Working from home became the norm for millions of Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, and it doesn’t look like that will be changing any time soon. For many remote workers, that means it no longer matters whether or not they live in close proximity to your job.
If that’s the case for you, what would it take for you to pack up your things and move elsewhere? A change of scenery? Rising costs of living? What about a $10,000 check? In America’s heartland, some cities and regions are offering people $10,000 to move into town. The idea is that by offering this sum, these towns can attract dynamic workers who can bring back some energy and vitality after years of declining populations.
Several cities including Topeka, Kan., and Tulsa, Okla., have launched such programs in the last couple of years, and interest has been peaking during the pandemic.
“We’ve seen applications over the last six months increase up to threefold,” said Ben Stewart, interim director of Tulsa Remote, a program offering $10,000 to successful applicants who are willing to relocate to Tulsa.
The program, which has seen 500 new residents move to Tulsa, has its sights on remote workers who can do their job from home or at a local coffee shop. One of the “laptop workers” they managed to attract was Jaleesa Garland, a former native of Berkeley. California, who was shelling out $1,150 for a tiny bedroom in a house with four to six roommates. In Tulsa, the millennial inhabits a one-bedroom apartment with a fireplace and a patio for $940 a month.
The region of northwest Arkansas is the latest to launch such an initiative, something they decided to do during the middle of the pandemic. While the region is home to entities such as the University of Arkansas and Walmart, it’s the stunning nature around it that serves as a strong pull for new residents—well that, along with the pay-to-move offer of $10,000 and a new bicycle.
With that said, perhaps the strongest magnet for new workers to come to the area might be the area’s low cost of living. According to a local official, a salary of $150,000 in a pricey city like San Francisco is equivalent to the annual pay of $63,000 in northwest Arkansas.
With more people working remotely and initiatives like this springing up around America, we could be seeing shifting demographics in several states.