Though a single geographic and political entity, the United States is also a patchwork of varying state and local laws, spread across the third largest landmass of any country in the world. Indeed, Americans have options when deciding where to live. Variables such as topography, climate, tax code, and cost of living — in addition to proximity to family and friends — can all play a role.
The factors that make one part of the country preferable to another as a place to live and raise a family vary from one person to the next. However, some U.S. cities are demonstrably more attractive to new residents than others.
The U.S. population grew from 309.3 million in 2010 to 325.7 million in 2017, a 5.3% increase. In some U.S. metro areas, the population grew at triple the nationwide rate over the same period. Meanwhile, in other metro areas, the population actually declined — by several percentage points in some cases.
Population change is the product of two factors — net migration and natural growth. Natural growth is simply the number of births over a given period less the number of deaths. Net migration is the difference between the number of new residents — either from other parts of the country or from abroad — and the number of residents who have left the area.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the percentage change in population between 2010 and 2017 in 382 U.S. metro areas to identify the fastest growing, and shrinking, American cities. Over that period, some cities lost over 5% of their population, while others expanded by well over 20%.