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Here Are Three Top Places People are Moving To in the US and the Three They’re Moving Away From

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The population distribution in the US is reshuffling. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people gave large cities a wide berth. This was partially because of pandemic restrictions, cramped living spaces, and expensive rent. 

According to Census data, interstate migration rates are receding to pre-pandemic rates. However, the new trend of moving to smaller cities may last longer than expected. Population drain is still an issue for the nation’s largest cities, especially New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

One recurrent issue they all face is affordable housing. Despite climate change driving insurance rates above and beyond, the Sun Belt remains a big winner in attracting newcomers.

This is thanks to warmer weather, relatively affordable housing, low tax rates, and robust job growth. Smaller cities also offer a slower pace of life, which is very attractive for adults with children and senior citizens. 

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A recent public radio panel has noted that city life may lose its appeal for older generations. They always seek a place that offers safety, community, and more access to outdoor recreation.

People are still leaving California, Illinois, and New York in numbers as things stand. However, their departure rate is less than it was during the height of the pandemic. 

According to the Census Bureau, while more than 177,000 people left Los Angeles County between July 2020 and July 2021, that value dropped by almost 50% to under 91,000 the following year. 

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One thing that has been stemming the tide is the return-to-work mandates. New York County, New York, home to Manhattan, had a slight net gain, with nearly 3,000 people moving in.

According to data in the 2021 United Van Lines annual national movers study, work was the most common reason for moving in recent years. It is still at the top of the list, but relocating for work dropped nearly 19% from 2019 to 2021, while moving closer to family saw a significant increase in popularity.

It now ranks just .7% behind work-related moving. Moving closer to the family has advanced by nearly 13% since 2015 when work-related moving lagged by over 41%.

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Maricopa County, Arizona, home to Phoenix, remains the top spot on the list of fastest-growing counties in the country. Even though it has a reputation for brutally hot summers — in 2023, Phoenix residents endured a 31-day streak of temperatures 110 degrees or higher — its year-round warm climate has attracted many. 

Places with more people inflow also benefit from policies encouraging new housing development. According to the Chamber of Commerce, Houston in Harris County, Texas, is ranked first for the most unique home construction in 2023.

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