February 2020

Where's everyone going? The impact of relocation trends.

Net population gain - Top 10 metro markets (est. 2013-2017

Metadata for "Net population gain": The title of this map is "Net population gain," from 2013 to 2017. This map of the United States shows the top ten metro markets in terms of net population gain over this time period. In order from the top metro markets, or cities, with the greatest gain to the least is: #1. Metro Phoenix, with the greatest gain; followed by #2 Metro Riverside, California; #3 Orlando; #4 Austin; #5 Houston; #6 Dallas; #7 Las Vegas; #8 Charlotte; #9 Tampa; and #10 Columbia, South Carolina.
Rank Metropolitan Statistical Area Population Estimate Estimated Net Migration
1 Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 4,505,823 44,350
2 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 4,420,132 32,330
3 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 2,363,519 28,651
4 Austin-Round Rock, TX 1,975,390 27,776
5 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 6,543,063 27,219
6 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 7,007,313 25,968
7 Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 2,088,437 22,368
8 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC 2,398,150 20,534
9 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 2,947,055 19,617
10 Columbia, SC 799,490 18,942
11 Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN 1,808,681 18,160
12 Jacksonville, FL 1,429,554 16,833
13 North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL 762,626 16,295
14 San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 2,345,413 15,413
15 Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA 2,241,211 12,772
16 Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL 693,989 11,593
17 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA 2,355,464 11,361
18 Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA 541,686 11,161
19 Port St. Lucie, FL 450,515 10,940
20 Athens-Clarke County, GA 200,161 10,239
21 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 3,690,530 9,587
22 Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL 617,339 9,580
23 State College, PA 159,214 9,197
24 Oklahoma City, OK 1,335,087 9,139
25 Raleigh, NC 1,259,003 8,920
26 College Station-Bryan, TX 245,471 8,787
27 Tallahassee, FL 373,740 8,631
28 Richmond, VA 1,255,974 8,343
29 Lansing-East Lansing, MI 466,653 8,277
30 Columbus, OH 1,997,890 8,220
31 Bloomington, IN 163,742 7,959
32 Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC 429,074 7,934
33 Boise City, ID 670,134 7,857
34 Provo-Orem, UT 575,826 7,742
35 Boulder, CO 313,815 7,689
36 Springfield, MO 449,552 7,656
37 Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 2,765,256 7,630
38 Colorado Springs, CO 689,493 7,506
39 Greeley, CO 281,704 7,273
40 Stockton-Lodi, CA 714,614 7,166
41 Tucson, AZ 995,337 7,116
42 Lubbock, TX 305,447 7,048
43 Champaign-Urbana, IL 235,213 7,041
44 Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL 563,261 6,939
45 Eugene, OR 360,062 6,829
46 Greenville, NC 174,391 6,758
47 Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL 644,914 6,749
48 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 5,632,204 6,156
49 Prescott, AZ 219,458 6,150
50 Ocala, FL 340,745 6,138

We live in a mobile society. There's nonstop movement from city to city within states and from one part of the country to another. For real estate professionals like you, this steady migration implies opportunity.

Generally, our population shift is to less populated but more affordable cities.Footnote1 If yours is a developing community, homebuyers are likely to increase. And even if your market is losing residents, you could grow your business by helping those looking to relocate sell their homes.

The map and table above represent the top metro markets in terms of net population gain, using the latest data available.Footnote2 While the map and table below indicate the metro markets with the largest net population loss, using the same data.Footnote2 Based on these trends, we can discern patterns of movement and speculate why Americans are on the move.

