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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.
March 28, 2019
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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.

Key findings

  • America on the move. On average, 47 million U.S. residents moved each year from 2012 through 2016. The New York City metro area — the most populous in the country — had the most newcomers (413,000) and the most people moving away (433,900).
  • Net losses in Chicago, New York City. All but two of the 25 metros analyzed had a net resident increase from migration. The Chicago (4,500) and New York City (20,900) metro areas lost more people to migration than they gained.
  • New residents from abroad. On average, 22% of the largest metro areas’ newcomers moved from abroad each year. New York City (40%) and Miami (37%) metro areas had the largest share of newcomers from outside the U.S.
  • Homeowning newcomers. The Tampa, Florida, and Phoenix metro areas had the highest share of out-of-state newcomers who were homeowners (41%), compared with an average of 32% among all metros analyzed.
  • Renting vs. owning. Fewer than half (41%) of Americans say renting is more affordable than homeownership in their current area, according to the NerdWallet/Harris Poll survey. Our analysis shows homeowners spend a far smaller portion of their income on housing in the 25 biggest metros, and that’s largely due to higher incomes — the median homeowner income is more than twice the median renter income in these metros.
  • Rental costs. In most of the metros examined, renters spent 30-33% of household income on housing costs. But in Miami — a metro that gets more than the average share of newcomers from abroad — that share jumped to 40% of renter income, the highest among all metros analyzed.
  • Homeownership costs. In most of the metros analyzed, homeowners with a mortgage spent 18-22% of household income on housing costs. Homeowners in Los Angeles, however — the top out-of-state metro destination for movers from Houston and Phoenix — typically spent 27% of household income on housing costs, more than any other metro.

»CALCULATOR: Compare the cost-of-living in two cities

Moving among metros

The most common reason people move: wanting to upgrade. More than one-third (35%) of people who had recently moved said they wanted a larger or better quality home, according to the 2017 American Housing Survey by the Census Bureau. Such upgrades don’t typically require big moves — heading down the street or into another neighborhood is often enough. But some may seek more dramatic changes and move to another state. On average, just 3% of the population moved out of the largest 25 metros each year from 2012-2016, according to Census migration data.

“It may not seem like a considerable amount, but in large cities, a small percentage of the population can equate to big numbers,” Lewis says.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, for example, 71,400 people moved out of the metro area each year of our analysis, on average. In the Chicago area, it was 238,900. In each metro, these movers represented 3% of the population.

Moving for affordability

Even though upgrading is the most common reason people move, according to the American Housing Survey, 18% of recent movers say they left their prior residence to reduce housing costs. This mix of people looking to upgrade and save money is reflected in how housing costs change after a move. Nearly half (49%) of recent movers say their housing costs increased with their most recent move, and over a quarter (27%) say their housing costs decreased, regardless of intent.

NerdWallet’s analysis of the 25 largest metro areas found a similarly mixed bag — some moved to areas where they would pay more, on average, for housing, while others had the potential to save money with their move. For example, about 7,800 people moved from the Portland, Oregon, metro area to the Seattle area each year, on average. But Seattle homeowners typically pay $320 more each month in housing costs, and renters there pay $210 more each month than renters in Portland. Nearly as many (6,050) moved from Seattle to Portland during the analysis period, potentially paying less for housing after their move.

“Often the cities that attract the most newcomers are the same places where people are forced to compete for living space,” Lewis says. “In these growing metros, if construction of affordable housing doesn’t keep pace with population growth, then rents and home prices will rise.”

To rent or to own?

When it comes to renting or buying a home, affordability often comes down to income. While 58% of renters say it’s more affordable to rent than own in the area they currently live, only 34% of homeowners agree, according to the NerdWallet/Harris Poll survey. This difference in perspective may boil down to how much individuals have to spend.

Homeowners with a mortgage spent 18-22% of their household income on ownership costs in most of the metros examined while renters spent 30-33%. In all of the metros analyzed, the median homeowner income was more than twice the median renter income. That said, homeowners with below average incomes could find themselves strapped — in 15 of the metros we examined, the median monthly homeownership costs were at least $500 more than what renters paid.

“The more populated a city is, the more expensive homes will be, which generally reserves home ownership to those with high incomes,” Lewis says. “Lower incomes among renters combined with high housing costs means it’s an uphill battle for those who are looking to save for a home in America’s most populated cities.”

