Cities Americans Are Abandoning

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Each year, roughly 40 million Americans, or about 14% of the U.S. population, move at least once. Much of that movement includes younger people relocating within cities, but it is trends of Americans moving to warmer climates, more affordable areas, and better job opportunities that have largely determined migration patterns in recent decades.

Because of those long-term patterns, as well as the recent period of economic recovery, cities in some parts of the country have lost tens of thousands of residents.

To find the 50 U.S. metropolitan areas that have had the largest net decline in population as a result of migration between 2010 and 2017, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program.

The 50 cities where the most people are moving away from can primarily be found in the Northeast, Midwest, and West Coast, particularly in states like Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and New York. Among the cities where people are leaving in droves are places such as Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, New York, and Los Angeles.

William Frey, demographer at the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy research group, explained that these cities that have been losing thousands of residents due to migration are part of the long-term trend of movement from the Northeast and the Midwest to warmer climates, a trend that has increased in recent years.

“The story of the broader migration pattern in the U.S. is from Snow Belt to Sun Belt,” Frey said. “That migration has slowed a little bit in the early part of the decade, when we were still dealing with the aftermath of the recession, but it’s coming back.”

Click here to see the cities Americans are abandoning.
Click here to see the cities Americans are flocking to.
Click here to read our detailed findings and methodology.