Frey: Census shows a revival of pre-recession migration flows

Thursday, April 6, 2017 - 13:45

SSDAN Director William Frey recently wrote about changes in migration flows for The Avenue, a Brookings Institution blog. The full text can be found here.

Recently released census population estimates for the nation’s counties and metropolitan areas emphasize the re-emergence of earlier migration trends. That is, the sharp recession-related downturn in migration flows–from Snow Belt to Sun Belt, from large metros to small areas, and from urban cores to suburban enclaves—are back on the rise and perhaps will be for the foreseeable future. In addition, there is some evidence that long distance migration of young adult Millennials is finally picking up.

Clearly, the national slowdown of these migration flows, which started during the 2007-2009 recession, took an exceptionally long time to recover.  Each of them were in full force for the early years of the 2000s, propped up by dynamic Sun Belt economic growth as well as ample affordable housing in the suburbs and smaller communities.  But the late decade recession, coupled with the financial crisis and mortgage meltdown, put the brakes on these flows leading to commensurate population growth slowdowns in their destination areas.