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Updates to Cleveland Fed Urban Migration Research

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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 (

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