Migration to Sunbelt picks up with improving economy

Oct. 26, 2013 at 3:40 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- As the U.S. economy recovers, the migration from the Northeast and Midwest to southern states has resumed, a demographer said.

Kenneth Johnson of the University of New Hampshire told USA Today that more people decided to stay put while the economic slump was on. Retirees waited for their houses to recover in price and others did not have the money to move.

Figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau show that about 16.9 million people moved from one county to another in 2012, with about 7 million of them moving long distances. Johnson said 132,000 more people left New York State than moved in during the year, while Massachusetts had a net loss of 15,600.

In the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area, which was especially hard hit by the recession, more people left than moved in in 2009. Like many other Sunbelt metropolitan areas, it had a net gain from migration last year.

The reverse is true in the Baltimore metropolitan area, which in 2009 gained population from migration.

Jasmine Wanek, a conservation biologist, told USA Today she was held in place because she could not find a buyer for her parents' home in Forest Hill, Md., a Baltimore suburb. She now expects to close on a sale Nov. 15, freeing her to join her fiance in Florida.

Wanek, who grew up in Maryland, said she has strong ties to the area but did not want to remain in one place her whole life.

"This is a good time for me to check out something else," she said.

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