they stay in liberal strongholds like Detroit. 

 
 
 
Heartland American
5.1.1  Heartland American  replied to  Dean Moriarty @5.1    2 weeks ago

Most will.  The poor who can’t afford to leave their job and environment will stay.  The super rich will stay who value the big city connections will likely stay, and the politically left upper middle class that gentrify city neighborhoods will remain due to the education, culture, medical etc mentioned before.  Middle class people who can find jobs in an exurban or rural area or take those jobs from the city and do them at home will be doing the move as suggested. Many rural areas are within reasonable driving distances of a large city so the entertainment, Sports, more rare medical specialists, museums, etc may be just a 2-4 hour drive away from the quieter safer place.  Many states without a super large city have college towns that can provide culture, Art, entertainment, sports, medical facilities without the drawbacks of a huge city.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
6  Trout Giggles    2 weeks ago

I like my small town of approx 30,000. We don't have great places to eat but it's not that far to decent restaurants. I don't go out much anyway so I don't care about nightlife.

I would welcome liberal neighbors. Maybe we can shake up this town and this state

 
 
 
Transyferous Rex
6.1  Transyferous Rex  replied to  Trout Giggles @6    2 weeks ago

30K population, and a limited selection for dining out? 

Recently moved to a small community, and that's one of the only issues. Only so many times you can eat at Ma and Pa's diner, before it gets old. Not a big deal. Some of my favorite spots are actually, as far as the watch is concerned, a shorter drive for me now. 

I don't miss the morning and evening commutes. Although, my singing voice has suffered a bit, since I'm no longer on the road for so long.

 
 
 
XDm9mm
6.1.1  XDm9mm  replied to  Transyferous Rex @6.1    2 weeks ago
I don't miss the morning and evening commutes.

When I left NY, my "commutes" generally took about 1 1/4 hrs in the morning and about two going home.   I could get to my folks house on non-holiday weekends, in about 45 minutes which was only about 5 minutes from where I worked.  TRAFFIC SUCKED.

But, I always admit that there are a few things I always have and always will miss about NY.  Bakeries, GOOD pizza, deli's and GOOD Chinese food!  The taxes and congestion, meh!

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
6.1.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  Transyferous Rex @6.1    2 weeks ago

We might be a bit under 30K but not much. We have maybe 10 or so restaurants that you can actually go sit down in and order a meal, but probably half of those are pizza places. Then we have the requisite fast food places. We have plenty of hair and nails salons and tattoo places. We have 3 grocery stores and a couple of small boutique type places. But we need a Joe's Crab Shack and that ain't never gonna happen

I have about a 30 mile commute one way every day. I would prefer to make that commute maybe 2 days a week then spend the rest of it working at home, but I can't.

 
 
 
Transyferous Rex
6.1.3  Transyferous Rex  replied to  XDm9mm @6.1.1    2 weeks ago
When I left NY, my "commutes" generally took about 1 1/4 hrs in the morning and about two going home. 

Yep. I could leave early in the morning, and beat some of the rush. In the evening? Didn't seem to make a difference, unless I left way too early or a helluva lot later than I wanted to.

Biggest gripe. The jack wagon pulling people over in the construction zone. Camp out somewhere else. The guy you pulled over was breaking the law before the construction zone, trust me. Now you've created a cluster by stopping the guy right at the spot we go from 3 lanes to 1. Genius.

 
 
 
Transyferous Rex
6.1.4  Transyferous Rex  replied to  Trout Giggles @6.1.2    2 weeks ago

We used to have so many options, it would make the head spin, and we'd end up going to the same joint. Now we don't have any options, or many, and we end up going to the same joint. The only difference now is, I don't have to listen to a huge debate for thirty minutes, only to wind up at the usual spot. Now, we just go.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
6.1.5  Trout Giggles  replied to  Transyferous Rex @6.1.4    2 weeks ago

Ah....the debate. I've been missing it since the shutdown. We would go out on Friday night and meet some place after work. He would ask me where I want to go and if I was being ornery I'd tell him I picked last week (he wouldn't remember anyway).

 
 
 
XDm9mm
6.1.6  XDm9mm  replied to  Transyferous Rex @6.1.3    2 weeks ago
Didn't seem to make a difference, unless I left way too early or a helluva lot later than I wanted to.

Unless of course it started to rain or SNOW.....   then the world was coming to an end and all hell broke loose.  I'm convinced that they intentionally left the asylum doors open at those times.

 
 
 
Transyferous Rex
6.1.7  Transyferous Rex  replied to  Trout Giggles @6.1.5    2 weeks ago

I'd call it a debate, but it is much more of a ritual at my house. Thankfully, I have a teenager now, so my wife's stated position of "I'll eat anywhere" gets put to the test now. Up to now, she'd eat anywhere, as long as its here.

 
 
 
Transyferous Rex
6.1.8  Transyferous Rex  replied to  XDm9mm @6.1.6    2 weeks ago

We don't get snow often, we get ice. We have two types of drivers on ice, and both fall into the general category of having no business driving on ice. Overly cautious and overly confident. Get those groups on the highway at the same time, and its a bad combo. 

I wish I would have saved the pic. Merging onto another highway one morning, single lane ramp, car in front of me is not paying attention, and rear ends the car ahead of him. Locks down traffic. After about 45 minutes, FD shows up, tends to the occupants, then mills around for another 20. Finally, one of them gets the bright idea of moving vehicles so we, that are stuck on the ramp, can go on our way. I have a nice pic and some video of the fire and rescue guys attempting to push the vehicle in front of me up the ramp. For 30 minutes they try. Finally, the driver, after watching these idiots for 30 minutes, jumps in the driver seat, starts it up, and pulls it out of the ramp. FML. I'm glad nobody was seriously hurt, but damn.

 
 
 
Heartland American
7  Heartland American    2 weeks ago

I prefer the less crowded rural life.  A small city surrounded by rural for over 60 miles in every direction and then after a similar sized town more of the same.  That’s to the south and 120-200 miles in any other direction.  When there is nothing else for 60-200 miles a city like mine with a 90,000 population attracts more businesses and stores, restaurants, etc than average because it is the big draw for rural farms, dances, tiny towns for 40 miles or more in every direction. So we have good medical and legal, culture, Art, great schools and parks, lots of restaurants, and great tourist attractions. Here rush hour ads 5-10 minutes max to getting to and from work.  And if we want something only a big city can offer like pro sports, Sacramento is just over 2 hours away and Oakland/San Francisco is 3 1/2 hours away. 

 
 
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