»MORE: Compare mortgage rates across top lenders

Homeownership has a higher barrier to entry than renting, and most out-of-state newcomers who moved into the large metro areas were renters — 68%, on average. The Phoenix and Tampa metro areas had the highest homeownership rates among new residents (41%), while the San Diego area had the lowest (23%). This could be due, in part, to the limited availability of housing: 40% of Americans say it’s easier to find rental homes than homes for sale in the area where they currently live, according to the NerdWallet/Harris Poll survey, and finding a home to purchase in another state can be a difficult task.

Table: Metro migration data

Migration data represent annual averages from 2012 through 2016. Affordability data are one-year estimates for 2017, the most recent year available.

This table is scrollable and sortable.
Metro areaAverage population 2012-2016Movers within the metro areaNewcomersNewcomers from abroadTop out-of-state metro area of originNewcomers from top origin cityMovers out of metro areaTop destination metro areaMovers to top destination metro area% of out-of-state newcomers who are homeowners% of out-of-state newcomers who are rentersMonthly owner costsOwner costs as % of owner incomeMonthly renter costs Renter costs as % of renter income
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA5,543,798651,526240,42235,912New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 12,303158,557Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL 5,04132%68%$1,46019%$1,11531%
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD2,748,386255,119104,72116,177Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 25,18592,151Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 23,31434%66%$1,83320%$1,24133%
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH4,678,463442,318189,43251,066New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 15,348144,215Providence-Warwick, RI-MA 15,48330%70%$2,30322%$1,39735%
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC2,351,775250,738115,74210,193New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 7,58071,421Columbia, SC 3,10036%64%$1,30618%$97729%
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI9,415,795975,763234,43654,619New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 7,350238,940Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI 6,95932%68%$1,78921%$1,07831%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX6,862,576849,345280,49250,374Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 8,330167,232Oklahoma City, OK 4,13032%68%$1,65120%$1,08528%
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO2,718,560344,674144,67815,800Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 4,32799,266Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 3,47432%68%$1,81121%$1,35232%
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI4,246,631456,416106,18422,678Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 3,259102,748Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 3,58039%61%$1,38318%$89831%
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX6,391,993753,897269,98466,705New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 6,277141,440Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 2,77531%69%$1,64920%$1,04130%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA13,035,5561,267,018357,58699,490New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 14,660347,974Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 16,52724%76%$2,47127%$1,47635%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL5,863,618611,107232,13785,597New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 23,177152,875New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 10,09037%63%$1,73725%$1,31640%
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI3,443,612392,217121,17821,393Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 5,26981,753Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 3,28234%66%$1,64719%$1,05729%
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA19,802,8651,461,897413,020166,746Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 18,085433,922Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 28,64929%71%$2,63025%$1,37934%
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL2,301,443251,097148,60117,573New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 10,79496,414New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 3,73736%64%$1,42321%$1,15134%
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD5,978,562511,967179,23033,524New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 28,649156,214New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 18,08536%64%$1,80321%$1,08236%
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 4,430,826579,060219,93829,900Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 12,033130,996Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 5,48141%59%$1,44520%$1,09131%
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA2,324,863289,750114,97215,283Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 6,05375,152Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 7,78931%69%$1,81021%$1,23831%
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 4,373,857447,299207,89622,398Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 3,662144,116Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 4,22537%63%$1,84025%$1,26836%
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX2,300,534276,285116,22314,348Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 1,88174,850Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 1,94834%66%$1,43020%$95931%
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA 3,212,336343,613155,09434,764New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 3,734142,503Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 4,29523%77%$2,45525%$1,59835%
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 4,527,818402,314220,50552,792New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 9,859166,641New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 6,25426%74%$2,98524%$1,85330%
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 3,627,144453,079195,46739,919Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA 7,789116,673Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA 6,05327%73%$2,12522%$1,44331%
St. Louis, MO-IL 2,772,607301,13781,6609,154Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 5,60968,739Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 3,96435%65%$1,33318%$86830%
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 2,897,180317,185147,50318,507New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 8,56398,598Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 3,11041%59%$1,38421%$1,07033%
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 5,934,964611,058293,21576,495Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD 23,314230,363Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD 25,18529%71%$2,29321%$1,62931%

Metro area-specific findings

Click a metro area name to expand.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 12% of Atlanta area residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 240,400 moved into the Atlanta metro area each year, on average.
    • 15% (35,900) came from another country.
    • 12,300 came from the New York City metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the Miami and Chicago metro areas.
  • 158,600 moved out of the Atlanta metro area each year, on average.
    • 5,000 moved to the Miami metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro destination.

