Houston holds its own in domestic migrationI came across this interesting analysis of estimated domestic migration trends across U.S. cities from 2000 to 2004. Domestic migration means what it sounds like: people moving within the U.S., but excluding any population changes from births over deaths or international immigration. The good news is that Houston is doing substantially better than most other large cities, but we are definitely swimming against the tide: the largest metros (5+ million) are losing domestic population hand over fist. The "sweet spot" seems to be metro sizes of 1 to 2.5 million that are growing like crazy (like Austin and San Antonio). I'm guessing these metros offer most of the amenities people want, without a lot of the biggest city hassles like crazy traffic congestion (Austin excepted!), subpar urban schools, and outrageous housing prices.
Getting specific, the Houston metro gained 1% in domestic migration, behind only Phoenix (6.3%), Atlanta (3.1%), and DFW (1.7%) in the top 20 metros. The not-as-good news is that Harris County lost 98,330 domestic migrants, but the other counties picked up 147,173, giving us a net gain of 48,843. Most of the top 11 core counties (inc. Houston/Harris at #11) lost around 100,000 domestic migrants, with the dramatic exceptions of the Big 3 - NY, LA, and Chicago. NY lost around 640K, and LA and Chicago each lost around 400K. Among the top 20 cores, only Phoenix gained (can you say "California exodus"?).
Some quoted stats:
- The largest core percentage losses were in Boston (-11.6%), San Francisco (-10%), St. Louis (-9.8%) and Denver (-9.7%) (that last one surprised me).
- For metros, San Francisco suffered the largest domestic migration loss, at 6.4%, followed by New York at 4.2%. Chicago and Boston also lost more than 2.5%.
- Some metros with strong infill programs and efforts to gain core population suffered significant core losses, such as Atlanta, Portland, Chicago, Denver and Washington-Baltimore (the Washington loss was somewhat greater than that of Baltimore).
- The largest metro numerical gains were in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Orlando and Sacramento (in order), all of which experienced a gain greater than 100,000.
- The largest metro numerical losses were in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston and Detroit, all of which experienced a net loss greater than 100,000.