Mar 17, 2021 - News
Where new Iowans have moved from during the pandemic
Data: USPS; Chart: Axios Visuals

The "Yay, Iowa!" narrative going around is that people are moving here from larger cities because they can work remotely due to COVID-19. Ask any chamber of commerce and they'll tell you that people always wanted our low cost of living this whole time.

The big news: Despite a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic that changed how we live, migration patterns didn't change all that much, said Liesl Eathington, a researcher at Iowa State.

  • Illinois topped our list, but that's typical thanks to population and proximity — as well as industry similarities and family ties.
  • Nebraska is perennially there for many of the same reasons.
  • Florida and Texas are also typically near the top, thanks to their large populations.

The outlier: Arizona, leading Eathington to question how many snowbirds had Iowa ties.

The flip side: Iowans have historically moved to these states at high rates as well.

The big picture: It's too early to tell if work-from-home is encouraging people to migrate out of big cities. People aren't jumping ship that quickly, despite a lot of headlines to that effect.

  • "It's not really a thing yet," Eathington said.

This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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