"Forty of the 50 fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the U.S. last year were in the South or West, according to a Census report to be published Thursday," writes Shah. "Of the 20 counties that saw the biggest inflows of people relative to their populations, 19 were in the West, the South or Great Plains states such as North Dakota. Meanwhile, metro areas in the Northeast and Midwest including Detroit and Philadelphia saw relatively large outflows of people between July 2011 and July 2012, the Census report shows."
"The fact that more Americans are now moving west and south could reflect improved hiring and suggests fewer people are stuck in one place because they owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth," he adds. "Separate Census figures recently showed around 4% of the U.S. population moved to a different county in 2011, the highest level since before the recession."
"The dam has broken on the pent-up demand for migration," demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution said. "There is the beginning of a shift back to the Sunbelt, as many Snowbelt movers who were frozen in place are now moving to South and West metropolitan areas."
An article on the new figures in The Washington Post, which notes that the region's remarkable growth has slowed considerably, shows a ranking of the 15 fastest growing large metros.