Single Income Households Rising

More than a third (34 percent) of those who moved during the pandemic live in a home where only one adult has a full-time job, according to a recent Redfin report based on an August survey. Before the pandemic, 29 percent lived in a single-family household.

More than half (58 percent) of recent movers surveyed by Redfin live in a home with two adults working full time, down from 62 percent pre-pandemic.

“While some people chose to move down to a single-income household, others had no choice,” Redfin Deputy Chief Economist Taylor Marr said in a release. “Thousands of Americans lost their jobs during the pandemic, and scores of parents had to leave the workforce when daycares and schools shut down. Most workers are rethinking where their careers fall on life’s priority list.”

Remote work also enabled many families to relocate to more affordable places, where it’s more feasible to live in a home with just one income, according to Redfin. In the third quarter, 30 percent of users were looking to move to a new metro area, up from 26 percent before the pandemic.

“A lot of the families that were able to move down to one income during the pandemic were high earners,” Marr said. “High earners tend to have the flexibility to work remotely, which means it’s easier for them to relocate to a more affordable place where only one adult needs to work full time. Lower-wage workers who are still required to show up in person, such as restaurant and grocery staff, are less likely to have the opportunity to move.”

A retirement boom may have also contributed to the increase in single-income households. The pandemic drove more than 3 million baby boomers into early retirement, according to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

More than three-quarters (83 percent) of respondents said they are at least a little happier after moving. Only 7 percent reported being less happy, and 11 percent said their happiness is about the same.

“Most people who move relocate to somewhere less expensive,” Marr said. “Moving tends to make people happier because it means they’re getting more bang for their buck—frequently in the form of additional space, better weather and schools, or a shorter commute to their workplace.”

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