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On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Within two months, nearly half a million people fled hard-hit New York City. Will they return once the crisis has passed? In this Kenan Insight, we explore how the ongoing pandemic is raising questions about the future attractiveness of large cities as places to live and do business.

History informs us that some people, especially the wealthy, typically flee cities in response
to pandemics and other major catastrophes.  Media accounts and preliminary empirical
research suggest that the response to the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. Nearly a half
million people reportedly fled hard-hit New York City within two months of the World Health
Organization declaring the coronavirus disease a global pandemic.Some coronavirus pandemic refugees headed to nearby suburbs, others headed to second homes and vacation spots in other states, and still others moved back home to live with parents.

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