Special Report

This Is the American City the Most People Are Leaving

Despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic presented, Americans have continued to migrate from city to city in the past year and a half. Some cities have attracted new residents, while others have seen departures of local residents. The American city the most people are leaving is Nassau-Suffolk, New York. (On the other hand, these are the states that will grow the most in the next 20 years.)

One reason for the continued migration nationwide is mortgage rates were at the lowest levels in decades (though that has changed recently as interest rates have spiked). Another reason has been the desire to move from expensive coastal cities such as New York and San Francisco to less expensive cities inland. Ironically, this has pushed up prices in many smaller metros.

The primary catalyst of moves in the past year and half is the work-from-home lifestyle driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies were forced to clear out offices because of the virus. Some of these companies have decided to allow workers to work wherever they would like.

United Van Lines tracks which cities and states people are leaving and which they are going to in its Annual National Movers Study, which it has published for 45 years. The research is based on the number of households United Van Lines has moved. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the study to find the 20 metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of outbound moves in 2021. A metro area had to have more than 100 moves to be considered.

Commenting on the results, Michael A. Stoll, economist and professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, said, “This new data from United Van Lines is indicative of COVID-19’s impact on domestic migration patterns, with 2021 bringing an acceleration of moves to smaller, midsized towns and cities.” (These are the 16 states where the population shrank since the pandemic started.)

One trend the study shows is that the cities people are leaving tend to be concentrated around New York City. The city with the highest percentage of departures is Nassau-Suffolk, which is east of the city on Long Island. Departures accounted for 79% of total moves. Of the 12 metropolitan areas with the highest outbound moves, seven are in the New York City area.

These are the 20 cities Americans are moving out of the fastest

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