Affordability

  • 32% of Atlanta area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the Atlanta metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,460, or 19% of the area’s median household income for that group.
      • By contrast, in the NYC metro area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for Atlanta area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs are $2,630 or 25% of household income.
  • 68% of Atlanta area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the Atlanta metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,120, or 31% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the NYC area, median monthly renter costs were $1,380 or 34% of household income.

 

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 9% of Baltimore area residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 104,700 moved into the Baltimore metro area each year, on average.
    • 15% (16,200) came from another country.
    • 24% (25,200) came from the Washington, D.C., metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin. New York City and the Philadelphia metro areas sent their fair share of newcomers to Baltimore as well  — 7,000 and 5,200, respectively — but their numbers were dwarfed by those coming from the D.C. area.
  • 92,200 moved out of the Baltimore metro area each year, on average.
    • 23,300 moved to the Washington, D.C., metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro destination.

Affordability

  • 34% of Baltimore area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the Baltimore metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,830 or 20% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Washington, D.C., metro area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for Baltimore area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $2,290 or 21% of household income.
  • 66% of Baltimore area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the Baltimore metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,240, or 33% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Washington, D.C., area, median monthly renter costs were $1,630 or 31% of household income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 9% of Bostonians moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 189,400 moved into the Boston metro area each year, on average.
    • 27% (51,100) came from another country. Only three other metros areas analyzed had higher rates of newcomers from abroad.
      • 21,000 came from Asia, 11,300 from Europe, 5,200 from South America and 5,100 from the Caribbean.
    • 15,300 came from the New York City metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the Providence, R.I., and Manchester, N.H., metro areas.
  • 144,200 moved out of the Boston metro each year, on average.
    • 15,500 moved to the Providence, R.I., area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro destination.

Affordability

  • 30% of Boston area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the Boston metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $2,300, or 22% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the NYC metro, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for Boston area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $2,630 or 25% of household income.
  • 70% of Boston area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the Boston metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,400, or 35% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the NYC area, median monthly renter costs were $1,380 or 34% of household income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 11% of Charlotte residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 115,700 moved into the Charlotte metro area each year, on average.
    • 9% (10,200) came from another country, which is the lowest rate of newcomers from abroad among the 25 metros analyzed.
    • 7,600 came from the New York City metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the Atlanta and Columbia, S.C., metro areas.
  • 71,400 moved out of the Charlotte metro each year, on average.
    • 3,100 moved to the Columbia, S.C., area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro destination.

Affordability

  • 36% of Charlotte area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the Charlotte metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,310 — the least of all metros analyzed — or 18% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • By contrast, in the NYC area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for Charlotte area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $2,630 or 25% of household income.
  • 64% of Charlotte area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the Charlotte metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $980, or 29% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the NYC area, median monthly renter costs were $1,380 or 34% of household income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 10% of Chicago area residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 234,400 moved into the Chicago metro area each year, on average.
    • 23% (54,600) came from another country.
    • 7,400 came from the New York City metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the Los Angeles and St. Louis areas.
  • 238,900 moved out of the Chicago metro, each year, marking a net loss of approximately 4,500 residents.
    • 7,000 moved to the Milwaukee metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro destination.

Affordability

  • 32% of Chicago area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the Chicago metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,790, or 21% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the NYC area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for Chicago area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $2,630 or 25% of household income.
  • 68% of Chicago area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the Chicago metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,080, or 31% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the NYC area, median monthly renter costs were $1,380 or 34% of their income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 12% of Dallas metro area residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 280,500 moved into the Dallas metro area each year, on average.
    • 18% (50,400) came from another country.
    • 8,300 came from Los Angeles, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by New York City and Chicago.
    • The overwhelming majority of Dallas area newcomers who moved from other U.S. metros came from metro areas within the state of Texas: 15,000 came from Houston, 9,000 from Austin and 7,300 from San Antonio, for example.
  • 167,200 moved out of the Dallas metro each year, on average.
    • 4,100 moved to the Oklahoma City metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro destination.
    • The majority of those who moved from Dallas to another U.S. metro area moved within the state of Texas: 16,600 moved to Houston, 11,500 moved to Austin, and 6,500 moved to San Antonio, for example.

