Packing Up: Where People Are Moving In and Out

Large, expensive U.S. metros were more likely to lose residents this summer.

Image
Flickr/TheMuuj

One very simple but important indicator of urban prosperity is domestic migration: where people are moving from and to within the U.S. It's a classic example of people "voting with their feet," and tracking how the masses move can tell us a lot about our national economy and our local economies. The U.S. Census bureau has a pretty good idea of how this domestic migration plays out, based on its various questionnaires and surveys. But when it comes to tracking exactly where these people are migrating from and to, ask the people driving the moving trucks.

In a new analysis of residential moves over the summer months, the moving company United Van Lines has identified six major cities where more people are moving in than out:

  • San Jose, California
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Houston, Texas
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Phoenix, Arizona

On the other end, four cities saw more people moving out than in:

  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • New York, New York
  • Boston, Massachusetts

The trend here is one that's been playing out for years: more people are moving to areas where housing is cheap and jobs are plentiful, especially in the so-called Sun Belt. With the exception of St. Louis, a city that has undergone decades of economic decline, the cities on the list with more people moving out than in are hardly in economic trouble. But for Chicago, New York, and Boston, the imbalance of more people moving out should raise some concerns. As housing prices become unaffordable for middle class people, the economic diversity of cities like these will decline even further than it already has. These domestic migration trends may be an issue of people voting with their feet, but those decisions really come from the pocketbook.

Top image credit: Flickr user TheMuuj

About the Author

  • Nate Berg is a freelance reporter and a former staff writer for CityLab. He lives in Los Angeles.