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Moving to da U.P.: a sudden change in where people are heading for work

The ongoing pandemic has made remote working a necessity for many Americans. Technologies such as Zoom video conferencing, Google Docs, and Slack allow one to be productive from the comforts of home. A change in work process opens opportunities to work from almost anywhere. High school and college graduates have begun expressing interest in relocating to the Upper Peninsula. While there’s always been people coming from downstate or Wisconsin and Minnesota, there’s been a recent influx of people migrating up. 

An article by InvestUP recently discussed this sudden change in relocation. The article reports “…as many as 14 to 23 million Americans aged 18 and up intend to relocate to a different city or region.” Some of these young Americans see the tranquil beauty and isolation of the Upper Peninsula and want to enjoy nature. Cities like Marquette, Escanaba, and Houghton are booming in business from student populations. They generate revenue for the community through using local businesses. It increases tourism when these students talk about how great the cities and surrounding towns are. It’s a system that’s proven effective for communities like Houghton and Marquette, former mining hubs transformed into college towns. 

The Upper Peninsula isn’t just home to closely-tied communities, but also year-round outdoor activities from canoeing to snowshoeing. The range in geography (especially in the Western Upper Peninsula) gives variety for places to explore. InvestUP’s article points this out by mentioning the 4,500 miles of snowmobile and ski trails crisscrossing the land. The summers have the shores of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan for beachgoers and mountain trails for hikers. 

Already, the Upper Peninsula has seen evidence of people moving in. In the InvestUP article, Kristine J. Weidner of Houghton’s Century 21 North Country Agency stated, “The real estate market in our four-county area has been competitive for the last three years, especially in 2020. Residential and land sales both increased by 23% and 22% respectively.” Even during the pandemic, Weidner’s seen an uptick in people moving in. People are serious about moving in and raising families here. 

At the end of a full year of illness and lockdown, Americans look for better places to live and work from. For some, the Upper Peninsula offers that second chance.

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