Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
The population of the United States is shifting quickly to the South and Southwest, with non-coastal states being the big draw as middle classes escape big cities for a lower cost of living.
Winners, according to the latest migration report from the U.S. Census Bureau released in April, were Florida, Arizona and Nevada — if gaining the most residents is winning — while the big losers were New York, California and Illinois.
The government agency measured domestic migration — only movement within the United States, so no, nothing to do with Immigration — from 1990 to 2000 and from 2000 to 2004. “White flight” is no more as the demographic shifts also include Hispanics, Blacks and other ethnic groups.
Florida had the largest overall influx annually, counting 190,894 more residents in the post-census period from 2000 to 2004 per year on average, with second-place Arizona hitting about a third of that with 66,344, and Nevada coming in below that with 50,803 migrating residents. Other gainers were Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington, although the numbers trickle down drastically with Washington gaining a mere 13,354.
Among losing states, people ran from New York, which lost 182,886 residents on average each of the four years. California lost 99,039 people each year, and third-place Illinois lost 71,854 residents. Other losers, from most to least, were Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan, Louisiana, Kansas and Utah, with Utah only losing 9,495.
The South remained the primary destination for migrants, the report stated with average net migration of 353,000 annually.
But top metro areas don’t necessarily match with regions that gained the most. Riverside County in Southern California, a short drive from mountains and beaches but out of the teeming Los Angeles basin, attracted the most new residents and has grown to become the 13th-largest metro area in the nation. Other metro areas that gained the most on average were: Phoenix; Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.; Atlanta; and Dallas-Fort Worth.
To access the entire report with maps and charts, click here.