U.S. Migration and Housing Affordability Analysis

NerdWallet's study of the nation's 25 most populous metro areas examined where people are moving to and from — and how much they're paying for housing in a new city.
Elizabeth Renter
By Elizabeth Renter 
Updated
916550380

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Each year, tens of millions of U.S. residents pack up and move — many to new cities and states. While far more stay put, the flow of people, between big cities, in particular, holds insights into population growth and housing affordability.

NerdWallet examined this issue with an in-depth look at migration patterns among the largest metro areas in the U.S. We tracked where people are coming from and moving to, and how much they’re paying to live in their new homes.

“There are a lot of factors to consider when trying to understand why people move to a new city, and why some from abroad look to make the United States their new home,” says NerdWallet home expert Holden Lewis.

“While some of those reasons might seem obvious, like lower cost of living or relocation for a new job, some factors may be less tied to finances, like wanting to live closer to family or in a more culturally diverse city.”

For this analysis, we looked at the nation’s 25 most populous metro areas. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, we analyzed annual migration patterns from 2012 through 2016 and housing affordability data for renters and homeowners from 2017, the most recent year available. We also gathered national data on why people are moving from the 2017 American Housing Survey and commissioned The Harris Poll to conduct an online survey in January 2019.

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