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Press Release

Updates to Cleveland Fed Urban Migration Research

Migrants from High-Cost, Large Metro Areas during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Their Destinations, and How Many Could Follow: First Quarter 2021 Update for Tables and Figures

Key updates:

  • The net migration out of high-cost, large metro areas declined to 50,000 people per month in the first quarter of 2021 after peaking at 56,000 per month in the previous quarter.
  • After updating, the list of the top 25 metro areas with increasing net migration from the high-cost, large metro areas no longer includes Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis. Jacksonville, Lakeland, and Daytona Beach, Florida, joined three other Florida metro areas already on the list.
  • The Tennessee metro areas of Chattanooga and Knoxville also are now among the top destinations.
  • Five metro areas have received net migrants equivalent to more than one percent of their workforce during the pandemic: Stockton, California; Fort Myers, Florida; Oxnard, California; Sarasota, Florida; and Boise, Idaho.
  • Did the COVID-19 Pandemic Cause an Urban Exodus? First Quarter 2021 Update for Tables and Figures

Key updates:

  • In the first quarter of 2021, net out-migration from urban neighborhoods remained elevated at 57,000 migrants per month. It continued to decline from its peak of 75,000 in November 2020, but it remained 217 percent higher than the average from the three years before the pandemic.
  • Most major metro areas followed the national trend of increasing outflows and increasing inflows, including New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, San Diego, and San Jose.
  • In Boston, Denver, Seattle, and Washington DC, the four-quarter moving average of outflows continued to increase, but the moving average of inflows did not display a clear increase.

Download the updates at: Did the COVID-19 Pandemic Cause an Urban Exodus? Data Updates for Tables and Figures (

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that along with the Board of Governors in Washington DC comprise the Federal Reserve System. Part of the US central bank, the Cleveland Fed participates in the formulation of our nation’s monetary policy, supervises banking organizations, provides payment and other services to financial institutions and to the US Treasury, and performs many activities that support Federal Reserve operations System-wide. In addition, the Bank supports the well-being of communities across the Fourth Federal Reserve District through a wide array of research, outreach, and educational activities.

The Cleveland Fed, with branches in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves an area that comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Media contact

Doug Campbell,, 513.455.4479