Some of the lifestyle changes from COVID-19 are likely to be temporary, but some shifts — including the way some people work — seem here to stay. Many companies across the country switched to remote work at the start of the pandemic; in fact, the amount of Americans working from home jumped from 20% before the pandemic to 71% by the end of 2020. One study suggests that 22% of the U.S. workforce will work remotely by 2025 — that amounts to 36.2 million people.
This newfound freedom for many workers has given them more flexibility when it comes to where to live. Major cities like New York and San Francisco have witnessed a drop in population as the demand for private outdoor space rises, along with the flexibility to snatch up more affordable housing outside big cities. While housing markets across the country are seeing record growth in sales prices since the onset of the pandemic, individuals moving from a more expensive city to a cheaper one may have a competitive edge.
Moving to a smaller city comes with even more benefits than just lower housing prices. Cost of living, taxes and crime rates are often also lower. Whether you’re permanently working from home or looking for a job in a different city, there are plenty of amazing options out there. We pulled together our top 10 list of mid-size cities to inspire you to think outside the box for your next move.
Instead of focusing on the country’s most populous cities, we looked at cities ranked between 51 and 100 in terms of population. Then we analyzed them based on the following factors:
- Increase in housing prices (Q4 2019 to Q4 2020): The lower, the better. Real estate markets are heated nationwide, with the average increase at 14.9% overall.
- Unemployment rate: Find out which cities have the type of jobs that have survived the pandemic. In May 2021, the national unemployment rate was 5.8%.
- Number of Fortune 500 company HQs in state: This could point to more stable job opportunities.
- Safety rating: Enjoy some peace of mind in a city with low crime rates.
Explore our list of best mid-size cities for your new work situation.