Where Are Americans Moving?

September 3, 2015

New data from the Census shows that nearly 20 percent of all movers in the United States and Puerto Rico relocated to a different metropolitan area in the last year. This marks the first time that the Census Bureau has released data for migration flows between metro areas from the American Community Survey.

Overall, the largest migration flow was from the Los Angeles metro area to the Riverside, Calif., metro area, which saw 90,494 movers. The migration from Riverside to Los Angeles was the second-largest with 54,700 movers, and New York to Philadelphia saw 27,000 movers.

According to the Census, metro migration data can be useful for city planners and members of the local government, as well as local businesses to track residential turnover in their area so they can plan for new infrastructure projects and programs to accommodate new residents and employers.

These are the areas with the biggest population gains:

  1. Travis County (Austin) Texas: 26, 883
  2. Harris County (Houston) Texas: 8,596
  3. Maricopa County (Phoenix) Ariz.: 7,586
  4. Fort Bend County (Houston) Texas: 6,259
  5. Lee County (Monterey) Calif.: 6,053
  6. Clark County (Las Vegas) Nev.: 5,915
  7. Palm Beach County Fla.: 5,768
  8. Bexar County (San Antonio) Texas: 4,746
  9. Riverside County Calif.: 4,641
  10. Denton County, Texas: 4,626

How do these migration patterns impact the flow of money in the largest metro areas? Livability.com combined the Census data with IRS data and found that besides Texas and Phoenix, popular retirement areas in Florida like Sarasota County and Collier County gained the most money, along with Douglas County in Colorado, which has seen an increase in money due to Denver's high-end suburbs.

As for the areas with the biggest losses of money, "Many of the biggest losers are places of high per-capita income so it makes sense that as people leave they take those big piles of cash with them," says Matt Carmichael, editor at Livability.com. "It’s yet another sign of the income inequality issues facing our nation that a county with low net loss of people (roughly 125 in San Francisco County) can mean a loss of so much money ($865 million)."

Source: "Who's moving where: 2015 edition," Livability.com (Sept. 2, 2015) and Census.gov.