Affordability

  • 32% of Dallas area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the Dallas metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,650, or 20% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • By contrast, in the Los Angeles metro area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for Dallas area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $2,470 or 27% of household income.
  • 68% of Dallas area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the Dallas metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,090, or 28% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Los Angeles area, median monthly renter costs were $1,480 or 35% of household income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 13% of Denver area residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 144,700 moved into the Denver metro area each year, on average
    • 11% came from another country. Only one metro — Charlotte, North Carolina — had a lower rate of newcomers from abroad.
    • 4,300 came from the Chicago metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., metro areas.
  • 99,300 moved out of the Denver area each year, on average.
    • 3,500 moved to the Phoenix metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro destination.
  • 82% of Denver area residents did not move, one of the lowest rates of non-movers among all metros analyzed.

Affordability

  • 32% of Denver area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the Denver metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,810, or 21% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Chicago metro area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for Denver area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were similar — $1,790 or 21% of household income.
  • 68% of Denver area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the Denver metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,350, or 32% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Chicago area, median monthly renter costs were $1,080 or 31% of household income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 11% of Detroit area residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 106,200 moved into the Detroit metro area each year, on average
    • 21% came from another country.
    • 3,300 came from the Chicago area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the New York City and Atlanta metro areas.
  • 102,700 moved out of the Detroit metro area each year.
    • 3,600 moved to the Chicago metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro destination.

Affordability

  • 39% of Detroit area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners. Only two metros analyzed had higher homeownership rates among newcomers.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the Detroit metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,380, or 18% of the area’s typical household income for that group, one of the lowest cost-to-income ratios among all metros analyzed.
      • In the Chicago metro area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for Detroit area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $1,790 or 21% of household income.
  • 61% of Detroit area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the Detroit metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $900, or 31%  of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Chicago area, median monthly renter costs were $1,080 or 31% of household income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 12% of Houston area residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 270,000 moved into the Houston metro area each year, on average.
    • 25% (66,700) came from another country each year; most metros analyzed saw less than 19% of newcomers from abroad.
    • 6,300 came from the NYC area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the Chicago and Los Angeles metro areas.
  • 141,400 moved out of the Houston metro area each year, on average.
    • 2,800 moved to the Los Angeles metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metropolitan destination.

Affordability

  • 31% of Houston area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the Houston metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,650, or 20% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • By contrast, in the NYC metro area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for Houston area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $2,630 or 25% of household income.
  • 69% of Houston area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the Houston metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,040, or 30% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the NYC area, median monthly renter costs were $1,380 or 34% of household income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 10% of Los Angeles area residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 357,600 moved into the Los Angeles metro each year, on average.
    • 28% (99,500) came from another country each year; most metros analyzed saw less than 19% of newcomers from abroad.
      • 56,000 came from Asia, 16,700 from Central America and 12,900 from Europe.
    • 14,700 came from the NYC metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the Las Vegas and Chicago metro areas.
  • 348,000 moved out of the Los Angeles metro area each year, on average.
    • 16,500 moved to the Las Vegas metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro destination.

Affordability

  • 24% of Los Angeles area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners. Only one metro analyzed (San Diego) had a lower homeownership rate among newcomers.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the Los Angeles metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $2,470, or 27% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the NYC metro area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for Los Angeles area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $2,630 or 25% of household income.
  • 76% of Los Angeles area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the Los Angeles metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,480, or 35% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the NYC area, median monthly renter costs were  $1,380 or 34% of household income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 10% of Miami area residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 232,100 moved into the Miami metro each year, on average.
    • 37% (85,600) came from another country, the second-highest rate of newcomers from abroad among all metros analyzed. Most metros analyzed saw less than 19% of newcomers from abroad each year.
      • 30,200 came from the Caribbean and about 22,100 came from South America each year, on average.
    • 23,200 came from the New York City metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the Atlanta and Boston metro areas.
  • 152,900 moved out of the Miami metro area each year, on average.
    • 10,100 (7%) moved to the NYC metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metropolitan destination.

Affordability

  • 37% of Miami area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners, a relatively high homeownership rate when compared with the other metros analyzed.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the Miami metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,740, or 25% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the NYC metro area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for Miami area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $2,630 or 25% of household income.
  • 63% of Miami area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the Miami metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,320, or 40% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the NYC area, median monthly renter costs were $1,380 or 34% of household income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 11% of Minneapolis area residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 121,200 moved into the Minneapolis metro area each year, on average.
    • 18% came from another country.
    • 5,300 came from the Chicago metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the Fargo, N.D., and Milwaukee metro areas.
  • 81,800 moved out of the Minneapolis metro each year, on average.
    • 3,300 moved to the Chicago metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metropolitan destination.

