COVID’s Impact on City and Regional Moving Trends

ST. LOUIS – Oct. 29, 2020 – United Van Lines, the nation’s largest household goods mover, and Webster Pacific, a research firm based out of San Francisco and Chicago, today released a new city-specific and regional report depicting the impact COVID-19 has had on consumer moving patterns.

Using United Van Lines data, Webster Pacific studied moves by zip code and metro area over a two-year period across the contiguous United States. The research finds COVID-19 has caused people to move out of the largest metro areas, favoring smaller ones. Additionally, people are moving out of New York/New Jersey and California at higher rates since the pandemic began and moving into the South and the Midwest Plains.  

Findings on Moves by Metro Area for the Top 50 by Population

Where people are moving from:

Top three metro areas by % outbound May to September 2020

  • New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
  • Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
  • Buffalo-Cheektowaga, NY

Where people are moving to:

Top three metro areas by % inbound May to September 2020

  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Raleigh-Cary, NC
  • Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC

How COVID-19 has changed where people are moving:

Top three metro areas by increase in % outbound 2019 to 2020

  • San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA
  • Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
  • New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

Top three metro areas by decrease in % outbound 2019 to 2020

  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN
  • Richmond, VA

Download the full six-page report, which includes the complete list of top 50 U.S. cities (by population), for additional information.

United Van Lines released a report on October 6 illustrating customer moving motivations during the pandemic. To learn more about those findings or to view the full report, download the press kit on United Van Lines website. The full yearly United Van Lines migration study will be available on January 4.


About United Van Lines

United Van Lines is able to offer a full range of moving solutions. With headquarters in suburban St. Louis, United Van Lines maintains a network of 300 affiliated agencies. United Van Lines is America’s #1 Mover®.

About Webster Pacific

Webster Pacific is a strategy consultancy that helps clients make better decisions through the power of data. Website Pacific’s San Francisco-based team serves clients in the real estate, education and retail industries. For more information about Webster Pacific, visit