Net population gain - Top 10 metro markets (est. 2013-2017

Net population gain - Top 10 metro markets (est. 2013-2017

Metadata for "Net population loss": The title of this map is "Net population loss," from 2013 to 2017. This map of the United States shows the top ten metro markets in terms of net population loss over this time period. In order from the top metro markets, or cities, with the greatest loss to the least is: #1. Metro New York City, with the greatest loss; followed by #2 Metro Los Angeles; #3 Chicago; #4 Washington, D.C; #5 Detroit; #6 San Diego; #7 Miami; #8 Boston; #9 Philadelphia; and #10 Anchorage, Alaska.
Rank Metropolitan Statistical Area Population Estimate Estimated Net Migration
388 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 19,962,332 -231,565
387 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 13,109,281 -119,238
386 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 9,436,736 -112,316
385 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 6,013,617 -38,634
384 Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI 4,253,511 -31,975
383 San Diego-Carlsbad, CA 3,242,145 -30,172
382 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL 5,955,036 -28,760
381 Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH 4,720,372 -22,945
380 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 5,997,425 -22,347
379 Anchorage, AK 393,887 -19,676
378 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 4,592,293 -18,911
377 St. Louis, MO-IL 2,774,053 -16,515
376 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 1,946,787 -15,051
375 El Paso, TX 825,411 -14,391
374 Cleveland-Elyria, OH 2,040,893 -13,907
373 Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD 2,760,171 -13,473
372 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 3,481,744 -12,589
371 New Orleans-Metairie, LA 1,245,946 -10,549
370 Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 937,566 -9,492
369 Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI 1,557,003 -9,470
368 Honolulu, HI 977,026 -9,322
367 Pittsburgh, PA 2,323,809 -7,955
366 Aguadilla-Isabela, PR 312,667 -6,081
365 Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN 1,965,449 -5,815
364 Memphis, TN-MS-AR 1,326,547 -5,742
363 Brownsville-Harlingen, TX 414,137 -5,699
362 Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR 721,177 -5,583
361 McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX 825,922 -5,323
360 Kansas City, MO-KS 2,062,401 -5,319
359 Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN 1,262,870 -5,212
358 Flint, MI 406,319 -4,739
357 Wichita, KS 633,378 -4,732
356 Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY 1,123,891 -4,461
355 Laredo, TX 264,486 -4,287
354 Peoria, IL 372,426 -4,155
353 Mobile, AL 409,170 -4,039
352 Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT 1,201,223 -3,983
351 Shreveport-Bossier City, LA 438,470 -3,905
350 Ponce, PR 312,792 -3,788
349 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA 837,948 -3,742
348 Worcester, MA-CT 925,848 -3,684
347 Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA 901,514 -3,668
346 New Haven-Milford, CT 854,178 -3,652
345 Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL 378,269 -3,454
344 Tulsa, OK 965,293 -3,339
343 Elkhart-Goshen, IN 199,758 -3,275
342 Arecibo, PR 186,511 -3,270
341 Albuquerque, NM 895,065 -3,171
340 El Centro, CA 176,886 -2,987
339 Appleton, WI 230,215 -2,921

From this time period of 2013 through 2017, Metro Phoenix had the largest estimated net gain of around 44,000 residents a year, with the Riverside-San Bernardino metro area, just east of Los Angeles, in second with a 32,000 increase. At the other extreme, Greater New York City and Greater Los Angeles lost roughly 231,000 and 119,000 residents, respectively, each year.Footnote2

Populations are often relocating from north to south, from the more established, historic cities to newer, developing ones.Footnote2 Residents are being priced out of living in cities like New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.Footnote3 Tech companies are expanding to the business-friendly Sun Belt, which also results in the birth of secondary, service businesses as well as homegrown ventures that reflect the local food, music, fashion and craft scenes. Good examples of this drift are Austin, Orlando and Charlotte.Footnote1

This movement continues the decades-long migration of both retirees and a younger, educated workforce to warmer climes. The bottom line for the real estate market: every change of address equals a potential purchase or sale.

  1. 1 Metro-to-Metro Migration: Which US Metro Areas Are Winning?
  2. 2 U.S. Census Bureau, 2013-2017 American Community Survey
  3. 3 20 Most Expensive U.S. Cities to Live In

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