Affordability

  • 34% of Minneapolis area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the Minneapolis metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,650, or 19% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Chicago metro area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for Minneapolis area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $1,790 or 21% of household income.
  • 66% of Minneapolis area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the Minneapolis metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,060, or 29% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Chicago area, median monthly renter costs were $1,080 or 31% of their income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 7% of New York City metro residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 413,000 moved into the NYC metro area each year, on average.
    • 40% (166,700) came from another country, the highest rate of movers from abroad among all metros analyzed. Most metros analyzed saw less than 19% of newcomers from abroad.
      • Nearly 67,900 came from Asia, 30,600 from Europe and roughly 24,400 from the Caribbean each year, on average.
    • 18,100 came from the Philadelphia metro area each year, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the Boston and Washington, D.C., metro areas.
  • 433,900 moved out of the NYC metro each year — making it one of only two metros that lost more residents than it gained due to migration.
    • 28,600 moved to the Philadelphia area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro destination.
  • 91% of New York City metro residents did not move, the highest rate of non-movers in all metros analyzed.

Affordability

  • 29% of NYC metro area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the New York City metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $2,630, or 25% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Philadelphia metro area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for NYC metro newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $1,800 or 21% of household income.
  • 71% of NYC area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the New York City metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,380, or 34% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Philadelphia area, median monthly renter costs were $1,080 or 36% of household income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 11% of Orlando area residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 148,600 moved into the Orlando metro area each year, on average.
    • 12% came from another country. Only four metros had a lower rate of newcomers from abroad.
    • 10,800 came from the New York City metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the Atlanta and Philadelphia areas.
  • 96,400 moved out of the Orlando metro each year, on average.
    • 3,700 moved to the NYC metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metropolitan destination.

Affordability

  • 36% of Orlando area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the Orlando metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,420, or 21% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the NYC metro area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for Orlando area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $2,630 or 25% of household income.
  • 64% of Orlando metro area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the Orlando metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,150, or 34% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the NYC area, median monthly renter costs were $1,380 or 34% of household income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 9% of Philadelphia area residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 179,200 moved into the Philadelphia metro area each year, on average
    • 19% came from another country.
    • 28,600 (16%) came from the NYC metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the Washington, D.C., and Trenton, N.J., metro areas
  • 156,200 moved out of the Philadelphia metro each year, on average.
    • 18,100 moved to the NYC metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro destination.

Affordability

  • 36% of Philadelphia area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the Philadelphia metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,800, or 21% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the NYC metro area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for Philly area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $2,630 or 25% of household income.
  • 64% of Philadelphia area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the Philadelphia metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,080, or 36% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the NYC metro area, median monthly renter costs were $1,380 or 34% of household income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 13% moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 219,900 moved into the Phoenix metro area each year, on average.
    • 14% came from another country.
    • 12,000 came from the Los Angeles metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the Chicago and Seattle metro areas.
  • 131,000 moved out of the Phoenix metro each year, on average.
    • 5,500 moved to the Los Angeles metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro destination.

Affordability

  • 41% of Phoenix area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners. Only one other metro analyzed (Tampa, Fla.) had a newcomer homeownership rate this high.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the Phoenix metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,450, or 20% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • By contrast, in the Los Angeles metro area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for Phoenix area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $2,470 or 27% of household income.
  • 59% of Phoenix area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the Phoenix metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,090, or 31% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Los Angeles area, median monthly renter costs were $1,480 or 35% of household income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 12% of Portland area residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 115,000 moved into the Portland metro area each year, on average
    • 13% came from another country — 17 of the 25 metros had a greater rate of newcomers from abroad.
    • 6,100 came from the Seattle metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the Los Angeles and Phoenix metro areas.
  • 75,200 moved out of the Portland metro each year, on average.
    • 7,800 moved to the Seattle area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro destination.

Affordability

  • 31% of Portland area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the Portland metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,810, or 21% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Seattle metro area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin and destination for Portland area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $2,130 or 22% of household income.
  • 69% of Portland area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the Portland metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,240, or 31% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Seattle area, median monthly renter costs were $1,440 or 31% of household income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 10% of Riverside area residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 207,900 moved into the Riverside metro area each year, on average.
    • 11% came from another country. Only Charlotte, North Carolina, had a lower rate of newcomers from abroad.
    • 3,660 came from the Phoenix metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the Las Vegas and Seattle metro areas.
  • 144,100 moved out of the Riverside metro each year, on average.
    • 4,200 moved to the Las Vegas metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro destination.

