Friday, March 20, 2009

Economic woes slowing migration to Sunbelt areas

One important consequence of the housing crisis has been the inability of people to sell their homes in order to move for new opportunities. And that was before the economy started to soften. Now it's becoming an even larger trend, forcing people to stay put until their fortunes revive, and in the cross hairs are the Sunbelt states. From an AP story via BigBuilderOnline.com:

Strapped by the nation's economic crisis, fewer Americans are migrating to Sun Belt hot spots in Nevada, Arizona and Florida, instead staying put for now in traditional big cities.

Census data released Thursday highlight a U.S. population somewhat locked in place by the severe housing downturn and economic recession, even before the impact of rippling job layoffs after last September's financial meltdown...

As a result, rust-belt metro areas such as Buffalo, N.Y., Pittsburgh and Cleveland stanched some population losses, and Boston, Los Angeles and New York saw gains. Well-to-do exurbs around Washington D.C. saw growth slowdowns as people weary of costly commutes moved closer to federal jobs in the nation's capital.

"It's the bursting of a 'migration bubble,'" said William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution think tank who analyzed the numbers. "Places that popped up in migration growth in the superheated housing markets earlier in the decade are now just as quickly losing their steam."...

The latest population trends come as state and local governments are deciding where to pour billions of dollars in federal stimulus money to develop schools, roads, bridges and other infrastructure. The nation's decennial head count, used to apportion House seats and redraw congressional districts, also is fast approaching.

Las Vegas, known for its warm climate and wide spaces, had its smallest annual population gain in nearly 20 years...

California had the biggest net loss from people moving to other states. The declines in its interior regions put it at risk of losing a House seat. Los Angeles had major gains, but partly at the expense of Riverside, a sprawling exurb nearby...

Click here for full story.

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