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New research shows where people moved during the coronavirus pandemic

Nashville Skyline
Posted at 6:40 AM, May 11, 2021

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — During the COVID-19 pandemic, the trend of people moving from out of state to Middle Tennessee continued.

"It's just all growing," Vanderbilt University researcher Peter Haslag said with a laugh. But he added that new data shows where exactly that growth is happening.

Haslag and other researchers looked at numbers from moving companies, and he said the data showed that people moving from bigger cities like New York or San Francisco often opted for areas outside of Davidson County.

"Even within the moving to Nashville they're choosing to locate more on the outskirts," he said.

Haslag said Williamson County was ranked seventh in inflow; five spots ahead of Davidson County, which still cracked the top 15 at No. 12.

"People are flocking to these mid-sized cities, and then they're choosing to locate more outside the urban center," Haslag explained.

He said one of the main causes is people's ability to work remotely during the pandemic, something he says is an indication the trend will continue.

"The fact that we're seeing people actually state that they're moving for remote work reasons says something about their expectations about the future," he said.

Researchers say the data can be used to help state and local leaders plan where - and how much - to grow.

"We're seeing growth here both in the urban core as well as outside, but it's likely that we're going to see some companies move or at least have satellite offices in some of these suburbs, so people will be even more willing to live out there," Haslag said.