South Dakota GOP Governor Kristi Noem’s rejection of instituting draconian “lockdowns” because of the coronavirus seems to be bearing fruit. In a survey conducted by United Van Lines in January that tracked customers’ 2020 state-to-state migration patterns, South Dakota ranked fourth in the nation, virtually tied for second behind the state of Idaho.
“Black Hills area realtors and builders say there’s an influx of people who are relocating permanently or buying land in the region — and the trend isn’t expected to slow anytime soon. Newcomers from California, Washington, New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Texas, Michigan, Colorado and Virginia along with Minnesota, North Dakota and Wyoming are leading the trend of relocating to South Dakota, local realtors say,” the Rapid City Journal reported.
Lori Barnett, owner and broker at VIP Properties’ Rapid City office, stated, “We had a strong market to start the 2020 year. However, after COVID-19 hit and cities and states across the country began to implement massive shutdowns, people in those areas started looking to less restrictive states. Gov. Kristi Noem has certainly taken the laissez faire approach in dealing with COVID-19, which has definitely drawn attention to our state and our area in particular. People tend to be searching for a place to have more autonomy, be less populated, great outdoor recreation, and not having a state income tax is definitely a plus.”
United Van Lines pointed out that fewer customers than in prior years cited a new job or transfer as their reason for moving. But a strong upward trend was found among those moving to be closer to their family, possibly because families have been constrained from traveling to see their families during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Idaho was the state with the highest percentage of inbound migration (70%) among states experiencing more than 250 moves* with United Van Lines for the second consecutive year. … Among the top inbound states were South Carolina (64%), Oregon (63%), South Dakota (62%) and Arizona (62%),” United Van Lines noted.
In a significant indication that people are fleeing the lockdowns implemented in leading Democrat-run states, New Jersey was atop the rankings of locations people fled from, at 70%, followed by New York (67%), Illinois (67%), Connecticut (63%) and California (59%).
“Data from March to October 2020 also revealed the COVID-19 pandemic influenced Americans’ decisions to move,” United Van Lines noted. “For customers who cited COVID-19 as an influence on their move in 2020, the top reasons associated with COVID-19 were concerns for personal and family health and wellbeing (60%); desires to be closer to family (59%); 57% moved due to changes in employment status or work arrangement (including the ability to work remotely); and 53% desired a lifestyle change or improvement of quality of life.”
Michael A. Stoll, economist and professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles stated, “We’re seeing that the COVID-19 pandemic has without a doubt accelerated broader moving trends, including retirement driving top inbound regions as the Baby Boomer generation continues to reach that next phase of life.”