What developed this year is a cascade of residents leaving large cities in blue states. Among the biggest losers this year, in terms of total population loss, were New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and the District of Columbia. New York lost at least 300,000 residents this year. San Francisco saw 90,000 postal changes of address out of the city, while its median apartment rent took a nosedive of 20 percent in 2020. Los Angeles recorded more than 25,000 moves out of the city, while Chicago logged over 20,000. Even the District of Columbia lost 15,000 residents. Other cities that had sustained growth in the last decade also face severe drops in interest.
Residents who fled large cities in blue states overwhelmingly relocated to red-state cities, mostly in the Sun Belt or the West outside of California. Phoenix, already booming before the coronavirus, retained its spot as the fastest growing city in the country; its metro population now displaces Boston. The other overall winners in the demographic game this year are Nashville, where home prices continue to surge while real estate inventory is down 40 percent; Las Vegas, which tempted Bay Area techies to follow the Raiders to Sin City; Charlotte, which now has a larger population than San Francisco; and the greater Charleston area, which is likely the home of Boeing’s next expansion and has benefitted from manufacturing jobs moving south.
The pandemic brought nightlife and culture to a near halt, and for many there is little desire to stay in a city that lost 1,000 restaurants and counting. Combine these factors with a plethora of new taxes and regulatory schemes that soak middle- and high-income earners, and it’s obvious why the former titans of population growth seem to have feet of clay. The decline of liberal cities in blue states during a crisis is perhaps the clearest judgment on a raft of poor tax and regulatory policies. It will also accelerate the demographic shift changing the political calculus in traditionally red states, as seen in Georgia and Arizona in the presidential race.
Read more: https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/530040-is-this-the-end-of-cities-in-america
There does appear to be a Coronavirus driven exodus from big cities in Australia. In Australia there was a very stark difference in the risk of contracting Covid-19, between big cities and mid-size cities. While people in big Aussie cities like Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane endured long lockdowns and soaring infection rates, sun drenched regional centres like the Fraser Coast where I live were barely touched by the epidemic.
The difference in Covid risk between big cities and mid-size cities does not appear to be as significant in the USA. Your risk of catching Coronavirus in Nashville, one of the big winners of the exodus, does not seem that different to the risk of catching Coronavirus anywhere else.
So I suspect factors other than the health risk of contracting Coronavirus are driving the exodus from iconic big US cities.