Americans Split on Opinions of City-Living Post-Pandemic, Survey Finds

Americans surprisingly voted Virginia Beach as the most desirable city in the U.S., which aligns with their top priorities of safety and affordability. Los Angeles is considered the least desirable and most overrated city.

ST. LOUIS, Sept. 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Although 80% of Americans say they like where they live, 92% could be convinced to move to a new city or state, according to a new report from Home Bay, an online publication that connects readers with expert real estate advice, owned by Clever Real Estate.

Home Bay surveyed 1,000 Americans and found the primary reasons Americans would relocate are economic, including job opportunities (52%), lower costs of living (52%), and affordable home prices (44%).

When broken down by generation, baby boomers are five times more likely to stay in their current location than younger generations, while millennials are 70% more likely than boomers to move due to their political beliefs.

Of the 1 in 5 Americans who don’t like where they live, more than half (52%) say they can’t afford to move. Other factors that prevent Americans from moving include already living near family and friends (29%) and having already established their life in their current city (22%).

When asked to choose the most desirable cities of the 50 most populous in the U.S., Virginia Beach landed on top — 1 in 5 listed it in their top five, and the city also takes the crown as the most underrated city.

The top 10 most desirable cities are:

  1. Virginia Beach
  2. Seattle
  3. San Diego
  4. Los Angeles
  5. San Francisco
  6. Phoenix
  7. Denver
  8. Miami
  9. Nashville
  10. Tampa

Despite respondents citing affordability as one of their top priorities, four of the top five cities (Seattle, San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco) are actually among the most expensive in the country.

Americans tend to either love or hate certain cities, and several places landed on both the most and least desirable lists.

The 10 least desirable cities are:

  1. Los Angeles
  2. Birmingham
  3. San Francisco
  4. Detroit
  5. New York City
  6. Chicago
  7. Seattle
  8. Dallas and Milwaukee (tie)
  9. Washington, D.C.
  10. Phoenix

In addition, the most desirable states are Florida, California, and Texas, while the least desirable are California, Alabama, and New York.

The study also found that although only 24% of respondents currently live in rural areas, 30% would prefer to move there – an indication that we are still in the midst of the pandemic-induced rural migration trend.

Read the full report at: 

About Home Bay

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Please contact Paulina Colwell at to be connected with a researcher with any questions or for an interview.

CONTACT: Paulina Colwell 
Clever Real Estate