Stats Show Workers Are Fleeing Large Cities – Is Remote Work a Factor?
In the past, workers looking for employment opportunities and well-paying jobs flocked to urban areas to increase their prospects. Thanks in part to telecommuting, however, attractive options now exist far beyond the city limits.
Many of those seeking greener pastures are millennials—the largest generation in the workforce. Statistics show that large U.S. cities lost nearly 30,000 millennial residents in 2018, the fourth consecutive year their population of young adults declined.
What’s behind the exodus? Here’s a look at why millennials and others are swapping their downtown digs for suburbs and smaller cities.
Big cities require big bucks. Rent for an apartment in Manhattan averages a whopping $4,888 a month, and grocery shopping is almost 40% higher than the U.S. norm. Longing for a house of your own? Settling in San Francisco proves difficult for many when the average selling price stands at about $1.4 million.
The convenience of being close to their workplace makes many people grin and bear the costs (and take on unnecessary financial burdens). But with so many positions able to be performed remotely, modern workers find themselves rethinking the situation.
“I used to live in NYC but moved to Hudson Valley in Upstate New York late last year to work remotely,” says Nataliya Ogle. “My husband travels a lot for work, and we found paying for an apartment was a big expense when both of us didn’t have to be in the city full time. Luckily, I’m a freelance editor for women’s lifestyle sites and I run my own site (Style Tomes), which means I can work from anywhere.”
There’s More Space
When the number of residents in a city is high, personal space tends to be low. Take Washington, D.C., for instance. While the population density for the U.S. as a whole comes in at 93 residents per square mile, the figure for that city stands at 11,570 (not even including the commuters who travel in from Virginia and Maryland during the workweek). Going out involves crowds, long lines, and consistent hustle and bustle. Smaller cities and suburbs appeal to people seeking greater tranquility, more room for their housing dollar, or simply a backyard to call their own.
“My previous building had more residents than the village I currently live in,” says city fleer Dennis Shirshikov, a financial analyst for FitSmallBusiness.com. “Affordability was a major deciding factor, as well as the need for more fresh air, space for kids and pets, and to accommodate a growing family. The pace of life, lack of traffic, and general lack of stress is absolutely amazing. My job is entirely remote, which means that my income is not tied to a geographic location. This gives me an incredible amount of freedom and allows me to move wherever I can stretch my dollar the furthest.”
When you have a job that can be performed elsewhere, why not think about how to arrange things in the most satisfying manner? While some people thrive on city life, others seek happiness in other places.
“My husband and I didn’t grow up in a city and didn’t care too much for how crowded it was,” says former San Antonio resident Catherine Way, marketing manager at Prime Plus Mortgages. “We wanted to move back to Michigan since that was where we both grew up. Thankfully because of my remote work, where I was working didn’t make much of a difference. I was able to support our family throughout the move, job hunting process for my husband, and when we closed on our home.”
The Future of Big Cities and Remote Work
Whether or not people will continue fleeing big cities in the years ahead remains to be seen. As millennials continue to age, however, odds seem likely that many will consider alternatives to city living to accommodate growing families and changing priorities.
Likewise, telecommuting should continue to allow more people the freedom to work from destinations outside of urban areas. Remote work has grown 91% over the last 10 years, and technological advances and mainstream acceptance look to keep figures strong in the new decade.
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By Beth Braccio Hering | February 6, 2020 | Categories: Work Remotely