The 20 cities in the West that Americans are leaving in droves

Kevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesNearly a quarter million more people moved out of Los Angeles than moved in between 2010 and 2018.
  • Several Western cities saw large parts of their population move away since the start of the decade.
  • We found the 20 metro areas in the West with the most net outmigration between 2010 and 2018, adjusted by the size of the 2010 population.
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Overall, the Western part of the US has historically been a big destination for Americans seeking opportunity.

But not every part of the West has recently been benefiting from that historical trend.

Using data from the Census Bureau’s Population Estimates program, we found the metropolitan areas located in the Western states with the most negative net migration between 2010 and 2018, adjusted by the size of the 2010 metro area population.

Net migration measures the number of people who moved into the metro area from some other part of the US or another country, minus the number of people who left the metro area over that period. That means the cities on our list saw many more people move out since 2010 than move in.

Here are the 20 Western cities with the most net outmigration as a share of the 2010 population:


20. Merced, California, had a net population loss from migration of 1,666 between 2010 and 2018 — 0.7% of the metro’s 2010 population of 255,793.


19. Pocatello, Idaho, had a net population loss from migration of 647 between 2010 and 2018 — 0.8% of the metro’s 2010 population of 82,839.


18. Fresno, California, had a net population loss from migration of 10,112 between 2010 and 2018 — 1.1% of the metro’s 2010 population of 930,450.

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17. Yuba City, California, had a net population loss from migration of 1,815 between 2010 and 2018 — 1.1% of the metro’s 2010 population of 166,892.


16. Bakersfield, California, had a net population loss from migration of 10,776 between 2010 and 2018 — 1.3% of the metro’s 2010 population of 839,631.

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15. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California, had a net population loss from migration of 10,891 between 2010 and 2018 — 1.3% of the metro’s 2010 population of 823,318.

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14. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California, had a net population loss from migration of 226,757 between 2010 and 2018 — 1.8% of the metro’s 2010 population of 12,828,837.

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13. Las Cruces, New Mexico, had a net population loss from migration of 3,755 between 2010 and 2018 — 1.8% of the metro’s 2010 population of 209,233.


12. Honolulu, Hawaii, had a net population loss from migration of 19,098 between 2010 and 2018 — 2.0% of the metro’s 2010 population of 953,207.

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11. Madera, California, had a net population loss from migration of 3,700 between 2010 and 2018 — 2.5% of the metro’s 2010 population of 150,865.


10. Great Falls, Montana, had a net population loss from migration of 2,252 between 2010 and 2018 — 2.8% of the metro’s 2010 population of 81,327.

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9. Salinas, California, had a net population loss from migration of 12,323 between 2010 and 2018 — 3.0% of the metro’s 2010 population of 415,057.

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8. Visalia-Porterville, California, had a net population loss from migration of 14,597 between 2010 and 2018 — 3.3% of the metro’s 2010 population of 442,179.

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7. Anchorage, Alaska, had a net population loss from migration of 13,566 between 2010 and 2018 — 3.6% of the metro’s 2010 population of 380,821.

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6. Yakima, Washington, had a net population loss from migration of 9,471 between 2010 and 2018 — 3.9% of the metro’s 2010 population of 243,231.

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5. El Centro, California, had a net population loss from migration of 9,701 between 2010 and 2018 — 5.6% of the metro’s 2010 population of 174,528.


4. Sierra Vista-Douglas, Arizona, had a net population loss from migration of 7,484 between 2010 and 2018 — 5.7% of the metro’s 2010 population of 131,346.

Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images

3. Fairbanks, Alaska, had a net population loss from migration of 8,736 between 2010 and 2018 — 9.0% of the metro’s 2010 population of 97,581.


2. Farmington, New Mexico, had a net population loss from migration of 11,873 between 2010 and 2018 — 9.1% of the metro’s 2010 population of 130,044.


1. Hanford-Corcoran, California, had a net population loss from migration of 14,567 between 2010 and 2018 — 9.5% of the metro’s 2010 population of 152,982.

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