Many Americans relocated during pandemic-ravaged 2020 due to a job loss or fear of catching the coronavirus. In 2021, COVID-19 was less common of a reason for moving — but remote work was more of one.
In 2022, the trend continued, with Americans fleeing the nation’s largest cities for more affordable climes.
Cities and towns left out of the boom are working to lure such workers and families to migrate there, hoping to boost their populations and grow their economies. Some dangle offers of thousands of dollars to entice workers — often workers who can do their jobs remotely.
These places in the U.S. are offering financial incentives to newcomers.
1. West Virginia
West Virginia offers a program to attract remote workers. It will provide $12,000 over two years, workspace and free use of outdoor rental gear with which approved applicants can enjoy the state’s many outdoor recreation opportunities.
The program, Ascend West Virginia, received a $25 million gift from former Intuit CEO and West Virginia native Brad D. Smith and his wife, Alys.
Recipients’ stipends will be paid over two years:
- $10,000 in equal monthly payments through the first year
- An additional $2,000 paid at the end of the second year
You can apply now.
Learn more: AscendWV.com
2. Tulsa, Oklahoma
Eligible applicants to the Tulsa Remote program must be able to relocate to the Tulsa area “within the next 12 months” and either have full-time remote employment or be self-employed outside of Oklahoma.
Accepted applicants will get $10,000 and desk space at a co-working space in downtown Tulsa. You must be at least 18 and eligible to work in the U.S.
Learn more: Visit TulsaRemote.com.
3. Topeka, Kansas
Get up to $15,000 when you rent or buy a home in Topeka, Kansas — the state capital located in Shawnee County — within a year of moving there and being hired in the area or working remotely for an employer located outside the county. The website for the Choose Topeka campaign, below, has the rules.
Learn more: Visit ChooseTopeka.com.
4. Newton, Iowa
To take part in the Newton Housing Initiative, buy or build a new home in that Iowa community and get up to $10,000 (the full amount is for homes valued at $190,000 and over). Home values don’t include the price of the land in the city, which is 35 miles east of the state capital, Des Moines.
You must begin construction on your new single-family home through 2023 and fully complete the construction. You’ll get the financial incentive from the city upon closing your home financing.
Learn more: Visit the Newton Housing Initiative page on the city’s website.
5. Hamilton County, Ohio
The Hamilton Community Foundation offers a Talent Attraction Program Scholarship to attract new residents to the southwest Ohio area with the lure of helping them repay student loan debt. The private foundation supports the region (which includes Cincinnati), works for community revitalization and addresses social and health issues that affect children and families locally.
Eligible applicants must:
- Have graduated within the last seven years, preferably from a STEAM program (science, technology, engineering, the arts or mathematics)
- Live outside designated areas in Hamilton County, with plans to move to designated areas there
- Have or get a professional job in Hamilton or Butler County
The organization prefers those who want to become involved in community activities. Program participants could receive $300 per month, to a maximum of $10,000.
Learn more: Visit the TAP Scholarship page at the foundation’s website.
6. The Shoals in Alabama
Get $10,000 in installments to live and work remotely in the Shoals, which comprises the Florence-Muscle Shoals metropolitan area in northwest Alabama.
To be eligible for the Remote Shoals program, you must:
- Earn at least $52,000 annually
- Move to the Shoals within six months of receiving the award
- Have full-time remote employment or be self-employed as an independent contractor outside of Colbert and Lauderdale Counties
- Be eligible to work in the United States
- Be at least 18 years old
Learn more: Visit RemoteShoals.com.
7. Mankato, Kansas
You can get a good start on living the small-town life with a free building lot in this north-central Kansas community of about 900 in Jewell County.
Among other requirements, applicants must:
- Have a written agreement with a contractor to start construction within six months of acquiring the land
- Have a lender’s preapproval
- Be interviewed by the City Council
- Build a three (or more) bedroom single-family home with at least 1,200 square feet of living area
- Finish construction within two years after taking possession of the lot
Learn more: Visit the Free Land page on the Chamber of Commerce site.
8. Lincoln, Kansas
This rural agricultural community in Kansas with just a few thousand residents overlooks the Saline River. Lincoln is offering free lots that range from 14,000 square feet to 35,000 square feet. The lots are ready for construction and are located in a residential development with streets, water and sewer.
Applicants must agree to build a house of at least 1,300 square feet within an agreed-upon time frame and comply with design guidelines. Rules are given and questions answered at the link below to program information on the Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation website.
Learn more: Visit the Free Lots page of the Lincoln County website.
If you really want to get away from it all, why not head for The Last Frontier?
Live there a full calendar year (with intention to stay there), and you can become eligible for an annual dividend. The precise amount depends on what the state government approves each year. The 2022 amount was set at $3,284.
The money is paid through the Permanent Fund Dividend, which residents can file an application for in the first quarter of each year.
Learn more: Visit the Permanent Fund Dividend page of the Alaska Department of Revenue website.