The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on work dynamics led to a significant shift away from major cities, resulting in a population decline of 5.3% in New York City and 7.5% in San Francisco from 2020 to 2022, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.
In response to this trend, several small towns throughout the nation are seizing the opportunity presented by the growing number of remote workers. They are offering incentives such as cash rewards and additional perks like gym and golf club memberships to entice digital nomads to relocate from major cities to rural areas.
According to the couple, Mariah Zingarelli, 29, and her husband, Chad, 34, they decided to sell their residence in Fresno, Calif., in February and make a move to Noblesville, Ind. As part of their relocation, the couple received a cash incentive of $5,000 and were also provided with memberships to a co-working space, gym, and golf club.
“You’re kind of getting paid to immerse yourself in the local community,”
Mariah & Chad Zingarelli
Mariah and Chad Zingarelli are just two examples of individuals who have utilized the MakeMyMove platform, which facilitates the recruitment of remote workers by cities nationwide. While the Zingarelli were primarily motivated to relocate to Noblesville due to its family-friendly environment (they have a three-year-old daughter), many others choose to move because of the excessively high cost of living in major cities.
Rudy Ramos, a 41-year-old California resident, said he will be making the move from Fremont to Muncie, Ind., this month. As his business operates entirely remotely and the soaring cost of living has become unsustainable, Ramos sees the relocation as a practical choice.
“Honestly, it’s just way too expensive here,” Ramos told the outlet. “All I’m working for is for my housing. I don’t have an opportunity to reinvest in my business.”
While MakeMyMove is primarily engaged by cities and towns to establish relocation programs, certain cities have developed their own autonomous initiatives for recruiting remote workers.
Tulsa Remote provides eligible workers with $10,000 in relocation funds when they move to Oklahoma, while Ascend West Virginia offers new residents an enticing $12,000 incentive to relocate across the state, with no obligations attached.
MakeMyMove Revolutionizes Relocation
MakeMyMove reports that individuals who have used their platform to relocate are able to save approximately $20,000 annually. The platform showcases relocation opportunities from various regions across the country, ranging from the picturesque Great Plains of Kansas and Iowa to the enchanting Southern states of Kentucky and West Virginia.
Standard relocation packages usually include approximately $5,000 in cash along with memberships to local community centers, gyms, and co-working spaces. However, some packages go beyond the norm and offer incentives such as theater or orchestra tickets and even the opportunity to have a beer with the mayor. In certain cases, relocation packages can provide upfront money of up to $12,000.
The specific application requirements for each city may vary, but typically they require that applicants are at least 18 years old and moving from out of state. While many cities listed on the platform prefer individuals with fully remote jobs, not all of them consider it a mandatory requirement.