By MIKE SCHNEIDER Associated Press
A new study and Census Bureau data show U.S. residents moved out of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas and into smaller ones during the pandemic. The data released this week shows increased declines in the nation’s densest metros and gains in small cities in the Sun Belt and West. The study found that many COVID-year migrants weren’t driven by jobs, weather, or even virus fears. Instead, they were motivated by a desire to be closer to family and a new freedom to make it happen because of remote working. The data adds to understanding of how the pandemic has changed where and how Americans live.