Zoom town

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Downtown Aspen, Colorado, an example of a "Zoom town" which has seen a high number of remote workers move there to take advantage of outdoor activities such as skiing. Downtown of Aspen, Colorado.jpg
Downtown Aspen, Colorado, an example of a "Zoom town" which has seen a high number of remote workers move there to take advantage of outdoor activities such as skiing.

A Zoom town is a community that experiences a significant population increase as remote work becomes more popular, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. [1] The shift is expected to have significant economic implications. [2] [3] The name is a play on "boomtown" and the name of the web conferencing tool Zoom. [4] [5]



In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to the phenomenon of a significant migration to previous “getaway communities” and small towns near attractions such as ski resorts in conjunction with the increase in popularity of remote work. [6] In March of 2020, the pandemic forced many workers to transfer to remote work, and a September Gallup poll showed that nearly 60% of workers remained working remotely full or part time, and two-thirds of employees wanted to stay that way, giving them more flexibility in where to live. [6] [7] Before the pandemic, only 10% or less of workers in the United States worked remotely full-time. [2] People working remotely found they could attain some "normalcy" by hiking, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, and other outdoor activities while cities were locked down, and they did not need to commute to work. [8] [9] A November study by the Pew Research center found that as a result of the pandemic, around 5% of Americans had moved in the prior several months to the study. [2]

The name "Zoom towns" is reminiscent of past "boomtowns", communities which underwent sudden and rapid population growth with the discovery of resources like oil. [6] [10] It is also a reference to the web conferencing tool Zoom. [4] [5]


A man and woman talk over Zoom. Don Young on Zoom calls - 6.23.22.jpg
A man and woman talk over Zoom.

In the United States, locations such as The Hamptons, New York; Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Aspen, Colorado; Bethel, Maine; and Truckee, California — which are usually considered vacation destinations — have been seeing large spikes in people moving there. Truckee for instance saw a 23% increase. [1] [11] On the other hand, cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City, have seen rent levels plunge. [12] This has put strain on the towns seeing booms which are not used to handling the number in people, in some cases leading to problems such as a lack of affordable housing, availability of public transit, congestion, and income inequality; which have been traditionally thought of as larger city problems. [6]

In the United States, many small western mountain towns have seen significant in-migration from very wealthy migrants, leading some observers to call the wealthy zoom towns a "Billionaire Wilderness," taken from the name of a book by Yale University sociologist Justin Farrell. [13] Although the trend was already taking place, the rapid migration to the communities expedited the problem and has led to calls to carefully manage the situation to avoid the places being "loved to death". [10] Many of the areas have tight housing regulations which prevent construction booms, but which drive prices for houses already built even higher, such as the Hamptons, which has seen a rise in housing prices of up to 25%, and Truckee, which is up 50%. [12] Not all areas experiencing booms see it as a problem however, and some have even launched initiatives specifically designed to appeal to remote workers. [2] It is expected that remote workers will bring significant tax revenue and will want to give back to their new communities. [5] West Virginia has offered $12,000 to people who move to the state and work remotely. [14]

According to the Canadian magazine Maclean's , population related statistical data in Canada "shows that from July 1, 2019 to July 1, 2020, Toronto and Montreal posted record population losses, while Halifax grew the second-fastest of any major urban area, and Moncton also grew faster than average. Housing prices have soared as people across Canada buy property in the Maritimes sight unseen through virtual tours, with Fredericton’s U-Haul dealer struggling to keep up with all the people renting moving trucks in Ontario and Quebec and trying to drop them off at its lot." [15]

In Europe, some countries such as Italy, Romania, Poland, Latvia, and Bulgaria, which had experienced "brain-drain" in preceding years, found young professionals return home as they began working remotely; a trend which was further encouraged by some governments in the form of tax breaks for returning citizens. [16] Other places have set up working visa programs specifically for remote workers, such as Anguilla, Barbados, Georgia, Estonia, and Croatia. [17] Following the same trend, Italy began paying people to move to its more remote villages in order to revitalize them. [18] One study early in the pandemic of 30 countries around the world showed that countries in the so-called "developed world" had the easiest shift to working remotely, with Luxembourg coming in at the top, while Nigeria was at the bottom. [19]

