L.A. and other large cities are losing population as Sunbelt gains residents

Ko Im always hoped to live in New York for all her life. Ko Im was familiar with every part of Manhattan and had worked hard for a group of friends. She was living in a tiny apartment and noticed a shift in her attitude during the pandemic. She decided to follow her brother’s lead and move to Seattle when he accepted a job there in the summer 2020.

“It was fine until it wasn’t,”36. “The pandemic really changed my mindset about how I wanted to live or how I needed to live.”

Eighteen of the 10 largest American cities lost their population in the past decade. The pandemic’s first yearNew York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Chicago are the leaders. New York lost over 305,000 people between July 2020-2021, while Chicago and Los Angeles saw their population decline by 45,000 and respectively 40,000.

Although San Francisco’s not among the 10 largest cities, almost 55,000 residents left that city, or 6.3% of its 2020 population, the highest percentage of any U.S. city.

Only San Antonio, Phoenix, and Phoenix saw new residents among the 10 most populous U.S. cities. But, their population growth was less than 1%, according to the 2021 vintage population estimates.

Justin Jordan’s move to Phoenix a year ago was motivated by a job offer paying him more money than the one in Moundsville, West Virginia, where he had been living. He had to adapt to temperatures of 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 degrees Celsius) and unwieldy traffic.

“I love the weather, the atmosphere, and all the stuff to do,”Jordan, 33, is a senior operations manager at a business service firm.

The U.S.’s largest cities include Austin and Fort Worth (Texas), Jacksonville, Florida, Charlotte, North Carolina and Columbus, Ohio. They also saw modest population increases. Other cities that experienced a more than 5% increase were North Port, Florida and Port St. Lucie; Spring Hill in Tennessee; and three Idaho towns, Caldwell Meridian and Nampa.

The Census Bureau released its March report Estimates for counties and metro areas showing changes from mid-2020 to mid-2021. Thursday’s estimates provide a more detailed view. The March data, for instance, offer a more detailed perspective. showed metro Dallas had the largest population gain of any metro area in the U.S., adding more than 97,000 residents, but Thursday’s estimates show the city of Dallas lost almost 15,000 residents. Dallas suburbs such as Frisco, McKinney, and Plano saw the most growth.

There are many factors that can cause population changes in cities. These include housing costs, employment, births and death. The pandemic and the lockdown that followed in spring 2020 made living in a crowded city less appealing for a time, and those who could leave — workers who could do their jobs remotely, for example — sometimes did.

William Frey, Brookings Institution’s demographer, said that he believes the population drops in most large U.S. cities between 2020-2021. “short-lived and pandemic-related.”

The suburbs of the Sunbelt metro areas were the fastest-growing places with at least 50,000 inhabitants. These were Georgetown and Leander in Austin, Queen Creek, Casa Grande and Maricopa outside Phoenix, as well as Fort Myers and New Braunfels, Florida. They experienced growth rates between 6.1%-10.5%.

As metro Austin has grown by leaps and bounds, so has Georgetown, located more than 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of the Texas capital, said Keith Hutchinson, the city’s communications manager. The city has 75,000 people and grew 10.5% last year.

“It’s not really a surprise,”Hutchinson stated. “People are moving here for jobs.”

According to the estimates, there was also a drop in population in New Jersey cities beyond New York City like Union City, Hoboken, Bayonne and Bayonne. Similar declines were also observed outside San Francisco, in Redwood City, San Mateo and Daly City as well as Cupertino, Silicon Valley.

Lake Charles, Louisiana lost nearly 5% of residents to Hurricane Laura in 2020. It was the second-highest loss rate in the U.S., after San Francisco.

Although the storm of Category 4 was the driving force, other factors such as the pandemic allowed for people to move. Andrew Mazur, 31, wanted to leave Philadelphia to go to South Florida. He had been wishing to do so for some time. The opportunity to work remotely for a large, professional services company in November 2020 presented itself. He was one of nearly 25,000 people who moved out of Philadelphia between 2020-2021.

He now has to drive a car, but Mazur still loves to golf and go to the beach every weekend. He recently moved out of his parents’ home, getting his own apartment in Fort Lauderdale. He made the move official three weeks ago by obtaining a Florida driver’s license.

“I’m not going back. It has been great,” Mazur said. “Philly, New York, Chicago — tons of people from there are moving down here.”


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