Midd.data Lightning Talk with Pete Nelson (Geography) was on Thursday, 10/20 from 12:30-1:20 in the CTLR (Lib 225) and on Zoom.
As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in early 2020, the media began reporting stories of people leaving cities to shelter in place in smaller towns and rural regions. With undergraduate research assistant, Wright Frost, Pete Nelson has been using data collected monthly from mobile devices as a proxy for population to explore the temporal and spatial patterns of movement down the urban hierarchy since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The analysis reveals shifts of population away from metropolitan core areas of the region and into micropolitan and noncore counties. These population shifts were most pronounced in late summer and fall 2020 as states began to loosen travel restrictions. Further analysis reveals these places down the urban hierarchy consistently showed more substantial increases in real estate activity as reflected in rising prices, reduced inventories and increased sales volume. These real estate dynamics suggest urban to rural migration during the COVID-19 pandemic may be initiating new waves of rural gentrification.