The Census Bureau measured domestic migration -- people moving within the United States -- and discovered that nearly every large metropolitan area had more people move out than move in from 2000 to 2004.
"It's a case of middle class flight, a flight for housing affordability," said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. "But it's not just white middle class flight, it's Hispanics and blacks, too."
The states that attracted the most new residents: Florida, Arizona, and Nevada. The states that lost the most: California, New York, and Illinois.
"New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago -- the three biggest metropolitan areas -- lost the most residents to domestic moves. The New York metropolitan area had a net loss of more than 210,000 residents a year from 2000 to 2004."
Richard Florida, a professor of public policy at George Mason University, said smaller, wealthier households are replacing larger families in many big metropolitan areas, driving up housing prices even as the population shrinks, and chasing away even more members of the middle class. "Because they are bidding up prices, they are forcing some people out to the exurbs and the fringe," Florida said.
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