DC is a ‘job-first’ city for many moving to Washington

WASHINGTON — When it comes to relocating, there are “job-first” movers — those who move to a city primarily for work-related reasons — and “location-first” movers that move because they like the city, and will job search once they get there.

D.C. is definitely a job-first city.

“In the Washington, D.C. area, you have a lot of high-paying jobs for college-educated workers and these are the same workers who might be looking for jobs in New York or Boston or San Francisco, so they may not be committed to moving to D.C. but are instead exploring jobs in a few different places,” Sidney Bennett, at Apartment List told WTOP.

Apartment list surveyed more than 20,000 users to gauge their reasons for moving. Among those moving to Washington, 59 percent said they were moving to Washington because they landed a job here. Only San Jose, California has more job-first movers, at 75 percent.

Those renters moving to Washington also buck a national trend, and actually plan to stay put once they get here.

“Washington has more people planning to settle than a lot of other job-first places, and it may be because there are a lot of jobs that are industry specific that only the Washington area offers, like association-related or government agency jobs,” Bennett said.

The Washington area also has one of the highest concentrations of high-paying professional jobs.
Apartment List’s survey found 36.3 percent of new D.C.-area renters are planning to settle down here long-term.

Nationally, college-educated renters are more likely to be job-first movers.

The metros with the most location-first movers tend to be in more affordable, fast-growing Sunbelt metros, with 69 percent of those moving to Phoenix picking the city, not relocating for a job.

The top city for location-first movers is Las Vegas, with more than eight out of 10 moving to Vegas to look for a job, not because they’ve already landed one.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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