Americans flee NY, California, Illinois to Arizona, Idaho and Sun Belt

The blue state exodus: How Americans fled cities in New York and California for Republican states of Arizona, Idaho and the Sun Belt to escape lockdowns and crime

  • People fled New York, Illinois and California for Texas, Idaho, Arizona and The Carolinas according to data from moving company North American Van Lines 
  • The states of Florida, Texas, and Colorado also saw a greater influx of movers
  • Despite the pandemic the company claim people continued to move at rates that were comparable to 2019 
  • The data showed that states that have much less densely populated areas were a big draw for people looking to relocate amid the COVID-19 pandemic 
  • The move away from the likes of New York was driven, in part, by an increased fear of living in densely populated cities and rising crime amid the pandemic 

The pandemic saw people leave Democratic blue states in droves and head towards sunnier climes in the red states of the south to escape the strict lockdowns and spiraling crime.

A migration report from moving company North American Moving Services found those living in the states of New York, California, Illinois, New Jersey and Maryland headed for Arizona, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Idaho. 

Four of the top seven states people were fleeing were located in the Northeast where the pandemic stuck first.

Out of the moves conducted in Illinois, almost 70% were people moving out of the state.      

People fled New York, Illinois and California for Texas, Idaho, Arizona and The Carolinas according to data from moving company North American Van Lines

Cities in Texas, Arizona and Denver were popular places to move to while the cities of New York, Chicago, San Diego and Anaheim in California saw the most departures

The company say Phoenix, Houston and Dallas were the top three cities welcoming new residents while New York City, Anaheim and San Diego in California saw the highest numbers of people leave.

The move away from the likes of New York was driven, in part, by an increased fear of living in densely populated cities amid the pandemic. 

In addition to grappling COVID-19, New York City in particular has also struggled with escalating crime and homelessness in recent months.  

Police say crime has spiked in Manhattan after hundreds of homeless were rehoused there because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the first five months of 2021, the total number of major crimes measured by the police department has been at its lowest level since comparable statistics became available in the 1990s

The move away from the likes of New York was driven, in part, by an increased fear of living in densely populated cities and rising crime amid the pandemic

On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday downplayed the violence and chaos that has been occurring in recent weeks that has seen people partying until the early hours of the morning. 

Elsewhere across the country this weekend, one of 14 people shot in a mass shooting in Austin has since died of their injuries; one man was killed and seven injured in a drive-by shooting in Savannah; three men were killed in Cleveland; and a woman was gunned down in Chicago.

Murders are also currently up 60 percent in Atlanta compared to last year.

Police fear the explosion of shootings and violent crimes in recent months is a long term trend rather than just a blip.

In Austin, 25 year-old IT worker Douglas John Kantor died in hospital on Sunday after he was one of 14 people shot at random on a street packed with bars hours earlier.

Kantor, who was a tourist from New York, was shot through the abdomen when shots rang out at about 1.30am on Saturday in the Sixth Street area when two men opened fire on each other.

Aside from crimeresearchers also found among the reasons people were picking up and heading to the Sun Belt states were job availability, the cost of living and harsh winters. 

NEW YORK: The move away from the likes of New York was driven, in part, by an increased fear of living in densely populated cities and rising crime amid the pandemic

‘Northeastern states make up four out of the seven states with the most outbound moves, and none of them make the top eight for inbound moves. New York led the way, followed by New Jersey and Maryland. But California edged out Maryland for fourth place on the outbound list,’ the NAMS report concluded. 

‘Pennsylvania and Michigan also made the list, and both states have made the top 10 fairly consistently for the past few years. Maryland has made the list for outbound moves since 2015, and it has ranked between second and fifth places. In 2020, it took fifth place.’ 

The moving company data showed that states that have much less densely populated areas were a big draw card for people looking to relocate amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Rising homelessness and a fear of living in large cities were part of the draw to leave. Picture,A homeless encampment along an Upper West Side side walk is seen above, pictured last year

MIAMI: While many Americans opted for the more rural states, those in New York and New Jersey moved to Sunbelt states like Tennessee, The Carolinas and Florida, data shows

IDAHO: Idaho was a popular choie for relovation thanks to wide open spaces and cheaper property prices. Pictured, Boise cityscape at night

While many Americans opted for the more rural states, those in New York and New Jersey moved to Sunbelt states like Tennessee and The Carolinas, the data shows. 

‘States in the south consistently rank well in the list of inbound moves. On average, states throughout the southeast, south and southwest continue to see their populations grow as more individuals relocate there than leave the region. Arizona and South Carolina have been in the top five inbound states since 2015,’ according to the report. 

‘Meanwhile, North Carolina and Tennessee have always been on the list but reached the top five in 2016. While Tennessee usually sat in fifth place or so, it is now in third place for inbound moves. Florida and Texas have also been in the top 12 since the first report in 2015.’ 

States in the south have experienced job growth due to companies relocating to or opening branches in the area. While the pandemic has changed things, there are still plenty of jobs in the south.

NEW YORK: Moving vehicles were a common sight lining the streets of New York City together with and discarded furniture stacked on the sidewalk left by residents seeking pastures new. Pictured last summer

Southern states like Texas, Florida, and Tennessee don’t have a state income tax. Arizona and the Carolinas have a state income tax, but rates are relatively low, not surpassing seven percent. 

Of all Western states, only California has consistently ranked in the top 10 for outbound moves since 2015. 

The percentage has fluctuated over time, but enough people continue to leave to make it stand out. California’s high cost of living could be the reason for so many outbound moves, along with a lack of affordable housing in some cities. 

Data also reveals people moved to houses which were $27,000 more affordable on average, and also 33-square feet larger. 

Data seen by Zillow saw many people move to the suburbs – a trend that was exacerbated by the pandemic after living close to an office was no longer a motivating factor in location choice.

The majority of those who have relocated came from densely populated cities in search of greener, sparser or more remote pastures. 

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