Seattle residents fled the city in droves in 2020, according to shocking new data released by the United States Postal Services which revealed a 36 percent increase in residents who moved out of the city. Although the data doesn’t provide an exact reason as to why residents fled the city, 2020 was a tumultuous year for Seattle.
Seattle was hit with an economic shutdown as the coronavirus pandemic swept through the city. There was a public safety emergency as violent protests and riots moved through the streets, culminating in an armed occupation of six blocks of the city by Antifa and BLM activists. One can only speculate as to whether or not the moves were for these reasons, but Seattle’s high-cost of living, drug and opioid epidemic, perpetual homeless crisis, and lack of public safety may also have been contributing factors.
Reported by The Seattle Times, 69,432 residents moved out of Seattle while only 43,350 households requested moves into the city in 2020, resulting in a net migration of 26,000 households—a 7 percent decline from the previous year.
The change-of-address data released by USPS suggests moves out of the city increased by 36 perncent. The majority of residents that fled Seattle, left the city for nearby Bellevue, Shoreline, Kirkland, and Bothell, with Bellevue receiving the highest number of Seattle residents, according to USPS.
Although the data suggests that the top 10 destinations for those leaving Seattle, measured by "net migration," were all within 35 miles, a staggering amount of residents fled to conservative states for a chance at a better quality of life.
A Keller-Williams real estate agent in Boise, Idaho, Barbara Dopp, recorded her best sales ever in 2020. Most of her sales were from people moving to Idaho from different states, specifically Washington and California.
"I had people calling me, primarily from California and Washington, and they would say, 'I just have to get out,'" Dopp said to CNN. "We are a conservative state and people are attracted to that."
Rick Halstead, a Seattle resident who recently moved to Idaho, said for him it was a result of the pandemic, protests, and decline in quality of life.
"The pendulum of the political environment really swung in the past 10 years," said Halstead. "There were more and more protests, which would snarl traffic. Opioid problems. Homelessness. Crime. It was encroaching where we lived.”
Halstead wasn’t the only Seattle resident who moved to Idaho for the reasons listed above, Jenkins said the ongoing protests in Seattle over the summer of 2020 involving Antifa and BLM was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
"It was my tipping point," Jenkins said.
"We thought about leaving Seattle the past couple years, but we weren't ready," said Jenkins who recently moved from the Pacific Northwest city to Idaho to CNN. "The weather is a big improvement. The traffic is better. It is very welcoming. People are strangely friendly."