Southern Covid

by AINSLEY LAWRENCE

If you’re reading this, you already know the South is the best place to live. So, it’s no wonder more people are flocking this way, right? In fact, moving trends were heading south (literally) even more when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

People have been moving to Southern states for a variety of reasons, including more affordable housing, better job opportunities, and lower costs of living. Plus, some people don’t want to deal with harsh winters and other unpredictable weather patterns.

But, COVID-19 created an even bigger push in people wanting to move. According to MyMove, 15.9 percent of people moved as a result of the Coronavirus. The South has taken the brunt of that population shift throughout the pandemic. Southern states have become so popular for living that 8 out of the top 10 cities that received the most growth in the U.S. were Southern locations.

Why did people migrate so quickly and in such large numbers to the South? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons, and how the South is coping with the population boost.

What People Moving Need To Know

If you’re considering a move down south, it’s important to educate yourself on how the area is already dealing with a population boom. But, it’s just as crucial to know what to expect as you plan a move.

First, location matters. Every Southern state has something different to offer. You’re not going to get the same experience in Texas as you will in Alabama. Consider what’s most important to you and your lifestyle and where you might have better job opportunities.

It’s also good to know that many Southern homes are historic. While that makes them beautiful, timeless treasures, some houses also have hazardous risks, including asbestos and foundational issues. Unless you plan ahead and can be assured the home you’re looking at is safe, it might be a good idea to continue your hunt.

Finally, make sure you know how your move might impact your life on a long-term basis. The South is incredible, but it can take some getting used to. If you’re ready to be a real-life Southerner, let’s talk about what your move (and thousands of others like you) will mean for the area.

What Will An Increased Population Mean For The South?

A sudden population boost isn’t necessarily a bad thing when the area is prepared for it. Obviously, no one could have been fully prepared for the effects of the pandemic. But, most Southern states haven’t had to make many changes to adapt to the growing population. People migrated to the South for, in many cases, the experience of living in smaller communities. The benefits of that include:

  • Lower cost of living
  • Lower insurance rates
  • More scenic views
  • Better security
  • Stronger sense of community

 

But, a sudden rise in population can threaten some of those benefits. The more people there are in one condensed location, the higher the cost of living can become. What many people were trying to get away from in bigger cities could come to the south if local governments aren’t careful to monitor trends and changes.

Another potential “pro” to more people moving down south is more power for the southern region of the country. That’s especially true when it comes to a political voice. If there are more people in the south than other parts of the country, the region could have more of a political influence on local and national elections than ever.

Is the Sudden Population Growth A Good Thing?

As with anything else, this sudden change in population has its positives and negatives for the South as a whole. Some of the pros include:

  • A boosted economy
  • More workers
  • A revitalized sense of community in smaller towns
  • Stronger school districts with more children

Many people have been able to move to the South during the pandemic because they made the switch to remote work. Even if someone is working from home and living in a Southern state, they’ll put their money back into the Southern economy while their employer is responsible for many of their remote work expenses. It’s a great way for different states to see a financial boost even when the job market seems a bit unstable.

Some of the potential drawbacks of this sudden growth can include property shortages and even unemployment issues. While people moved away from larger cities to reduce their job competition, many Southern communities can’t compete with the number of jobs offered, forcing some newcomers looking for a job to be patient.

Whether it’s affordability, a laid-back lifestyle, warmer weather, or just a desire to get out of crowded cities, this Southern moving trend will likely continue into a post-pandemic society. It will be interesting to see how southern states continue to respond, and how these population shifts will impact the economy and overall quality of life for those who live Down South and plan to stay.

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