Economy

This City Lost the Most Residents in 2021

Americans have moved from city to city frequently during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are several reasons. Among them is that some people want to leave the large expensive cities on the coasts, which include San Francisco and New York, for smaller cities inland.

The ability to relocate has been helped by two trends. One is historically low mortgage rates. The rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage dropped below 3%. (The period ended quickly. Mortgage rates have risen above 5%). Another reason for newfound mobility is the fact that more and more people can work from home. Some companies that shuttered their offices because of the pandemic may never open them again.

To identify the city that lost the most residents, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed metropolitan area population data from the Census Bureau’s Vintage 2021 estimates of population and components of change. Metro areas were ranked by the percent change in population from July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021, due to migration alone.

In that time, metropolitan areas centered around New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago lost a combined 825,998 people due to net domestic migration. Several metro areas with populations of over 1 million people, including San Diego, Boston, Washington and Miami each lost tens of thousands of residents in that 12-month period.

By far, California has been most affected by this exodus. The San Jose and San Francisco metro areas lost 2.5% and 2.6% of their populations, respectively, in the 12 months to July 2021. Smaller California cities like Napa and Salinas also experienced significant population declines due to more people moving out of these areas than moving in.

The city that lost the most people last year was Lake Charles, Louisiana. Here are the details:

> Pct. change due to migration, 2020 to 2021: -5.3%
> Net domestic migration, 2020 to 2021: -11,914
> Net international migration, 2020 to 2021: +90
> Total population, 2021: 210,362


Click here to see all the cities that lost the most people in 2021.

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