The Great Upstate Migration

The Great Upstate Migration

Before March of 2020, we knew the Upstate was becoming popular for “choice” movers, or those who relocated to our area purely out of desire for a better quality of life. These movers chose our community for our four round seasons, proximity to the beach and mountains, culture, and that signature southern hospitality blended with an international flair.

Meet the Upstate, Visitors

The pandemic has influenced the rate of migration to our area, for short visits and longer-term stays. Airbnb, the vacation rental website, recently named Greenville a top location for travel destinations. Travel in recent months has become less about tourism and more about living, working, and connecting safely away from home. According to a survey conducted by Airbnb, one in five people have relocated their living situation during the pandemic temporarily or permanently. Some are using the experience of staying in a neighborhood or community to test it out before they consider relocating for good.

The Harris Poll indicated one-third of Americans are considering moving to a less densely populated area where social distancing is more possible. Greenville and Spartanburg are attractive for our access to ‘immersive natural surroundings and wide-open spaces,’ and we were thrilled to be among the list of destinations like Park City, Utah, Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. While it is not clear yet how the pandemic will reshape cities and larger communities, experts say it will accelerate trends that were already in action.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury identified one national trend: the decentralization of U.S. wealth and named Greenville, SC as a 2020 relocation area of interest for ‘affluent trailblazers’, a younger affluent demographic under 39 years old looking to explore better schools and more open space.

We tapped into The Upstate Alliance’s Migration Report to see what has attracted newcomers to our area in recent years:

  • The Upstate has a top-ranked business climate and world-class research environment.
  • We have favorable tax rates, market accessibility, and quality/availability within our workforce.
  • We are known for a superb quality of life, where cost of living is about 10 percent lower than the national average and cultural/recreational opportunities cater to a broad range of tastes.

Who is Moving to the Upstate?

Pre-pandemic growth in our area has included businesses investing in the region, cargo moving through the airport and inland port, and new residents hoping to find a job or lower cost of living. An average of 31 people move to our area each day and our Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson area experienced a population growth of 71,324 from 2014 to 2018 (5.1% increase). Let’s learn a little about our newcomers:

  • 9% of newcomers come from international populations (the Upstate is home to 508 foreign companies from 38 different countries).
  • Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, and Florida posted the largest migration numbers. Texas and Florida are known for high volume of talent or strong educational resources in the Upstate’s in-demand industries.
  • Within the state, most migration comes from Columbia, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and Rock Hill/Fort Mill.
  • Beyond the Southeast, California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Connecticut have large in-migration numbers (cost of living in the Upstate is as much as 88% lower than Manhattan in New York City). New data has also shown an increase in in-migration from Arizona and Colorado as well.
  • The median age of Upstate in-migration from other states is 30 years old.

We will continue to closely monitor the data associated with the pandemic, particularly information relating to in-migration to the Upstate.

One thing is for certain: The Upstate is growing and we are here to assist with that growth by helping our newcomers find a home where they can thrive.