Exodus from Big Cities Slowed in 2022

New York, NY, March 30, 2023-"Big cities lost fewer residents last year as more immigrants moved in, fewer people died and more babies were born there, according to new census data that shows the urban exodus that gained steam early in the pandemic is cooling,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

“The suburbs of big cities and small and medium-size metropolitan areas continued to claim most of the country’s growth, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of population estimates released Thursday for the year that ended June 30. Rural areas and small towns collectively remained nearly flat.

“The core counties of large metro areas had an estimated net loss of more than 800,000 movers to the rest of the country, but that was an improvement from a 1.2 million drop in the preceding year, the Journal analysis shows.

“After a sharp falloff in immigration at the peak of the pandemic, the latest data shows a revival that has helped bolster large urban counties, with about 500,000 net arrivals from abroad last year. A rise in births and fewer deaths also helped offset moves out of urban counties, leaving their collective population little changed for the year.

“The pandemic spurred a burst of mobility-some temporary and some potentially permanent-that accelerated pre-existing trends on where and how Americans live. Suburban areas have emerged as the clearest winners, often gaining at the expense of the core city they encircle.

“The changes that are taking hold have prompted cities to consider converting office buildings to housing and to rethink mass transit service that has lost many commuters between suburbs and downtowns. Bank regulators and investors are rethinking commercial real-estate investments as some office landlords default and some rents drop.

“The New York metro area, the nation’s most populated, saw its population decline 0.8% in the most recent year’s data. The second- and third-biggest metro areas, Los Angeles and Chicago, saw similar percentage declines.

“While suburbs grew collectively, some suburban counties in the biggest areas shrank, including Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C.”