New York City, NY

How to Adapt When Moving From New York City to the Suburbs

Melissa Frost
New York City, NYPhoto by Sara Melissa Frost

A move can take an emotional toll and can be very stressful. According to Health Status, moving is one of the top 5 stressful situations we experience in life. It is up there in the same ballpark as a job loss, divorce, major illness, and the death of a loved one.

2020 movers

Many Americans left cities in 2020. A Coronavirus Moving Study done by My Move shows that big cities lost the most movers during the first six months of the pandemic. When they looked at what cities experienced the highest net losses, some of the country’s most populous areas like Manhattan in New York City, Brooklyn, Chicago, and San Francisco made the top of the list.

While residents moving out of big cities isn’t a new thing, data shows that the number of moves has only increased during the pandemic.

New York City experienced the highest losses; more than 110,000 residents left the city from February to July of 2020. Compared with the number of outgoing movers that left Manhattan in 2019, it is a 487% increase. Brooklyn ranked sixth in 2019, but was bumped up to second place in 2020.

Some were internationals moving back home to their country sooner than they had planned. Some of these movers were millennials coming home to their parents. Many of them were families relocating to the suburbs in Conneticut or New Jersey.

In fact, a study by CBRE using change-of-address data from the U.S. Postal Service calculated that 27,200 people moved to Connecticut from New York City and its surrounding areas last year. Compared to other states, Connecticut saw by far the biggest percentage increase in New York City arrivals on a year-to-year basis, up 66.4% from 2019, when around 16,300 people replaced city living with suburban life in Conneticut.
Many families relocated from New York City to the suburbs in Conneticut or New Jersey last year.Photo by Sara Melissa Frost

How to cope

If you’re one of those that have replaced city-living with suburban life, here are four doable things that can help you adapt into your new living situation.

  1. Reach out. If you live in the suburbs, odds are you are located in a neighborhood with people that are in similar life situations as you are. According to Harvard Medical School, social connections help relieve levels of stress. In addition, it can increase your sense of belonging and purpose. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a lifelong friend.
  2. Walk. Walking on sidewalks in a neighborhood is not as authentic as taking a stroll in a city, but it gets you out of the house. It can also have a positive impact on your mental health. According to America Walks, walking doesn’t just make us feel good while we’re doing it. Walking, along with other forms of physical activity, has cumulative, consistent and positive effects on physical and mental health.
  3. Give it time. Everything doesn't have to be picture perfect right after a relocation. Give yourself a break. The practical things take time, such as finding furniture and getting the house together, but the emotional part takes time as well. Don’t rush it.
  4. Talk. If you’re struggling with the move, keeping it to yourself will only make it harder. Emotional toll about leaving something behind and adapting to something new is real. Even if you’re glad you made the move, there will be hard days where you will miss all things old. Whether you talk to the person closest to you, or someone professional, it may have a positive impact on you emotionally.

Settling down in the suburbs may take some time if you're used to the fast pace city-living brings. But as hard as a relocation can be, it can also be a time for new possibilites and personal growth.

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Journalist and writer. I cover local stories + food, mostly from PA.

Lititz, PA

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