David Miller
by David Miller
Thu Mar 19th 2009 at 8:12am UTC

WSJ: U.S. Migration Drops Sharply

Conor Dougherty over at the WSJ highlights the slowdown in movement of people in the U.S. The article makes use of data being released today and covers the one-year period up until July 2008 – so the most severe/recent parts of this recession are not included. There are some interesting migration numbers from areas as diverse as Cleveland and Phoenix. From the piece:

Older metro areas such as New York and San Francisco, which have seen residents move to faster-growing areas, are now losing fewer people. Cities in the formerly hot housing markets such as Nevada and Florida are seeing fewer arrivals and, in some cases, more people moving out than in.

At the local level, more people are staying in the city and postponing their move to the suburbs. In 2005-06, metropolitan areas with one million or more people saw a net 688,000 people leave their core counties. In 2007-08, a net 336,000 left, according to an analysis of Census data by Kenneth Johnson, senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute.

“Fewer people are leaving the urban cores to go to the suburbs,” said Mr. Johnson.

Decisions like his help explain why a net 15,000 people left the Cleveland area for somewhere else in the U.S. in 2007-2008, compared with a net of 21,000 between 2005 and 2006. Sarasota, meanwhile, saw a net increase of 2,500 residents from inside the U.S., compared with as many as 20,000 during the boom years.

Interesting stuff. What is clear is that, like everything else in our modern economy, changes can be sharp; from major capital positions (Madoff’s billions) to human capital movement.

Btw, part of me wonders if less people are leaving the cities because they are trapped under high priced urban real estate? That concept has been discussed here. Any thoughts on any of the new data?

7 Responses to “WSJ: U.S. Migration Drops Sharply”

  1. Steven Savage Says:

    I’d add one factor in staying in the urban areas is that there’s a few factors:
    1) Conveniences to decrease expenditure such as public transportation.
    2) More job availability (depending on area).
    3) More access to many services.

    These may be factors. I know when I moved to a semi-urban area, we found that despite an increase in rent, the overall gains far outstripped this (for a change, three people could be in a one-car household)

  2. Liza Sabater Says:

    Btw, part of me wonders if less people are leaving the cities because they are trapped under high priced urban real estate?

    i can tell you anecdotally that for people living in rent-stabilized apartments in the city it is almost impossible to move out unless we leave the whole region. i have a two bedroom, but have neighbors who have raised 2-4 kids in RS 1BRs –and we’re all in gray/white collar jobs. barely any working class folks left here in the Easy Village of NYC.

    somewhere in my NYC politics blog, The Daily Gotham [ http://dailygotham.com ] I posted a study about this particular issue, but that was sometime back in 2005-2007, when the real estate market was getting out of control.

  3. Liza Sabater Says:

    LOL! that should have been EAST Village, not easy!

  4. Buzzcut Says:

    but that was sometime back in 2005-2007, when the real estate market was getting out of control.

    Getting? It’s been out of control since the ’80s!

    What’s it like raising 4 kids in a 1BR? How do you GET 4 kids when you’re living in a 1BR?!? Kind of hard to be… intimate.

  5. Swordsman Says:

    EVERYTHING has been getting out of control since the 80s…

  6. Shane Says:

    I would love to see what the impact would be if we allowed full labor mobility between the US and Canada. I personally think it would help some of the Sun Belt states get out of their real estate death spiral with Snowbirds buying up homes… I wonder why Obama hasn’t thought of that yet?

  7. Greg Says:

    The change is a return to normalcy. Domestic migration had increased greatly during the housing bubble because it was easier to sell and buy houses. No longer.

    http://www.newgeography.com/content/00690-special-report-domestic-migration-bubble-and-widening-dispersion-new-metropolitan-area