How many people are actually fleeing to the suburbs permanently?

 

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You’ve seen the headlines: “Coronavirus Escape: To the Suburbs” in the New York Times, “Coronavirus: Americans flee cities for the suburbs” in USA Today, “Will the Coronavirus Make the Suburbs Popular Again?” in Architectural Digest.

The coronavirus pandemic’s stay-at-home orders have residents of dense urban areas like New York City pondering a permanent move to somewhere more spread-out for obvious reasons: more space, more land, lower prices.

Mulling the decision to leave New York has almost reached cliche status (there’s even a Leaving New York” essay genre, as the Times notes points out).

As more New Yorkers leave, it invites near-constant speculation about a “mass exodus” out of cities. But are the folks skipping town getting outsized attention? Are there really that many people moving away—for good?

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