Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Migration Trends by Metropolitan Status in 2022

Please note: The Tableau data visualization embeds in this post are best viewed on a laptop or desktop computer.

Previous NAR studies indicate that despite decreased migration rates, individuals and families persist in relocating away from large urban areas. Suburban areas and small cities were Americans' most popular destinations during the pandemic's first year. In 2020 alone, large cities lost nearly 2.5 million movers while the suburbs gained 2.6 million.

The trend persisted in 2022, when 1.6 million people opted to relocate to the suburbs, while another 18,000 chose nonmetropolitan (rural or less densely populated) areas. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 27% of the U.S. workforce was still working remotely, at least part-time, that year. 

Historically, domestic movers preferred the suburbs over large cities. Since 2006, cities have lost 35.5 million movers while the suburbs gained 38.2 million. In 2020, more people left cities than in 2010, in the aftermath of the recession. In 2021, a year after the pandemic, fewer people were motivated to move as vaccination rates accelerated and companies returned to working from the office. Regardless, 2 million people left major cities for less urban areas.