Affordability

  • 37% of Riverside area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the Riverside metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,840, or 25% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • By contrast, in the Phoenix metro area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for Riverside area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $1,450 or 20% of their income.
  • 63% of Riverside area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the Riverside metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,270, or 36% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Phoenix area, median monthly renter costs were $1,090 or 31% of household income.

From 2012 through 2016:

  • 12% of San Antonio area residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 116,200 moved into the San Antonio metro area each year, on average.
    • 12% came from another country. Only four metros had fewer than 12% of newcomers from abroad.
    • 1,900 came from the Washington, D.C., metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the Los Angeles and Chicago metro areas.
      • Most newcomers to the San Antonio metro area (who moved from other metros) moved from within Texas: 8,800 came from the Houston metro area, 8,000 from Austin and 6,500 from the Dallas-Fort Worth metro.
  • 74,900 moved out of the San Antonio metro each year, on average.
    • 1,900 moved to the Washington, D.C., metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metropolitan destination.
      • Most San Antonio residents who moved away left for other metro areas within Texas: 10,000 moved to Austin, 7,300 to the Dallas-Fort Worth and 7,200 to Houston.

Affordability

  • 34% of San Antonio area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the San Antonio metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,430, or 20% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Washington, D.C., metro area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for San Antonio area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $2,300 or 21% of household income.
  • 66% of San Antonio area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the San Antonio metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $960, or 31% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Washington, D.C., area, median monthly renter costs were $1,630 or 31% of household income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 11% of San Diego area residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 155,100 moved into the San Diego metro area each year, on average.
    • 22% came from another country.
    • 3,700 came from the NYC metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the Washington, D.C., and Phoenix metro areas.
    • Far more newcomers moved from other metro areas within California: 16,800 came from Los Angeles, 13,700 from Riverside and 3,900 from San Francisco.
  • 142,500 moved out of the San Diego metro each year, on average.
    • 4,300 moved to the Phoenix metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro destination.
    • Far more moved to other metro areas within California: 21,000 to Riverside, 15,600 to Los Angeles and 6,800 to San Francisco.

Affordability

  • 23% of San Diego area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners, the lowest newcomer homeownership rate of all metros analyzed.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the San Diego metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $2,460, or 25% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the NYC metro area, the most common out-of-state metro area of origin for San Diego area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $2,630 or 25% of household income.
  • 77% of San Diego area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the San Diego metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,600, or 35% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the NYC area, median monthly renter costs were $1,380 or 34% of household income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 9% of San Francisco area residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 220,500 moved into the San Francisco metro area each year, on average.
    • 24% came from another country, including 27,600 from Asia and 11,500 from Europe.
    • 9,900 came from the NYC metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the Seattle and Chicago metro areas.
    • Most newcomers to the San Francisco area from other U.S. metros moved from metro areas within California: 26,200 from San Jose, 17,600 from Los Angeles and 10,100 from Sacramento.
  • 166,600 moved out of the San Francisco metro area each year, on average.
    • 6,300 moved to the NYC metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro destination.
    • Most movers leaving the San Francisco area moved to other metro areas within California: 19,000 moved to San Jose, and approximately 14,700 to both Sacramento and Los Angeles.

Affordability

  • 26% of San Francisco area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners. Only two metros analyzed had lower homeownership rates among newcomers.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the San Francisco metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $2,990 — the highest among all metros analyzed — or 24% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the NYC metro area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for San Francisco area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $2,630 or 25% of household income.
  • 74% of San Francisco area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the San Francisco metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,850 — the highest among all metros analyzed — or 30% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the NYC area, median monthly renter costs were $1,380 or 34% of household income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 12% of Seattle area residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 195,500 moved into the Seattle metro area each year, on average.
    • 20% came from another country.
    • 7,800 came from the Portland, Ore., metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the Los Angeles and San Francisco metro areas.
  • 116,700 moved out of the Seattle metro each year, on average.
    • 6,100 moved to the Portland, Ore., area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro destination.

