With the pandemic facilitating remote work and allowing more Americans to move to places away from their jobs, some are taking the opportunity to move to more desired areas, be it for warmer weather or more affordable housing markets and cost of living. With rising inflation and other challenges Americans are flocking to cities that meet their evolving needs.
The U.S. Census Bureau determined that in 2021, over 27 million Americans moved to a different residence. While the 2021 U.S. moving rate of 8.4% is lower than in recent years, Americans are still on the move. In a survey of 1,000 Americans who changed residence in 2021, Move.org found that many were seeking better weather, lower taxes, and a lower cost of living. (These are the cities with the cheapest rent.)
To identify the 25 cities Americans are flocking to, 24/7 Wall St. used population data from the Census Bureau’s Population and Housing Unit Estimates Program, ranking metropolitan areas based on the percentage change in population due to net migration between July 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021. Net migration refers to the difference between the number of people moving into an area and the number of people moving out of the area during a specific time period.
Of the 50 states, a resounding leader emerges — Florida. More than half the cities Americans are flocking to are located in the Sunshine State. Remote work opportunities allow employees to enjoy the perks of beach-front locales, recreation opportunities year-round, and a lower cost of living. Not to mention, Florida has no personal income tax and relatively low home values. Six of the eight housing markets on the list with a median home value lower than $200,000 are in Florida, with Sebring-Avon Park, at No. 11, the lowest with a median of $120,500.
Many of the cities Americans are flocking to are sunnier destinations. No. 21, Lake Havasu City-Kingman, Arizona, has 290 average days of sunshine per year, well above the national average of 205 sunny days. In fact, 22 cities on the list have more days of sunshine than average, according to the site, Best Places to Live. Americans are also opting for beach living. Over half the cities Americans are moving to are located within driving distance of a beach. (These are the best American cities for hiking in 2022.)
A retiring baby boomer generation may also contribute to migratory shifts in the United States. The No. 1 city Americans are flocking to is The Villages, Florida, with a population increase of 5.4%. This census-designated city is an active adult retirement community. According to the Census Bureau, 84% of the city’s population is 65 and older. The community boasts a variety of recreational activities, performing arts centers, fitness classes, and access to health care.
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