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More Americans Turning Toward Rural Residential Living

The desire for a rural exodus is getting stronger.

Whether it stems from the ongoing COVID-19 [1] global pandemic or just a desire to return to a slower, small-town lifestyle, a recent Gallup poll [2], taken December 1-17, 2020, showed that 48% of Americans now prefer to live in a town or rural area, up from 39% in 2018. These results are similar to those found in a comparable Gallup poll taken following the events of 9/11, so it’s likely COVID-19 is playing a role in the desire to move away from more crowded urban and suburban areas into outlying towns.

While the rural desire is strong, it’s different for city dwellers, who seem fairly happy remaining in their urban space. They showed a penchant for wanting to stay in more urban areas with a result of 27% as compared to their 29% 2018 response.

Among those living in suburban areas, 6% surveyed said they would prefer relocating to either the city or a rural area.

The demographic breakdown of Americans leaning toward a preference for residential living show equal proportions of women and men. However, non-Whites, Republicans, and southern residents showed a 12- to 13-point increase in their desire for a rural residence. Those living on the East Coast and middle-aged adults did not prove as enthusiastic about the small-town atmosphere, up only five points each.

According to that 2020 Gallup poll, preference for city living is greatest among non-White Americans, adults aged 18 to 34, Western residents, and Democrats.

As for those currently already living in a town or rural area, three in four of them are happy where they are.

It remains to be seen just how many of those expressing the desire to move to a new locale will act on that desire, but regardless, towns and more rural areas may well see an influx of homebuyers and new residents in the year to come.

For a complete breakdown of the Gallup results, visit Country Living Enjoys Renewed Appeal in U.S. (gallup.com) [2].