Richard Florida and Adam Ozimek wrote in an article in The Wall Street Journal that the shift is expected to have significant economic implications. [2] Before the pandemic, very few companies allowed their employees to do work entirely remotely, and many had a negative perception of remote work, but the pandemic changed that. [5] The "work-from-home experiment" was considered a "a resounding – and somewhat unexpected – success" by management experts, [4] and working remotely is expected to remain a significant part of the American workforce, and no longer be seen as a workplace "perk" for a handful of employees in a few more modern companies. [20] Companies that have already announced that remote work will become permanent within their corporation include Twitter, Siemens, Shopify, Facebook, and State Bank of India, and 74% of venture capitalists and venture-backed entrepreneurs expect their companies to remain remote for the majority of employees, if not all of them. [4] Other possible effects of people moving to smaller towns include changes in transportation habits, as people drive cars less and feel it less of a necessity to own them, they may opt for ridesharing options if available, and may even increase the demand for self-driving cars. [5]

Examples of Zoom towns and regions

See also

Related Research Articles

Remote work Work arrangement

Remote work, also called telecommuting, distance working, telework, teleworking, working from home (WFH), mobile work, remote job, work from anywhere (WFA), and flexible workplace, is a work arrangement in which employees do not commute to a central place of work, such as an office building, warehouse, or store.

Key worker

A key worker, critical worker or essential worker is a public-sector or private-sector employee who is considered to provide an essential service. The term has been used in the United Kingdom in the context of workers who may find it difficult to buy property in the area where they work. The term was also used by the UK government during announcements regarding school shutdowns invoked in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to indicate parents whose occupations entitled them to continue sending their children to schools which were otherwise shut down by government policy, as well as teachers and LSAs at those schools.

Boomtown Community with sudden economic & population growth

A boomtown is a community that undergoes sudden and rapid population and economic growth, or that is started from scratch. The growth is normally attributed to the nearby discovery of a precious resource such as gold, silver, or oil, although the term can also be applied to communities growing very rapidly for different reasons, such as a proximity to a major metropolitan area, huge construction project, or attractive climate.

Boomtown (festival) Immersive music festival near Winchester, England

Boomtown is a British music festival held annually near Winchester, Hampshire on the Matterley Estate in South Downs National Park. It was first held in 2009 and has been held in its current site since 2011. Its diverse line-up of bands, DJs and speakers perform on many different stages each a part of a district with its own individual theming. Each yearly event is known as a Chapter and expands on the storyline from the previous year, told through the sets, live actors and many forms of alternate reality games. The festival site is split into several districts, and the narrative is reflected in the design of the districts, streets and venues, which are populated by hundreds of actors to play the role of inhabitants.

The Canadian property bubble refers to a significant rise in Canadian real estate prices from 2002 to present which some observers have called a real estate bubble. From 2003 to 2018, Canada saw an increase in home and property prices of up to 337% in some cities. By 2018, home-owning costs were above 1990 levels when Canada saw its last housing bubble burst. Bloomberg Economics ranks Canada as the second largest housing bubble across the OECD in 2019 and 2021.

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Zoom Meetings is a proprietary video teleconferencing software program developed by Zoom Video Communications. The free plan allows up to 100 concurrent participants, with a 40-minute time restriction. Users have the option to upgrade by subscribing to a paid plan. The highest plan supports up to 1,000 concurrent participants for meetings lasting up to 30 hours.

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Mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic Psychological aspect of viral outbreak

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Zoombombing Unwanted intrusion into video conference calls

Zoombombing or Zoom raiding refers to the unwanted, disruptive intrusion, generally by Internet trolls, into a video-conference call. In a typical Zoombombing incident, a teleconferencing session is hijacked by the insertion of material that is lewd, obscene, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, Islamophobic, or antisemitic in nature, typically resulting in the shutdown of the session. The term is especially associated with and is derived from the name of the Zoom videoconferencing software program, but it has also been used to refer to the phenomenon on other video conferencing platforms. The term became popularized in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to stay at home, and videoconferencing came to be used on a large scale by businesses, schools, and social groups.

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COVID-19 pandemic in the San Francisco Bay Area Ongoing COVID-19 viral pandemic in the San Francisco Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area, which includes the major cities of San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland, was an early center of the COVID-19 pandemic in California. The first case of COVID-19 in the area was confirmed in Santa Clara County on January 31, 2020. A Santa Clara County resident was the earliest known death caused by COVID-19 in the United States, on February 6, suggesting that community spread of COVID-19 had been occurring long before any actual documented case. This article covers the 13 members of ABAHO, which includes the nine-county Bay Area plus the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz.

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