Americans continue to flee the big old blue cities for redder, sunnier places

by Ryan Streeter on November 28, 2012. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

People keep moving away from aging, blue cities to redder Sun Belt, or Sun-Belt-like, places. Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox have done the best analysis of anyone on this trend.

In a new Forbes article, Kotkin writes:

From 2000-09, the metropolitan areas that suffered the biggest net domestic migration losses resemble something of an urbanist dream team: New York, which saw a net outflow of a whopping 1.9 million citizens, followed by the Los Angeles metro area (-1,337,522), Chicago, Detroit, and, despite recent improvements, San Francisco-Oakland. The raw numbers make it clear that California has lost its appeal for migrants from other parts of the U.S., and has become an exporter of people and talent (and income)…The 2010-11 numbers show the deck chairs on the migratory titanic have stayed remarkably similar, with New York still ranking first among the 51 biggest metro areas for net migration losses, followed by Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit and Philadelphia. In most of these cases only immigration from abroad, and children of immigrants, have prevented a wholesale demographic decline.

Texan cities were, as ever, the big winners, as were other cities spread across the sun belt stretching from the southeast to the west. Midwestern cities such as Columbus OH, Indianapolis, and Louisville had net positive migration gains as the older urban centers in the northeast and midwest continued to suffer losses.

Kotkin predicts that seniors, millennials, and Asian immigrants will continue to move away from the New Yorks, Chicagos, and LAs of America to Sun Belt cities for some time to come.

These trends reinforce what we’ve been saying awhile – namely that affordability, an easy tax-and-regulatory structure, schooling and quality of life options all matter more than the other cultural amenities we often associate with successful cities.