Cheap Southern States Netted Migrants Post-Pandemic

Location influenced interstate migration after the pandemic, but price moved people the most.

According to a new report from LendingTree, the states that netted the most new residents from 2021 to 2022 were cheaper Southern states.

Florida and Texas led the pack, netting 249,000 and 174,000 new residents, respectively. 

“Florida is an often affordable state where there’s typically a lot to do, plenty of places to eat, and year-round warm weather,” LendingTree senior economist Jacob Channel noted.

He also noted that popular Southern states aren’t migration hotspots because they’re perfect.

“Florida isn’t some sort of perfect utopia where everyone should live. The state has plenty of problems, and if it doesn’t start putting more effort toward supporting lower-wage workers and building more affordable housing, it’s probably only a matter of time before people stop flocking there,” Channel said.

Americans were most likely to leave expensive states. California remained a top destination for many movers but also clocked the biggest exits, losing 342,000 residents.

Movers from Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Hawaii, and Utah ended up in California more than any other state.

The benefits of pricey locations can outweigh the costs for some movers. For all its financial benefits, Texas doesn’t offer the same cultural experiences as places like New York City.

“Even if their states are a bit less dense than before, places like New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose are likely going to remain global, cultural and economic hubs well into the future,” Channel said.

It’s up in the air whether these trends will continue. Zillow predicts that Buffalo, Cincinnati, and Cleveland will be some of the hottest markets in 2024.

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