According to the Census Bureau, between 2010 and 2020, the nation’s urban population increased by 6.4%. That doesn’t indicate a rush to the big city as much as it is a result in the way the government now classifies urban areas, which are defined as densely developed residential and urban areas and accounted for 80% of the nation’s population at the turn of the decade.
Interesting, perhaps, but not particularly useful. After all, a lot has happened since 2020 — a pandemic, for one thing — that has changed the course of human behavior, perhaps forever.
More recently, Census reported that between 2020 and 2021, 251 of the country’s 384 metropolitan statistical areas — about two-thirds of them — experienced population increases, albeit small ones. Almost that many exhibited positive net domestic migration and 92% showed positive net international migration.
Again, interesting, but not terribly helpful to lenders, brokers and agents trying to get ahead of the flow, or at least go with it. However, in what could be an indication of people eventually looking for larger places to live or places more in tune with raising families, 213 MSAs — 56% — registered natural population decreases, meaning there were more deaths than births.
To dig deeper into the natural order, consider the latest statistics from United Van Lines, which claims to be America’s No. 1 mover of household goods. Released early this year, the 46th annual national movers study confirmed what many others have said, mainly that folks are heading to lower-density areas.
The report, which tracks only United’s state-to-state migration patterns, found that for the second consecutive year, Vermont saw the highest share — 77% — of inbound residents. Oregon was next at 67%, followed by Rhode Island, South Carolina, Delaware, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., South Dakota, New Mexico and Alabama.
Of these top 10 inbound states, four — Vermont, Oregon, South Dakota and New Mexico — are among the least densely populated states in America, with fewer than 100 people per square mile. And two others — South Dakota and New Mexico — are among the top 10. Regionally, Southeastern states continued to see the highest percentage of in-bound movers.