Special Report

Cities Americans Are Flocking To

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20. Raleigh, NC
> Population change due to migration, 2010-2019: +16.0% (+180,756)
> Overall population change, 2010-2019: +23.0% (+260,292)
> Change in employed population, 2010-2019: +31.2% (+168,178)
> 2019 population estimate: 1,390,785

Raleigh, North Carolina is one of just 20 American metro areas with a population increase of at least 16% due to migration from 2010 to 2019. It is the metro area in North Carolina that has grown the fastest from migration.

Many people have likely moved to Raleigh because of its strong economy. The metro area has a median household income over $75,000, compared with the U.S. median of just under $62,000. Raleigh also has a poverty rate of 8.9%, well below the 13.3% rate nationwide.

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19. Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL
> Population change due to migration, 2010-2019: +16.1% (+38,062)
> Overall population change, 2010-2019: +20.7% (+48,939)
> Change in employed population, 2010-2019: +19.0% (+19,934)
> 2019 population estimate: 284,809

With a 16.1% increase to its 2010 population due to migration, the Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin metro area is one of a dozen areas in Florida with a large influx of people relative to its size. Over 38,000 more people moved to this part of the Florida panhandle than moved away from it between 2010 and 2019.

The Destin metro area has consistently had a lower annual unemployment rate each year since 2010. In 2019, its unemployment rate was a full percentage point lower than the U.S. rate. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has a relatively low share of its labor force out of work, reporting an 11.3% unemployment rate for May 2020, compared with the 13.3% rate nationwide.

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18. Coeur d’Alene, ID
> Population change due to migration, 2010-2019: +16.7% (+23,102)
> Overall population change, 2010-2019: +19.7% (+27,231)
> Change in employed population, 2010-2019: +25.9% (+15,912)
> 2019 population estimate: 165,697

From 2010 to 2019, 23,102 more people moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho than moved away from it — a 16.7% increase from the 2010 population. Overall, the population of this part of Idaho’s panhandle increased by 19.7%, when taking into account births and deaths.

However, despite Coeur d’Alene’s population growth, its international migration was actually negative. This means that more people moved away from Coeur d’Alene to another country than moved to it from abroad.

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17. Port St. Lucie, FL
> Population change due to migration, 2010-2019: +16.8% (+71,121)
> Overall population change, 2010-2019: +15.4% (+65,190)
> Change in employed population, 2010-2019: +23.9% (+40,728)
> 2019 population estimate: 489,297

Port St. Lucie is on the east coast of Florida, roughly between Orlando and Miami. Over 71,000 more people moved to the metro area than moved away from it — a 16.8% increase compared with the 2010 population.

Like many of the metro areas on this list, particularly those in Florida, Port St. Lucie has a relatively large population of people aged 65 and older, at 26.5%. This is a higher percentage than all but a dozen other metro areas, indicating it is a popular place for Americans to retire.

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16. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL
> Population change due to migration, 2010-2019: +16.8% (+99,352)
> Overall population change, 2010-2019: +13.2% (+78,077)
> Change in employed population, 2010-2019: +18.6% (+45,584)
> 2019 population estimate: 668,365

Nearly 100,000 more people moved to the Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach metro area in Florida than moved away from it over the past decade. This resulted in a 16.8% increase in the 2010 population due to migration.

In spite of this, the overall population only increased 13.2% — this is because the area reported nearly 74,000 deaths, compared with just over 52,000 births during that time period. This is likely because of the relatively large number of seniors in the Daytona metro area — 25.6% of residents are 65 or older, as compared with 16.0% of all Americans.