Where did they really go??
Most Movers Didn’t Go Far. More Americans Are Leaving Cities, But Don’t Call It an Urban Exodus
Story by Marie Patino, Aaron Kessler and Sarah Holder
Graphics by Jackie Gu and Mira Rojanasakul
April 26, 2021
Date: 6/30/2021 8:15:45 PM ( 11 mon ) ... viewed 271 times
Most Movers Didn’t Go Far
0.28% Leaving metro/micro area altogether
Within the same state
Within the same
To top 50
Percentages are calculated as an average of top 50 most populated metro areas. “To top 50 metro area” represents moving to another one of the most populated metros.
Source: USPS, U.S. Census Bureau
Across the U.S., the number of people making moves that they defined as permanent was up a modest 3% between March 2020 and February 2021. Even with that increase, national migration rates are likely still at historic lows. But zoom in to a few of America’s densest and most expensive metro regions and the picture is more dramatic, with the percentage increase in moves well into the double digits.
Those Americans who did move accelerated a trend that predates the pandemic: Dense core counties of major U.S. metro areas saw a net decrease in flow into the city, while other suburbs and some smaller cities saw net gains. In other words, people moved outward. Outward to the suburbs of their own core metro area, but also farther out, to satellite cities or even other major urban centers that might still give people proximity to their region. As CityLab contributor Richard Florida has noted, the pandemic compressed into a matter of months moves that might have happened in the next few years anyway.
Metro Areas That Lost and Gained During the Pandemic 👆
Nationwide, areas adjacent to urban centers saw more people moving in than moving out, compared to per-pandemic levels
In the New York metro area, 100 people left the city for every 84 people who moved in.
In the small county around Hudson, 197 people moved in for every 100 moving out. It was the largest increase in our analysis.
In Stockton, for every 100 people moving out, 112 were coming in.
Note: Map shows the percentage change in inflow/outflow ratios during the pandemic compared to the year prior. Ratios are the number of people moving in divided by the number moving out. The map only shows metro areas with over 1,000 moves in and 1,000 moves out during both periods.
Source: USPS, U.S. Census Bureau
These trends matter to cities as they reckon with the pandemic’s economic fallout. Migration patterns can affect housing prices, tax revenue, job opportunities and cultural vibrancy.
There are signs already that the movement of the past 12 months may prove to be a momentary spike in long-term trends, in a year when the number of new people moving in to cities was stalled by lockdowns, a flagging economy, delayed college starts and immigration restrictions. But the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City region stood out for more dramatic shifts. In different ways, these two regions saw far more movement than in years past, even as the growth of these regions had already begun to reverse before the pandemic.
“The phrase or the concept of urban exodus, that really only applies to New York and San Francisco,” said Stephan D. Whitaker, a policy economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland who’s been analyzing migration patterns during the pandemic.
Urban Areas Lost Residents As Suburban Ones Gained 👆
Covid accelerated per-existing trends: In most urban counties, more people moved out than in. The opposite was true in suburban ones
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