Cities Americans Are Fleeing And The Places They're Flocking To

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The United States is home to some of the most desirable cities in the world, with people traveling from all over the world to see the sights.

But that’s not stopping huge amounts of city dwellers leaving in droves. So why are they so desperate to get out? And where are they going?


It goes without saying that the auto industry made Detroit a very attractive city for those looking for work, but with manufacturing automation and environmental pressures, the job opportunities there aren’t what they used to be.

Detroit’s population has seen a decline, and it hasn’t improved since the sharp drop after the financial crisis in 2008, with 672,662 current residents versus 1.029 million in 1990. But the story is a little different elsewhere in the U.S.


While the population of Indianapolis has seen a slow but steady increase in the last 30 years, an analysis by real estate company Redfin shows that 35.9% of its users have been searching for properties elsewhere.

According to the study, the majority of Indianapolis residents considering migration are looking to move to Chicago in search of pastures new. And they’re not the only ones.


Many Milwaukee residents are also looking for an escape, with a huge 37.9% of Redfin users browsing new homes in Minneapolis in July 2020. Milwaukee is a city of stark economic contrasts and high taxes, with the state placing 11% on its residents.

The city’s job market is also shrinking, with many younger people looking elsewhere for work. But there are other reasons city folk are looking to get out fast.


While a smaller percentage of Redfin’s users are actively looking to leave the city (14.2%), the study shows that 3,612 people were looking to move in July, a huge increase on the 1,184 planning on migrating a year ago.

Seattle residents are mostly looking for a change of climate in sunnier Los Angeles. But for others, it’ll take more than a little rain to scare them away.


A surge in the cost of housing is prompting Denver residents to get out fast, with many setting their sights on Seattle.

According to the Denver Metro Association of Realtors, the city is currently experiencing an “extreme seller’s market”, with average house prices skyrocketing to $606,330 (although this has a lot to do with low inventory in 2020).


While it’s one of the more popular destinations for those moving out of other metro areas, Chicagoans are themselves heading out in droves.

The percentage of people moving away is actually the lowest of the top 10 cities seeing an exodus at 11.7%, but the number of those on their way to other towns is huge at 4,445 - although it’s nothing compared to Washington D.C.

Washington, D.C.

Almost twice as many people in Washington DC are set for a change of scenery than in Chicago at 8,298.

High house prices and taxes are the main gripes of the capital’s residents, along with an elevated cost of living. Of the people looking to move, most considered Salisbury, Maryland, a better bet for their future. But it’s not where Los Angeles residents are heading.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles is the place to be for those looking for gorgeous coastlines, leisure activities, or even a career in showbusiness.

But for a lot of residents (12,405), high rents, property taxes, and traffic in the City Of Angels have gotten the best of them, instead preferring the lifestyle they could afford in San Diego - or even Las Vegas.

San Francisco

House prices in San Diego are through the roof, hitting an average of $732,560 in August, according to the California Association of Realtors. Sacramento or Seattle are better options for them, says the Redfin data.

But if you thought San Diego was expensive, just imagine how much it costs to live in the city people are fleeing the most.

New York

Unsurprisingly, 2020 is seeing more and more people looking to move away from New York. It’s actually second to San Francisco in terms of high cost of living, and the average house price is lower - but 26,584 are still considering a move, with most favoring Boston.

Each city has its own unique reasons for the influxes of migrants, but 2020 has presented several new problems to cause people to head out of the U.S.A.’s top cities.

Pandemic Concerns

While one of the most common explanations for people leaving metro areas is the rising cost of living, this year has seen people pushed to their limits with the global pandemic.

COVID-19 has made suburbs and rural areas look far more attractive than bustling cities right now, with only 27.8% looking to move from one metro area to another. And it’s become more practical than ever.

Bang For Your Buck

With people spending less and less time outside in 2020, paying to live in a city full of attractions that you can’t take advantage of is pretty hard to justify.

For people considering a move away from the city before the coronavirus took hold of the nation, the devastating effects it has had on urban areas could have been a deciding factor.

Change Of Plans

“I’ve had buyers drop out of their search in the Bay Area because they’re moving to Sacramento or Texas, and I’ve had people moving over to Pleasanton because it’s less expensive than San Francisco,” Redfin agent Veronica Clyatt reports.

And with so many people cooped up in their homes this year, the appeal of scrapping plans for a city move is more than financial.

Working From Home

“Everyone wants a bigger house and a bigger yard, and they want to pay less,” Veronica added. “A lot of people moving away from the Bay Area have had it in the pipeline for a while, and remote work is accelerating the process.”

Is it just 2020? Or were people getting fed up with the rocketing property prices in the big cities anyway?