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Pandemic Uproots Millions, Especially Young Adults, Survey Finds

A close-up image of a Uhaul moving truck.
Joey Rozier
Creative Commons

Millions of Americans have been relocated due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a recent survey from the Pew Research Center.

The survey, conducted in early June, shows that 22% of Americans either have moved or know someone who has because of the pandemic. That translates to more than 72 million people.

D'Vera Cohn, who authored a report about the survey's findings, said young adults have been most affected, partly due to college campuses closing.

"In all, 37% of young adults – that is those younger than 30 – either moved or know someone who did for reasons related to the coronavirus outbreak," Cohn said.

The most important reason for moving, the survey found, was to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.

"Among all people who moved, we asked them why – 'What was the most important reason?' And nearly 3 in 10 told us that the most important reason was to reduce their risk of contracting the coronavirus," Cohn said.

About 20% of respondents who were impacted said they relocated to be with family, while 18% said they did so for financial reasons.

Cohn said the next step is to see whether these people stay where they are once the pandemic subsides.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Noah Glick is a former content director and host at KUNR Public Radio.
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