The U.S. Net Migration Report, Big Regions 2010-2018 takes a granular look at the inflows and outflows taking place across America’s ten largest metropolitan areas. Not all growth is created equal. And people vote with their feet. Migration trends offer insight into why a given region is growing or declining. Looking at migration patterns helps local officials adjust housing regulations. Real estate & hospitality investors can also use migration data to support growth strategy. Population inflows and outflows also tell brands a lot about the character and vibe of a particular destination. In short, desirable places to live tend to be desirable places to visit. So what do the data tell us?
Regions covered: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C.
The New York-Newark-Jersey City area lost over 100,000 of its residents in 2018, despite the region’s momentum as a global technology hub. Total population declined for the first time in 2017. Various sources point to cost of living as the leading cause of net out-migration. Artists and younger generations are moving out and on to more affordable regions. International inflows remained steady during the time series, and largely contributed to the region’s net population growth between 2010 and 2018.
As with most major metropolitan areas in the south and western regions of the United States, the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land area experienced a net influx of domestic and international migrants between 2010 and 2018. The region was a top performer based on percentage growth compared to the nine other regions analyzed in this report. Total percentage growth at 17.7 percent scaled high above the national growth rate of 5.7 percent during this time series. Net migration figures appear to have slowed in beginning in 2017.
The Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area lost some residents as a result of out-migration, but net migration totals were in the green through 2018. Strong international migration led to a regional growth rate of over ten percent for the time series. Net population gains also slowed. Domestic out-migration shifted to the red beginning in 2014.
Chicago’s total population grew just 0.3 percent during the time series. Heavy outflows contributed to lagging overall growth. Illinois lost the most people out of any state in 2017. High business and property taxes and all-around rising cost of living have been blamed for slower than average growth. Total population peaked for the region in 2014 reaching 7.35 million.