Over the last few years, Burlington, Vermont has become a safe haven for the invisible economy of remote workers who have escaped the luxurious campuses of their technology employers.
Other cities that have seen an uptick in new arrivals over the last year include Santa Barbara, California, which saw people coming from Los Angeles; Louisville, Kentucky, and Buffalo, New York, which drew people from New York City; and Burlington, Vermont which mostly saw workers migrating from Boston.
According to a survey from the University of Vermont’s Center for Research on Vermont and the Vermont Futures Project, a third of those who moved to Vermont said they are likely or very likely to stay for good.
There are numerous reasons for this massive migration to smaller areas, but one of the more significant factors is cost. Lockdowns in cities such as San Francisco and Seattle have allowed workers to contemplate whether they were being paid enough for the area they live in.
Additionally, smaller cities allow remote workers to live in a relaxed area, while still being immersed in a vibrant culture.
However, in order to support such a large amount of new migrants from large cities, these towns are seeing their own uptick in housing prices.
“As you have this influx of new, higher-starting-income jobs, you get this crowding out effect,” said Jordan Nickerson, visiting professor of finance at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. “So gentrification speeds up. People who were living there can’t afford to buy a place, so you do see displacement, and that’s a very sensitive subject.”