News & Politics

A Net 15,000 People Moved Out of DC During the First Part of 2020

This number was calculated by looking at USPS change-of-address requests.

The Washington Monument at night. Photograph by soomness/Flickr.
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DC lost almost three times more movers between the months of February and July 2020 than it did for the same period in 2019, according to a recent analyses by the moving-focused group MyMove.

In the report, the group analyzed data from the United States Postal Service about change-of-address requests. Using this information, it found that DC had a net loss of 15,520 people between February and July, whereas it was only 5,896 people for that same period in 2019. (The group calculated these numbers by taking the total amount of people moving to the city during this period and subtracting the total amount of people moving out.)

To be fair, the group didn’t delineate between those who filed for a temporary change-of-address versus those who filed for a permanent one. So some of those over 15,000 people could have left DC for a finite period and are either planning to return eventually or already have.

Overall, the report found that 15.9 million people have moved during the pandemic.

The analyses is careful to point out that folks leaving a metropolitan area is by no means a phenomenon exclusive to the pandemic. Especially in dynamic cities, people move all the time. It’s just the number has significantly increased this year compared to last. The study suggests factors such as density, shelter-in-place mandates, and cost of living may have played a role in cities like DC seeing higher numbers of migration.

And DC is far from alone in this development: In fact, it only ranks seventh on the group’s list of 10 cities with the highest net losses of people. New York lost almost six times more people this year—110,978 movers between February and July, as opposed to 18,887 during that same stretch last year.

Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Home & Features Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She’s written for The Washington Post, Garden & Gun, Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Del Ray.