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Sun Belt Remains Destination of Choice for Migrants

Census Bureau data indicates that the shift to Sun Belt suburbs is still the majority preference. Turns out warmth, jobs, and affordable housing are a powerful triumvirate.
April 28, 2015, 9am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Although places like Seattle now enjoy an influx of urban-loving migrants, apparently the pre-2008 Sun Belt bonanza is back in full swing. Neil Irwin writes, "Where is the population growing fastest? Places that are warm, places that have ample affordable housing and places that are popular retirement destinations. It is an old story."

These trends continue a growth pattern very familiar to most of us. "Consider this: If you know how quickly a place added population from 1980 to 2000, you can predict with pretty good confidence how quickly its population grew in 2014." According to Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia, there is an 82 percent correlation between these two figures. 

The inner-ring housing that infill advocates prefer is inexpensive, but often lies in areas that have shed jobs. "If, like the major cities of Texas, you have affordable housing because building laws allow developers to respond to higher demand by building more, then inexpensive housing is a draw. If, on the other hand, housing is inexpensive because there are so few job opportunities, then cheap housing will tend to coincide with population outflows."

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Published on Thursday, March 26, 2015 in The New York Times
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