It’s not all about the bright lights and big city. For the first time since the financial crisis, Americans are moving to the outer suburbs at a faster rate than they are to the city core. Americans are also moving from North to South once again, another traditional movement pattern that has started once again. Paul Overberg writes:
Central counties of metropolitan areas grew 0.7% last year while outlying counties grew 1%, according to new Census Bureau population estimates for the year that ended July 1.
After two years of roughly comparable growth, this marked the first time since the recession that outer suburbs clearly outgrew central cities and inner suburbs. As recently as 2012, central counties grew 0.9% and outlying counties, just 0.5%.
A combination of economic and demographic trends contributed to the shift, said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution. He said much of it can be traced to growing migration losses by central counties as job gains spread to more areas and industries. That has triggered recession-delayed movement by millennials establishing themselves and their families, he said.
The shift spells good news for Sun Belt metros that had seen strong migration from the North cut sharply since the housing-market collapse and recession of 2007-09. Las Vegas lost 5,000 movers more than it gained in 2011, but last year gained a net 28,000. Phoenix saw a gain of 4,000 in 2011 balloon to 51,000 last year. In Florida, many metros saw migration gains dip from 2015 but remain at more than twice the levels of 2011-13, including Tampa, Jacksonville, Deltona-Daytona Beach, Lakeland, Palm Bay and Port St. Lucie.
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