Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

During the early days of the pandemic, there were anecdotal reports of moving trucks lining the streets of Los Angeles. Whether due to financial reasons or health concerns, droves of Angelenos opted to pack up and leave the city — moving in with relatives, heading to less-densely populated areas, or relocating to more affordable rental markets. 

Now there’s data to support what many here in Los Angeles already knew: 26,438 people moved out of the city between February and July 2020.

Using change-of-address (COA) requests from the United States Postal Service, affiliate media company MyMove conducted an analysis of nationwide moving trends during the pandemic. According to their rankings, Los Angeles was 2020’s fifth most moved-out-of city in the United States.

Los Angeles has been losing more residents than it attracts since 2017, thanks in large part to the high cost of living and ongoing housing crisis. However, compared to the 13,474 outbound movers recorded in 2019, LA has seen a 96 percent rise in the number of residents fleeing the city either permanently or temporarily.

Not all former City of Los Angeles residents left the county entirely. A migration map shows that suburban neighborhoods like Sherman Oaks, Pasadena and Long Beach were popular local destinations.

Six of the cities that have gained residents during the pandemic are located in Texas. The Lone Star state’s population has grown steadily over the last ten years, led by California expats in search of cheaper housing and job opportunities.

The Houston-area suburbs of Katy, Richmond and Cypress all recorded significant net increases, as did the Austin suburbs of Georgetown and Leander. The City of Frisco, located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, also made the list, welcoming 2,147 new residents.

The full scope of the pandemic’s impact on outmigration from Los Angeles remains to be seen. With the proliferation of remote work, we may experience more suburban sprawl than an all-out exodus.

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