Special Report

Cities Americans Are Flocking To

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10. Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL
> Population change due to migration, 2010-2019: +20.3% (+27,992)
> Overall population change, 2010-2019: +15.9% (+21,895)
> Change in employed population, 2010-2019: +19.1% (+10,101)
> 2019 population estimate: 159,923

The Sebastian-Vero Beach, Florida metro area is one of just 10 urban centers in which the population has increased by over 20% due to migration between 2010 and 2019.

Of the area’s nearly 160,000 residents, 32.6% are 65 or older — the fifth highest share in the country. It is one of several southern metro areas that thousands of seniors have chosen to retire in, but its improving job market has likely also drawn in new residents as well. In 2010, the Sebastian metro area had an unemployment rate of 13.9%, well above the 9.6% U.S. rate. But by 2019, the area’s unemployment rate was 3.8%, nearly in line with the national rate.

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9. Austin-Round Rock, TX
> Population change due to migration, 2010-2019: +20.7% (+355,902)
> Overall population change, 2010-2019: +29.8% (+510,760)
> Change in employed population, 2010-2019: +39.2% (+338,914)
> 2019 population estimate: 2,227,083

The population of the Austin-Round Rock, Texas metro area grew by 20.7% due to migration alone in the past decade — an increase of nearly 356,000 people. Of the 10 cities with the highest population increases due to migration from 2010 to 2019, the Austin area is the only one that does not have an outsized share of senior citizens. In fact, just 10.8% of Austin residents are 65 or older, compared with 16.0% of Americans overall. Just 13 other metro areas have a lower share of seniors.

The Texas capital’s strong economy has likely attracted thousands of people to the area. Austin has consistently had a much lower unemployment rate than the U.S. overall over the past decade, and its median household income of nearly $77,000 is well above the U.S. median of $61,937.

Source: Chris Pruitt / Wikimedia Commons

8. Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, AL
> Population change due to migration, 2010-2019: +21.3% (+38,880)
> Overall population change, 2010-2019: +22.5% (+40,969)
> Change in employed population, 2010-2019: +26.0% (+19,555)
> 2019 population estimate: 223,234

The population of the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley metro area increased by over 20% due to migration over the past decade, as nearly 39,000 more people moved to the area than moved away from it.

The Daphne area is not especially affluent, as its median household income is $56,813, compared with the U.S. median of $61,937. Yet just 8.9% of the area is impoverished, compared with 13.1% of all Americans.

Source: Eddie Maloney from North Las Vegas, USA / Wikimedia Commons

7. St. George, UT
> Population change due to migration, 2010-2019: +21.7% (+29,998)
> Overall population change, 2010-2019: +28.6% (+39,441)
> Change in employed population, 2010-2019: +45.2% (+22,985)
> 2019 population estimate: 177,556

Because of the influx of new people moving to the St. George, Utah metro area, its population grew by nearly 30,000 in the past decade, a 21.7% increase. This is by far the largest percentage increase of anywhere in Utah and one of the largest gains in the country.

The number of people working in St. George increased 45.2% from 2010 to 2019, the second highest share of any U.S. metro area. This was likely driven by a combination of the population influx and the improving job market. St. George’s 2010 annual unemployment rate was 10.5%. By 2019, it had declined to 3.0%.

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

6. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL
> Population change due to migration, 2010-2019: +22.8% (+160,197)
> Overall population change, 2010-2019: +19.2% (+134,683)
> Change in employed population, 2010-2019: +28.4% (+79,095)
> 2019 population estimate: 836,995

Over 160,000 more people moved to the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metro area of Florida from 2010 to 2019 than moved away from it — a 22.8% increase over the 2010 population. In the North Port metro area, 32.2% of residents are 65 or older — more than double the U.S. rate — which indicates this part of Florida is an attractive place for retirees.

But the economic conditions of the area have likely attracted new residents as well. Few job markets have improved as much as that of the North Port metro area. From 2010 to 2019, its unemployment rate declined 8.4 percentage points, compared with the U.S. decline of 5.9 percentage points.