Migration Patterns: Where the U.S. is Heading

by Marc DeLuca

Migration Patterns: Where the U.S. is Heading

The U.S. economy has reached a point of stability post-housing bubble crisis of 2007, and all eyes are on migration patterns and where people are heading: the West and South—particularly the Sunbelt region where the cost of doing business is less, local economies are thriving, and where the cost of living is a lot more affordable. Think Texas, Florida and South Carolina.

The South and West populations expanded by more than 1 percent in 2015. And to no one’s surprise, Texas is leading the pack due to its diverse economy that encompass mining, manufacturing, real estate and tech. The local housing market has also been an affordable driver for thousands, though is on pace to peak due to massive demand.

According to U.S. Census Bureau 2015 Report, the Houston-Woodlands-Sugar Land and Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSAs experienced the largest population increase in the country in 2015. The Austin-Round Rock and San Antonio-New Braunfels metros also saw substantial gains—adding more than 50,000 residents each. Texas as a whole gained about 490,000 new residents between 2014 and 2015, of which the four metros listed above accounted for nearly 412,000 alone. That’s a whopping 1,170 people a day.

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Dallas skyline.

Looking outside of Texas, migration patterns point to Florida. The Villages—just west of Orlando—was the nation’s fastest-growing metro supported by a population boom of 4.3 percent between 2014 and 2015.

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Mid air view of The Villages town square, near Orlando Florida.


Other areas experiencing an uptick in population:

  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers
  • Punta Gorda
  • North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford
  • Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island

What is luring people to Florida? It’s economy, of course. With the fourth largest economy in the U.S., the Sunshine State’s primary economic driver is tourism—pegged at $51 billion. International trade, aerospace/aviation, agriculture and life sciences also keeps the economy thriving and employment figures strong.

In South Carolina, a migration shift to Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort and Charleston-North Charleston is underway. Professional and business services, retail trade, manufacturing, construction and the housing market play a key role in the state’s economic growth and higher income levels, mostly fueled by the assembly site for Boeing’s Commercial Airplanes division, located in North Charleston, South Carolina. The site is the major manufacturing, assembly and delivery site for Boeing commercial aircraft in the eastern United States and is one of the largest employment centers in the state. The site currently serves as one of two final assembly and delivery points for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Generally speaking, migration trends show that people are heading to suburbs of large metropolitan areas. There is a great focus on hubs within Texas, Florida and South Carolina right now, but other metros like Salt Lake City, Phoenix and Nashville are also top picks for people in search of jobs and rich cultural experiences.


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Marc DeLuca is the Eastrern Regional President for KBS, overseeing over 8.9 million square feet.