Hospital Workers Are Fleeing High Housing Costs: Where Are They Moving?

By Becker Hospital Reviews

As hospitals battle workforce shortages, part of their struggles come from workers leaving their jobs at hospitals for various reasons. Some have left because of emotional exhaustion while others have retired early. But there is another factor contributing to the shortages: housing costs. For some hospitals, the issue has become so prevalent they are building employee housing.

Hospital Workers Are Fleeing High Housing Costs: Where Are They Moving?

Although the nation's mover rate has been decreasing for several years, almost half of all movers in 2021 cited housing-related reasons for moving, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released March 7.

Mary Broadworth, vice president of human resources at Burlington-based University of Vermont Medical Center, told Becker's earlier this year there are hurdles when it comes to nurse recruitment and retention, including a lack of housing options because of migration to the state. 

"We have a housing shortage, pretty much no inventory," Ms. Broadworth said.

"And there aren't a lot of other industries for career advancement in the state. For example, we have someone who moves up [to Vermont] with a partner, the partner is challenged to find a job outside of healthcare."

To address this, the University of Vermont Health Network announced in March that it is investing $2.8 million to help finance housing in South Burlington that can be used for its workers. UVM Health Network officials told Becker's on March 10 that the health system will take a 10-year master lease on 61 new one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments that are being built, then make those units available first to its workers, potentially at a subsidy for eligible employees.

Where are people moving?

To determine the top 10 moving destinations for 2021, moving truck rental company Penske examined one-way consumer truck rental reservations made through the company's website, calls to its 1-800-GO-PENSKE call center and via one-way reservations made at Penske's more than 2,500 truck rental locations.

To find the metro areas with the highest and lowest housing costs for a family of four, 24/7 Wall St. analyzed data from the Economic Policy Institute's 2022 Family Budget Calculator.

The top 10 moving destinations for 2021, according to the Penske list, which was released May 2: 

  1. Houston

  2. Las Vegas

  3. Phoenix

  4. Charlotte, N.C. 

  5. Denver

  6. San Antonio 

  7. Dallas

  8. Orlando, Fla.

  9. Austin, Texas 

  10. Chicago

The 10 metro areas where families pay the most for housing and the estimated annual housing costs, according to the 24/7 Wall St. analysis:

  1. San Francisco-Oakland-Berkely, Calif.: $42,636

  2. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.: $36,612

  3. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif.: $36,252

  4. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, Calif.: $28,488

  5. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass. and N.H.: $28,032

  6. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, Calif.: $25,488

  7. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii: $24,876

  8. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif.: $24,696

  9. New York-Newark-Jersey City, N.Y., N.J. and Pa.: $24,636

  10. Napa, Calif.: $24,216

The 10 metro areas where families pay the least for housing and the estimated annual housing costs, according to the 24/7 Wall St. analysis: 

  1. Jefferson City, Mo.: $8,136

  2. Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, N.C.: $8,316

  3. Kingsport-Bristol, Tenn. and Va.: $8,412

  4. Dothan, Ala.: $8,472

  5. Decatur, Ala.: $8,496

  6. Gadsden, Ala.: $8,604

  7. Anniston-Oxford, Ala.: $8,676

  8. Johnstown, Pa.: $8,688

  9. Fort Smith, Ark. and Okla.: $8,736

  10. Pine Bluff: Ark.: $8,748

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