Affordability

  • 27% of Seattle area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the Seattle metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $2,130, or 22% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Portland metro area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for Seattle area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $1,810 or 21% of household income.
  • 73% of Seattle area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the Seattle metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,440, or 31% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Portland area, median monthly homeowner costs were $1,240 or 31% of household income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 11% of St. Louis area residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 81,700 moved into the St. Louis metro area each year, on average.
    • 11% came from another country.
    • 5,600 came from the Chicago metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the NYC and Dallas metro areas.
  • 68,700 moved out of the St. Louis metro each year, on average.
    • 4,000 moved to the Chicago metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro destination.

Affordability

  • 35% of St. Louis area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the St. Louis metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,330, or 18% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Chicago metro area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for St. Louis area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $1,790 or 21% of household income.
  • 65% of St. Louis area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the St. Louis metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $870 — the least of all metros analyzed — or 30% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Chicago area, median monthly renter costs were $1,080 or 31% of household income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 11% of Tampa area residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 147,500 moved into the Tampa metro area each year, on average.
    • 13% came from another country.
    • 8,600 came from the NYC metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the Chicago and Washington, D.C., metro areas.
  • 98,600 moved out of the Tampa metro each year, on average.
    • 3,100 moved to the Atlanta metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro destination.

Affordability

  • 41% of Tampa area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners. Only one other metro area analyzed (Phoenix) had a newcomer homeownership rate this high.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the Tampa metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,380, or 21% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • By contrast, in the NYC metro area, the most common out-of-state metro origin for Tampa area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $2,630 or 25% of household income.
  • 59% of Tampa area newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the Tampa metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,070, or 33% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the NYC area, median monthly renter costs were $1,380 or 34% of household income.

Migration from 2012 through 2016:

  • 10% of Washington, D.C., area residents moved to a different home within the metro area each year, on average.
  • 293,200 moved into the Washington, D.C., metro area each year, on average.
    • 26% (76,500) came from another country; most metros analyzed saw less than 19% of newcomers from abroad.
      • Approximately 30,600 came from Asia, 16,600 from Europe and 12,300 from Africa.
    • 23,300 came from the Baltimore metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro of origin, followed by the NYC and Virginia Beach metro areas.
  • 230,400 moved out of the D.C. metro each year, on average.
    • Of them, 25,200 moved to the Baltimore metro area, the most common out-of-state domestic metro destination.

Affordability

  • 29% of Washington, D.C., metro area newcomers who moved from another state were homeowners.
    • For homeowners with a mortgage in the Washington, D.C., metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $2,290, or 21% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Baltimore metro area, the most common out-of-state metro of origin for Washington, D.C., area newcomers, median monthly homeowner costs were $1,830 or 20% of household income.
  • 71% of Washington, D.C., metro newcomers who moved from another state were renters.
    • For renters in the Washington, D.C., metro area, the median monthly housing cost was $1,630, or 31% of the area’s typical household income for that group.
      • In the Baltimore area, median monthly renter costs were $1,240 or 33% of household income.

 

» CALCULATOR: How much house can you afford in a new city?


METHODOLOGY

NerdWallet’s Home Buyer survey was conducted online within the U.S. among 2,029 U.S. adults ages 18 and older by The Harris Poll from Jan. 16-18, 2019. The survey isn’t based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For the complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, contact tmclean@nerdwallet.com.Migration data comes from the 2012-2016 American Community Survey five-year estimates and approximates the number of people who moved for any one-year period within that period. We looked specifically at domestic, interstate migration between metro areas where the primary cities in the two metro areas are in different states.

As defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, monthly housing costs for homeowners include all mortgage, home equity loan, real estate taxes, insurance, utility and fuel payments. Monthly renter housing costs include contract rent, utilities and fuels. Median household incomes are tenure-specific for renters and homeowners with a mortgage.

Due to margins of error and rounding, there may be overlap in some metro area rankings. For the margins of error of specific metro-to-metro flows or additional questions about the data, contact tmclean@nerdwallet.com.

In the interest of using the most recent affordability data, renter and homeowner household incomes and monthly housing costs are from the 2017 American Community Survey one-year estimates. For the purposes of our analysis and to compare costs by tenure, we assumed metro newcomers living in owner-occupied homes have a mortgage.

The American Housing Survey is released every two years. In the latest release, interviews took place from June to October 2017 and respondents were asked about migration “within the past two years.” Respondents could have interpreted that to mean since January 2015 or since mid-2015.

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