Urban Flight Seeded the COVID-19 Pandemic Across the United States
38 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2020
Date Written: October 14, 2020
We document large-scale urban flight in the United States in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Populations that flee are disproportionately younger, whiter, and wealthier. Regions that saw migrant influx experience greater subsequent COVID-19 case growth, suggesting that urban flight was a vector of disease spread. Urban residents fled to socially connected areas, consistent with the notion that individuals were sheltering with friends and family or in second homes. The association of migration and subsequent case growth persists when instrumenting for migration with social networks, pointing to a causal association.
Note: Funding: None to declare.
Declaration of Interests: None to declare.
Keywords: Migration, COVID-19, Contagion
JEL Classification: I140, J610, R410
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation