Census: Much of the Sun Belt isn’t as booming as it once was

Phoenix business district /Brian Stablyk / Getty Images

By Mike Maciag | Governing

As the San Francisco Bay area exploded earlier this decade, Alameda County gained a lot of new people. The county, which includes Oakland, welcomed more than 15,000 new residents annually for several years.

But Alameda’s growth has slowed down significantly. Last year, it only added a few hundred new residents from other parts of the country and abroad. A similar trend is happening in several other areas in the West and in the Sun Belt.

New Census Bureau estimates released Thursday depict a slowdown in migration to many parts of the country that had previously been booming. Counties in states like Florida and Texas continue to grow considerably, but not at quite the same pace. The new figures also show strong migration gains for several counties outside the usual growth regions of the coasts and the Sun Belt.

In the immediate aftermath of the Great Recession, few Americans moved long distances for new jobs or for retirement. That all started to change around 2011. As the economy rebounded, more people began to relocate, especially to parts of the South and the West.

But the exponential growth in migration now finally appears to be subsiding. The latest Census estimates show less impressive gains for the second consecutive year.


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