9 US cities that are paying people thousands of dollars to move there

f11photo/ShutterstockDetroit, Michigan, is one of several cities that is incentivizing new residents to move there.

Major American cities like New York have little trouble finding workers to fill jobs and housing. In other, smaller cities facing labour shortages, it’s a different story.

Read more: The 10 best places in the US for first-time homebuyers to invest in real estate right now

To lure out-of-state workers, a number of cities are offering new residents big incentives – like money toward college loans and free land – to move there. Just consider Lincoln, Kansas which is offering free plots of land to those willing to build on them.

Business Insider rounded up nine US cities that are dishing out perks to prospective residents.

Keep reading to see the list.

Hamilton, Ohio, will help new residents repay their student loans.

Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce

College graduates who move to Hamilton, located about 45 minutes north of Cincinnati, can receive up to $US5,000 toward their student loans.

The “reverse scholarship” program started in February 2018, the Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News reports. Students who graduated in the last seven years with a science, technology, engineering, maths, or arts degree, and/or those who have more than $US5,000 in college debt are eligible.

Teachers who move to Hamilton and teach full-time for five consecutive academic years in select low-income schools can qualify for even greater student loan paybacks – up to $US17,500.

North Platte, Nebraska, is cutting new residents big checks.

Wikipedia CommonsThe Golden Spike Tower in North Platte, Nebraska.

In 2017, the North Platte chamber of commerce began offering up to $US10,000 to anyone who moves there for a job. New employees must agree to remain at their companies for at least three years.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, 25-year-old law school graduate Audrey Bellew said that she used the money to pay for her move. The grant also helped with living costs while she studied for the bar exam and prepared for a job at a local law firm.

The city hopes the program will help the region fill its hundreds of job openings.

Detroit, Michigan, has a fellowship program that gives newcomers a guaranteed salary for the first year.


Launched in 2008, Challenge Detroit offers paid fellowships for out-of-state college graduates to move, live, and work in the city. Every year, about 30 fellows are chosen to work with local companies and nonprofits, with the option to settle down in the city after the 12-month-long program finishes.

People who move to Marne, Iowa, can receive free land.

Google Earth

Located about an hour’s drive from Des Moines, Marne is providing free land to new residents who want to build a house there. Often valued in the tens of thousands, the lots average about 9,600 square feet.

Funded by donations, the program began a decade ago to attract more workers to the town. The rest of the state is not struggling as much. Iowa’s unemployment rate stands at 2.6%, which is much lower than the national rate of 3.7%.

New residents of Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, may not need to pay income taxes for the first five years.

Wikipedia Commons

Cottonwood Falls has instituted a unique financial incentive program for new, eligible residents. For up to five years, Kansas will waive their income taxes.

Designated as a Rural Opportunity Zone, the town is in one of 77 counties that the state has authorised to offer deals to newcomers. The deals vary.

People who move to Colby, a city in Thomas County, can apply for both the income tax waivers and up to $US15,000 in student loan repayments. The same goes for Oberlin, Eureka, and Stockton.

Remote workers who move to Burlington, Vermont could receive up to $US10,000.

Erika J Mitchell/Shutterstock

As of January 2019, Vermont will pay $US10,000 over two years to a small number of remote workers who relocate there – money that will help cover costs for relocation, computer software and hardware, internet access, and membership to coworking spaces. Gov. Phil Scott signedthe bill into law.

By attracting out-of-state tech workers, the grant program hopes to revitalize Vermont’s ageing workforce. As The Burlington Free Press notes, the state is ageing faster than the rest of the US, and has the third-highest median age in the country.

The statewide program is not limited to Burlington newcomers, but since the city is the largest in Vermont, it may be an attractive place for new residents.

The city of Lincoln, Kansas is giving away free land.

ShutterstockLincoln, Kansas.

The free lots in Lincoln range from around 12,000 square feet to 36,000 square feet. They are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, according to the city’s website.

Before purchasing land, buyers must agree to enter into a contract with a building contractor by a date that is agreed upon by both them and the city.

A program in Tulsa, Oklahoma is paying remote workers up to $US10,000 to move there and giving them housing stipends.

ShuterstockTulsa, Oklahoma skyline.

The Tulsa Remote program is paying remote workers to move to the city.

Those willing to make the move will receive $US10,000, a spot at a coworking community in the city, and a housing stipend, according to the website.

In order to qualify for the program, you have to be willing to move within six months and must have a full-time, remote job.

St. Clair County in Michigan is giving college graduates with student debt up to $US15,000 to move there.

Google MapsSt. Clair County, Michigan.

St. Clair County’s Come Home Award fund is giving college graduates up to $US15,000 to move there.

In order to qualify, you must have both student debt and a degree in science, technology, arts, or maths. Recipients must secure a job in the area within 120 days of receiving the award, according to the county’s website.

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