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The Suburbs Are Still Winning

By NAM News Room

People continue to move out of big cities, though not at the high rates seen in 2021, according to The Wall Street Journal’s reporting on population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau (subscription).

Where are they going? The areas experiencing the most growth are the suburbs of big cities and small and medium-sized metro areas. 

  • “The core counties of large metro areas had an estimated net loss of more than 800,000 movers to the rest of the country, but that was an improvement from a 1.2 million drop in the preceding year, the Journal analysis shows.”

The “doughnut effect”: “From the start of the pandemic in March 2020, through December 2021, [Stanford University economics professor Nicholas Bloom’s] research shows 58% of the households that moved from a central business district or high-density ZIP Codes in the U.S.’s 12 most-populated metropolitan areas landed in a suburb or exurb in that same region.”

  • Bloom refers to this as the “‘doughnut effect,’ with the hollowing out of city centers and growth suburban rings.”

Buoyed by immigration: Immigration is responsible, in part, for stemming the population decline in large cities.

  • “[T]he latest data shows a revival that has helped bolster large urban counties, with about 500,000 net arrivals from abroad last year.”

Florida for the win? And here’s an interesting data point—lots of people are heading to one specific state.

  • “Seven of the 10 fastest-growing metro areas are in Florida. The Villages, a sprawling retirement community in central Florida, saw the fastest pace at 7.5% and is now home to almost 145,000 people.”
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