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One’s political leanings can make a significant impact on decisions about where to live, according to a new report from Redfin.
The survey, conducted in August 2022 of about 1,000 U.S. residents who bought or sold recently or plan to do so in the next year, shows that as different states’ laws on sensitive subjects like abortion rights and gender-affirming care for children have changed in the last year, consumers are taking a harder stance this year on where they will consider living based on political views.
Nineteen percent of homebuyers and sellers reported that they would only live in a place where abortion is fully legal, up from 12 percent in 2021. Another 33 percent of homebuyers and sellers said they prefer to live in a place where abortion is fully legal, up from 28 percent the year before.
The increased interest in living in an abortion-friendly area follows the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade earlier this year, allowing states the power to ban abortions after 50 years of having access to them. At least 12 states have banned abortions thus far.
At the opposite end of the political spectrum, 11 percent of survey respondents said they would definitely not live in a place where abortion is legal, down from 15 percent in 2021. Another 12 percent of buyers and sellers reported that they would prefer not to live in a place where abortion is legal, down from 17 percent one year ago.
“A lot of homebuyers are moving to Arizona because they like the politics here and/or don’t like the politics where they’re coming from,” Heather Mahmood-Corley, a Redfin agent based in Phoenix, said in the report.
The state voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 election but is generally considered more conservative than the West Coast states of California and Washington where many incoming buyers previously lived.
In 2022, 16 percent of survey respondents said that state or local abortion laws are an important factor in their decisions about where to live, with 1 percent reporting those laws are the most important factor.
Other key factors respondents cited include cost of living (59 percent said this is one of the most important factors), crime/safety (53 percent) and home affordability (51 percent).
The majority of homebuyers and sellers showed a preference for living in a place with strong gun control laws, with 22 percent saying they would only live in such a place and an additional 39 percent reporting their preference to live in an area with such laws.
By contrast, 10 percent of respondents said they would not live in a place with strong gun control laws and 12 percent said they’d prefer not to live in such places.
More respondents cited gun laws as an important factor in where they live compared to abortion laws, with 21 percent saying such laws are an important factor. Another 3 percent of respondents said gun safety laws are the most important factor for them in deciding where to live.
The vast majority of homebuyers and sellers also reported that they prefer to live in a place with legal protections prohibiting discrimination due to gender or sexual orientation. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they prefer to live in such places, while 18 percent said they prefer not to live in places with these laws.
Meanwhile, 47 percent of survey respondents said they would prefer to live in an area where gender-affirming care for children is fully legal, compared to 21 percent who prefer not to live in such a place. Gender-affirming care can include counseling, medications and other medical interventions to help support an individual’s gender identity.
About one-third of homebuyers and sellers also prefer to live somewhere that allows for classroom discussion of LGBTQ topics. Thirty-seven percent of survey respondents prefer to live somewhere that prohibits such classroom discussions.
In the last year, both topics have become points of contention across the political spectrum, with states like Texas and Florida putting forth legislation that would limit gender-affirming care to children as well as gender identity and sexual orientation discussions in the classroom.
“My husband and I moved from Tallahassee, Florida, to Seattle in 2017 partly because Florida’s state government was on a path to undermining protections for LGBTQ people, and we didn’t feel comfortable there outside our close circle of friends,” Dustin Hand, a senior systems administrator at Redfin, said in a statement.
“Living in a state where the laws don’t protect you is alienating and stressful. When I went to places in Florida, I typically waited for a person or business to explicitly say ‘it’s safe here’ before opening up about who I am and whom I love. Florida’s recent legislation takes an active stance against teaching people about my community and affirms my decision to live in a place where I feel protected being my authentic self.”
Similarly to the number of respondents who felt abortion laws are an important factor in deciding where to live, 15 percent of respondents said LGBTQ rights are an important factor, with 3 percent reporting that they are the most important factor.
In terms of overall voting rights, 62 percent of survey respondents prefer to live somewhere with strong voting-rights protections and/or an easy way to vote by mail. By contrast, 15 percent prefer not to live in such areas. Fourteen percent of survey respondents said voting rights are an important factor in choosing where to live and 1 percent said they’re the most important factor.