The Cities People Are Moving to the Fastest in the U.S.

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Yes, before we get deeply into it, people are moving to Florida. In fact, seven of 10 of the population migration winners are located in the Sunshine State, and we’ll get to those stats shortly. But while the grass always looks greener—especially if your lawn is brown—there are things to consider before you just load up the truck.

“We Always Vacation There”

You really like going to that beach town, and after it became a once-a-year thing, you started going more frequently. The more weekends you spent there, the more you talked about living there. There were a lot of “wouldn’t it be great if…” conversations and finally you decided to make the move.

What you didn’t do was consider all of the areas of the city, looming construction projects, infrastructure concerns, and the lack of comprehensive medical care within a 30-minute driving radius. All of those issues were dwarfed by the chance to lay on the beach in your backyard. Soon, you wanted to take a vacation from your vacation spot. The moral here is to give it a true test run before you make the move.


Related: With Markets Shifting, Should You Invest in Real Estate Now—Or Wait to Buy?

“Our House Will Sell Super-Fast”

Just because other homes in your neighborhood have sold quickly doesn’t mean that the local real estate upward trend won’t come to a screeching halt. Yes, we agree that fear shouldn’t stop you from putting your home on the market, but talk to at least a few professionals before you make the move.

“Our Credit is Good Enough”

A client of ours was purchasing a condo in a Texas city in 2009. The economy was about to crash, but this area had seemed immune. Since all they could muster was a 620 credit score, financing began to get tough, and after three loans were literally cancelled, our clients had to put the property in their son’s name in order to purchase it. What seemed easy just a few days prior almost turned into an instant nightmare, so before you up-end your lives, make sure that you can actually get financing to buy your dream home.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about where people are moving.

  • Hurricanes or not, the Myrtle Beach, Conway, North Myrtle Beach South Carolina/North Carolina area posted a 3.57 percent gain in population last year as 16,372 persons moved there.
  • Lakeland-Winter Haven in central Florida was the next closest migration winner as its population increased by 2.22 percent. Since this Florida hotspot is more densely populated, the actual body increase was greater than the percentage as 19,465 persons moved there last year.
  • The Sarasota area is next on our list with a net gain of 1.99 percent. This is followed by Daytona and Melbourne, Florida with a gain of 1.98 percent.
  • Surprisingly, Boise, Idaho is next with a whopping 19,035 person net migration, or an increase of 1.96 percent.
  • Numbers seven eight and nine are all back to Florida with Ocala, Fort Myers, and Port St. Lucie all gaining 1.80 to 1.94 percent.
  • Oregon wins the number 10 spot as 6,465 people moved to Eugene—a city with stable apartment rents—translating into a 1.49 percent increase.

Related: 4 Steps to Take When Scaling Your Real Estate Business Into a New Market


  • The biggest loser was Honolulu, Hawaii as 13,473 left the area for a 1.36 percent loss.
  • The one won’t surprise a lot of you, but 5,176 people moved away from Anchorage, Alaska.
  • The third decliner was the San Jose, California area with a 1.29 percent population decrease.
  • Richard Pryor’s hometown of Peoria, Illinois saw 4,547 persons move, and Fayetteville, North Carolina lost 4,197 residents.
  • The final five net population declines were tightly bunched—as least by percentage. While the New York City metro area lost a seemingly large 208,863 residents, the net population decrease translated to only 1.03 percent.
  • Bridgeport, Connecticut, Chicago, Illinois, El Paso, Texas and Trenton New Jersey lost between .87 and .91 percent. Again, big city Chicago had the worst actual numbers with a loss of 85,177 inhabitants.

The trend is clear—with a few outliers—as warm-weather cities continued to gain population as rust-belt colder areas lost. It will be interesting to see if coastal hurricane-prone areas can still gain with the specter of seemingly more frequent destructive and intense storms.

Methodology: Information is based on data found here, which was sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau 2017 American Community Survey.

Are you seeing changes in your market? Would you consider investing in any of the on-the-rise locales above?

Comment below!

About Author

Sam Radbil

Sam Radbil is an author at ABODO apartments, an online apartment marketplace that helps renters find apartments all across the country. ABODO reports on rent rates, the changing of real estate markets and trends within the industry.


  1. Garrett Spegar

    What are your sources? What time frames are you using? It would be interesting if this was very recent as we are seeing a “cooling” of th market in the DFW. However, every stat and report I’ve read has indicated a population increase in Texas. In fact, DFW and Houston are consistantly 2 of the fastest growing areas in the country.

    I would definitely agree people are moving to the south!

  2. Gerald Joyce

    Chicago, is a strange situation. In the last census, it gained 100,000 residents with university degrees and lost 300,000 of its poorer resents. This brought the population from 2.8 million to 2.6 million. Gentrification is occurring in many neighborhoods in the city. What appears to be going on is what we have seen in cities like San Francisco, where rents are rising quickly and the industrial type jobs have dried up, causing working class residents to leave…….but knowledge workers are moving into the city and staying. Ultimately, these cities become increasingly gentrified, but have less population density than they did when they were more working class.

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