Charlotte Residents Move Further (and to Less Dense Areas) During COVID-19 Pandemic

Whether it’s COVID-related, a work-from-home lifestyle, or the desire for more space in a home, Charlotte residents are moving far from Charlotte during the pandemic.

We closely examined 30,000 moves into and out of Charlotte, North Carolina from March 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020, and learned the following:

National Trends

Nationally, measures taken by local, state, and national authorities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 materially reduced the ability of many Americans to relocate in the early months of 2020. Updater’s data indicates that nationwide move volume fell 32% below seasonality-expected levels beginning the week of March 16, 2020, and consistent with the first shelter-in-place orders.

Charlotte has risen annually in the national rankings as a destination move city. On Updater’s annual list of national moving destinations, Charlotte ranked as follows:

  • 22 in 2017
  • 19 in 2018
  • 18 in 2019
  • 20 in 2020

Charlotte, NC Trends

Despite Charlotte’s popularity as a destination to call home, we closely examined the same set of 30,000 Charlotte moves during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and learned the following:

  • There were more outbound moves in 2020 than in 2019. Outbound moves represented 44.2% of all Charlotte moves in 2019 but represented 47.3% of all moves in 2020. So, while Charlotte was still a city with a net gain of movers during the pandemic, more people left the city in 2020 than in 2019.
  • Updater’s average move distance is 11 miles. During the pandemic, the distance of moves from Charlotte shifted dramatically – it increased to 47.4 miles. This means, that Charlotte residents moved further from Charlotte than ever before.
  • In addition to the distance more than quadrupling from 2019, two of the top destinations (Fort Mill and Indian Land) are in South Carolina, creating a more complicated move overall. Where else did people move? See map for top moves from Charlotte below.
Top destinations Charlotte, NC residents moved to during March-September, 2020. The average move distance increased to 47.4 miles.
  • Within the Charlotte city limits from March to September 2020, the most popular destination zip codes were 28262, 28205, 28203. See map below.
The top 10 destination zip codes for people moving into Charlotte, NC during March-September, 2020.


  • Charlotte is very much a growing city, despite the increase in outbound moves in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Charlotte residents were more willing to move to less dense locations in 2020 than in previous years.
  • With work from home sweeping the nation, proximity to work was taken out of the equation as a reason to move, and moves from Charlotte were to more distant places than an average year.