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Big D Posting Big Population Gains

The Dallas-Fort Worth metro area grew by nearly 150,000 residents between 2016 and 2017 making it, far and away, the fastest growing metro. Texas neighbor Houston was second adding 94,417. Atlanta, Phoenix and Washington rounded out the top 5.

On the other end of the spectrum, 4 metros saw population decline. Chicago lost 13,286 residents. Pittsburgh is down 8,169 while Cleveland and Rochester (NY) saw declines of 1,221 and 404 respectively.

The map shows the continuing shift from the Northeast to the Sunbelt and to the West.

Population change is made up of a couple different factors, natural growth (births minus deaths) and net migration. Migration itself is divided into international and domestic migration. It is this net domestic migration number that is particularly interesting when comparing metros. People move for a lot of reasons, but most often those reasons have to do with economic opportunity. Metros that provide more opportunity will see larger net domestic migration numbers as people are choosing to move there from somewhere else in the country.

Domestic migration is a bit of a separator. Of the 53 metros with population's over 1 million, 28 had positive net domestic migration (more moved in than out) and 25 saw net domestic migration decline.

Again, Dallas, and the rest of the Sunbelt show up strong in domestic migration. Dallas had a net domestic migration figure of 58,829. The next 15 metros on the list would all be described as Sunbelt or Western metros. So, when Americans are looking for a new place with new opportunities, they are more likely looking South and West.

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