People Are Leaving These 50 American Cities in Droves

Geographic mobility is at a historic low in the United States. Only 8.7% of the population moved to a new home in 2022, the second smallest share since record keeping began in 1948, and only slightly higher than the all-time low of 8.4% reported in 2021. 

And while over half of all movers in 2022 relocated to another place in the same county, there are parts of the country that Americans are leaving behind entirely. Moreover, they are leaving at much faster rates than average. 

Using metro area-level data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program, 24/7 Wall St. identified the cities losing the most people. Metro areas were ranked based on the percentage change in population due to net migration from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. Data was aggregated from the county level to the metropolitan level using MSA definitions for July 2023 from the Census Bureau.

Among the 50 metro areas on this list, the group of people who moved out between July 2021 and June 2022 outnumbers those who moved in by anywhere from about 350 to nearly 222,900. In some cases, this amounted to a population decline of over 2% – not factoring in population change from births or deaths. 

Notably, in each of these 50 metro areas, outbound migration was offset by an influx of international migrants. In nearly a dozen cities on this list, net migration from abroad contributed to an influx of well over 1,000 new residents. Without these new arrivals, population declines would have been far more pronounced. (Here is a look at the best U.S. cities for immigrants, according to data.)

Regionally, these metro areas are spread across the country. However, many of them are clustered within a single state. California, for example, is home to 10 metro areas on this list, New York is home to eight, and Louisiana, six. 

These cities include many of the largest – and most expensive – places in the country. Cities like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, have each lost about 1% or more of their population in the last year due to migration alone. (Here is a look at the 23 cities with the most expensive rent in America.)

Click here to see the cities people are leaving in droves.

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