This week we present another of our animated charts. This one looks at which cities Americans have been moving to, from 2010 through 2018.
Population growth is a key factor in business and where business takes place. Entrepreneurs and innovators often follow population shifts, or even lead them. Population growth results from increases due to births and people moving in, minus deaths and people moving out. Those movers can be further divided into domestic migrants and international migrants.
Our chart shows the twenty most popular metropolitan areas for domestic migration in each year from 2010 through 2018. In prior years, larger metropolitan areas like New York and Los Angeles also showed growth, but in recent years any growth they have shown comes from people moving to the United States from other countries (international migration). Those migrants often first live in better-known and better-established cities.
Domestic migration – the movement of Americans who already live here – tells a different story. The “sunbelt” grows stronger and stronger. While huge metropolitan areas like Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, and Atlanta continue to grow, today smaller urban areas including Charlotte, Austin, Tampa, and Raleigh-Durham are on the rise. They are particularly strong relative to their smaller starting populations. Such rapid relative growth can also stress the local infrastructure and increase housing prices.
People vote with their feet. Sunbelt states overall offer stronger economies, more job opportunities, better weather, and lower taxes. These trends may have political implications, as “blue state” residents move to “red” states, perhaps making them more “purple.”
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Executive Director, American Business History Center