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People are leaving New York and California for ... Idaho?

Why so many people are moving to Idaho during the pandemic

This April 15, 2004 file photo shows Interstate 90 in the Silver Valley in Kellogg, Idaho. Why so many people are moving to Idaho during the pandemic? Safety might be the reason.
This April 15, 2004, file photo shows Interstate 90 in the Silver Valley in Kellogg, Idaho. Why are so many people moving to Idaho during the pandemic? Safety might be the reason.
Jeff T. Green, Associated Press

The pandemic inspired a lot of people to move from New York and California to other states across the nation — and it appears Idaho is at the top of the list.

What’s going on?

An analysis from the United States Postal Service found that 8.93 million people moved since the pandemic began in March 2020. That’s about 94,000 more than the same time in 2019.

Idaho topped a recent list from Atlas that showed the states with the most inbound moves, too.

  • In fact, 66.4% of inbound moves are to Idaho, which topped the nation, according to Atlas. Idaho featured more inbound moves than North Carolina (64.6%), Maine (62.4%) and New Hampshire (61.6%), among other states.

Why Idaho?

Mark Jenkins, a consultant aerospace engineer who relocated to Idaho In November, told CNN that there is a rush to move to Idaho.

  • “The Boise land rush, I call it,” he said. “I’ve never seen so much construction. Not just houses. Schools. Roads. Hospitals. Churches. It is exciting.”

Barbara Dopp, an agent with Keller Williams Realty Boise, told CNN that people contacted her about moving to conservative states — as well as places with fewer changes to taxes, school curriculum and local mandates. Mainly, they wanted to move somewhere safe.

  • “Their perception was that it wasn’t safe to walk their streets, that things had changed and they weren’t going back,” she said.

In fact, KGO reports that Californians specifically are moving to Idaho in droves. One of those people includes Michelle Bailey, president of the Boise Regional Realtors. She previously lived in the Bay Area before moving to Idaho in the early 2000s.

  • “There was a wave in the late 90’s and then again around the time I moved here ... this current wave feels more significant than it has been in the past,” she said.