A new survey by the Urban Institute and the Knight Foundation suggests that quality of life is one of the primary motivating factors behind most Americans’ decision on whether to move home or stay put.
The survey of more than 11,000 consumers was carried out before the COVID-19 pandemic, and found that quality of life not only matters, but also affects how attached people feel they are to a given area.
According to the survey, quality of life accounts for around one third of moves into metro areas nationwide.
“People who choose to live in their metro area because of its quality of life express significantly stronger sentiments of attachment than those who live in their metro area for a different reason, such as family or jobs,” the study authors note.
People who move into a metro area from other areas usually tend to cite the quality of life, affordability of housing, and certain neighborhood amenities as driving their decisions. As for natives to an area, they often cite its vibrancy, affordability and strong economy.
A greater sense of attachment to an area tends to be linked to more recreational areas and having a safe place to work, the study found. Those things can help people to identify more with the lifestyle and culture in the area, and tend to create a stronger preference to remain.
The study found that generational issues, race and household income are also factors in shaping how attached people feel to an area, as well as their access to quality-of-life amenities. For example, people from ethnic minorities and those with lower incomes are more likely to move or stay due to the quality of life in a certain area.
Meanwhile, older generations tend to feel more attached to the area they live in, due to its lifestyle and culture. As such, they’re usually more inclined to stay put in their current communities than younger generations.
“Millennials and Generation Z have significantly higher social bridging capital across class, race, and language and are the most likely to be natives of the metro area where they live, perhaps due to the diversity of this generation and their life stages,” the study found.