- New data showed the metro areas that gained the most residents between the 2010 and 2020 censuses.
- A retirement community in Florida, a tech hub in Texas, and a mountain town in Utah came out on top.
- The real-estate markets in those areas have been particularly hot amid the pandemic.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The numbers are in: The most popular places to move to during the pandemic were also the most popular places to move to over the past decade.
Recently released results from the 2020 census found that the fastest-growing metropolitan areas between 2010 and 2020 were mostly Sun Belt spots. The top three – The Villages, Florida; Austin, Texas; and St. George, Utah – all ballooned by over 30%. Those same locales also cracked the list of the top five fastest-growing metros in 2020, suggesting that the pandemic only accelerated an already present migratory trend.
Insider asked locals why the spots, from a retiree Disney World to a burgeoning tech hub, are so hot. Below, we’ve compiled a list of stories, in ascending order, sharing what we found.
Chef Cory LaFranchi was looking to move from Seattle to St. George, Utah, in August. He wanted to be closer to his family, but finding a house was harder than making the decision to relocate, as nearly 7,000 people had already moved there between July 2019 and July 2020.
The local population spiked from 177,938 people to 184,913 in just one year, the US Census Bureau found.
That growth isn’t new – recent data found that St. George was the third fastest-growing metro area in the country over the past decade. Between 2010 and 2020, the area grew 30.5%.
Read more about why the area is so attractive to new residents – and how its explosive growth has rattled the local real-estate market.
Drew vonEhrenkrook was just following the crowd when he packed up and moved from his native Kansas to Austin last year.
“I had a lot of friends and clients who were already living down here and raving about it,” vonEhrenkrook, 29, said. He said their glowing reports of life in the Texas capital emboldened him to make the leap. The draws of no state income tax, warm weather, and an exciting social scene didn’t hurt either.
He’s one of the 67,000 people who relocated to Austin between July 2019 and July 2020, the US Census Bureau found. Recent data found that pandemic migration was just solidifying long-standing trends: Austin grew by one-third between the 2010 census and 2020 census, making it the second fastest-growing metro area in the country over the past decade.
In the 1980s, Harold Schwartz, a Michigan business owner, bought a 400-unit trailer park in central Florida with the intention of redefining retirement.
The original investment has since grown into The Villages, a veritable Disney World for retirees. The area is now so big that it’s considered its own metropolitan area – and there are more residents careening through its 90 miles (145km) of golf-cart paths now than ever before. From July 2019 to July 2020, the population increased by 3.9% to 139,018. That’s more than 5,000 newcomers.
But new census data showed that the area’s meteoric growth hasn’t been isolated to last year. From the 2010 census to 2020 census, The Villages grew 39% – making it the fastest-growing metro area of the decade.
Read more about how The Villages – a Republican stronghold by design – represents a version of the classic American dream that entices new residents.