Migration—both domestic and international—is the most important factor influencing population change within American communities. New Census Bureau data shows how migration has impacted population change in U.S. counties. (Metro data will be released at a later date).
Figure 1 displays the components of population change for 2022 and total change for 2021 in 20 large counties. This highlights continued population movement toward the Sun Belt, such as Collin County (Dallas metro) and Intermountain West, such as Maricopa (Phoenix) and Clark (Las Vegas) counties. Interestingly, population largely stabilized in some of America’s densest urban centers, which suffered the greatest losses in 2020 and 2021. King (Seattle) and New York (Manhattan) counties saw net growth, while San Francisco and Suffolk (Boston) counties saw less significant losses.
What is happening here? In part, domestic move-outs have eased. But the big driver is that net immigration into the U.S. has returned to pre-COVID levels, swelling the population in large coastal cities. This is welcome news for multifamily and retail properties in major urban centers that can benefit from a break in a consistently negative news cycle.