Published on: August 11, 2020
BY TED C. JONES, PH.D.
Every time a household moves out of a city, another locale is the recipient. As discussed in the previous Stewart Blog, the level of departures by people moving from an area is not equal across the country. Nor are destination rates equal – neither in percentages or among the reason(s) for moving. Those moving for retirement add even more variables to the equation. An aging Boomer population that moves for retirement may not at all care about employment opportunities, but rather is dependent on other quality-of-life and cost-of-living factors. This was all before the Coronavirus impact -- which is yet to sort out the new winners and losers.
24/7 Wall Street ranked the 25 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) with the greatest population gain arising from migration from 2010-2019 (latest data available). Unlike the metros with the largest decline (driven mostly by the lack of jobs), the cities with the largest increase included economic factors (such as available jobs, a lower-cost-of-living, and/or more favorable taxes) and also variables attractive to retirees – such as climate and recreation activities.
The 25 top-destination cities are shown in the following table based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program. Florida (at least pre-Coronavirus) was the big winner, making up one-half of the destinations (12 of the top 25)/ Each of the top-25 had a minimum 15 percent population growth rate due to migration. South Carolina had three metros, with Texas and Idaho two each.
Some of the trends seen in the top 25 have already changed. Midland, Texas, for example, was booming given comparatively high oil & gas prices, as 34 percent of all jobs in 2019 were oil & gas-based in the MSA, contrasted to less than 0.5 percent nationwide. From February 2020 to the employment trough, the Midland MSA lost one-out-of-every five jobs (19.8 percent) -- the 36th greatest loss rate across all 437 MSAs and Divisions due to lower oil & gas prices. See the Stewart Blog at http://blog.stewart.com/stewart/2020/08/04/msa-division-job-performance-february-to-june-2020/
To read the entire 24/7 Wall Street study click https://247wallst.com/special-report/2020/07/31/cities-americans-are-flocking-to-3/?utm_source=247WallStDailyNewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DailyNewsletter&utm_content=AUG042020a
Early on in the Pandemic, states including Florida and Texas looked as potential large gaining markets. But the recent surge in confirmed cases may or may not change those initial expectations. Hear-say points to an accelerated migration from urban centers to the suburbs, smaller cities and rural markets. That remains speculation until hard metrics become available.
My bet is on an acceleration to states with more favorable taxation – a trend well underway prior to Coronavirus. Time and statistics, however, will tell.