Before You Move

The Pros & Cons Of Moving Home vs. Moving Somewhere New

A whopping 72% of Americans choose to live near their hometown.

by Kaitlyn Wylde
These are the pros and cons to weigh when deciding whether to move back home or somewhere new.
Kayla Johnson/Suburbs

In How To Move To The Suburbs, Bustle breaks down the challenges and joys of leaving the city in a step-by-step process. In this installment, Kaitlyn Wylde unpacks the four main decisions you need to make once you’ve decided to relocate; commuter towns vs. rural neighborhoods, new build houses vs. old homes, renting vs. buying, and in this column, moving somewhere new vs. moving home.

Moving Home

The Pros

  1. Family and familiarity are compelling draws. A pre-COVID survey by North American Moving Services found that 72% of Americans choose to live near their hometown, citing family and familiarity as the primary draws.
  2. You’re not the only one moving back. In 2020, a Pew Research study showed that 52% of people between the ages of 18 to 29 lived at home or had returned to their hometown.
  3. Your parents and friends from high school may still be there.
Tip: If you’re struggling to find opportunities in your hometown, look up Lead for America’s Hometown Fellowship program, which helps people return to their hometown and work to solve local problems by strengthening civic institutions. Fellows are placed in a full-time, paid role for one year, with the opportunity to extend by another year. Read More

The Cons

  1. Depending on where you grew up, the job market might not be hot in your hometown, so full-time remote working (and decent WiFi!) might be essential.
  2. Pretty much zero room to reinvent yourself and not much new to discover.
  3. Your parents and friends from high school may still be there.

Tried It & Liked It

“Being an adult around my parents has been a perk of moving back home. It’s given us a new relationship that’s more like a friendship. It’s also a joy to make adult memories in places that were special to me as a child, like the river I used to run off to as a teen.” Isabel, 26, nanny in Massachusetts

Moving Somewhere New

The Pros

  1. A 2020 study published in Nature Neuroscience found that new experiences and changes of scenery are directly linked to positive emotions. The study notes that small changes, like going to a new grocery store or taking a different route to work, can also stimulate similar good feels.
  2. No comparisons to your high school self! Independence! Autonomy!
  3. All new friends.
Tip: If the potential for gossip bothers you, fret not. A 2019 study found that 75% of gossip is neutral in nature, and scientists have found “prosocial gossip,” when information is shared morally and responsibly, can be a positive form of social support. Plus, studies show gossip serves as a deterrent to untrustworthy behavior.

The Cons

  1. It takes a lot of time, energy, research, and resources to build a new foundation and find community. In January, a survey conducted by OnePoll for North American Van Lines found that for 45% of Americans, a recent move was the most stressful event of their entire lives.
  2. Change is scary and making new friends is a lot of work.
  3. You might be stuck with people you don’t vibe with; smaller towns are often less diverse than cities.

Tried It & Liked It

“Moving somewhere new pushed me to learn how to de-identify myself from where I live. It took me a long time to figure out what coastal Claire was like, but figuring out my new hobbies and pastimes has been really enriching.” – Claire, 33, ad sales manager in California

Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.