Watch the Direction the Canoes Are Paddling

One of my favorite books is a little pamphlet called “How to Lie With Statistics”. I encourage everyone to read it. It’s what I thought of when I read this article by Paul Overberg, John McCormick, and Max Rust in the Wall Street Journal:

Big cities lost fewer residents last year as more immigrants moved in, fewer people died and more babies were born there, according to new census data that shows the urban exodus that gained steam early in the pandemic is cooling.

That’s one way to look at it. The other way to look at it are that New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago are losing population while Dallas, Houston, and Atlanta are gaining population. Another way to look at it is that metro areas in Red States are gaining population while metro areas in Blue States are losing population. In fairness Seattle, Denver, and Riverside did gain a little population. Of the twenty-five largest cities in the country no city in the Northeast or Midwest gained population last year.

I suspect that jobs, taxes, and affordable housing which are interrelated are all factors in the change. Some would say climate but I’ve been to Phoenix. It has a lousy climate—almost unlivable without air conditioning. I would say the same of many of the cities that are gaining in population.

5 comments… add one
  • Andy Link

    These comparisons are difficult because urban core counties vary to a great degree, and metro areas include suburbs.

    For example, the county of Denver is built-out except for a strip leading to the new airport that was annexed a couple decades ago. Lots of people are still moving to the front range, primary near Denver. But most of this growth is not in the city of Denver itself. I live between Colorado Springs and Denver and a lot of the people moving here commute to jobs in Denver or Colorado Springs.

  • bob sykes Link

    Columbus, Ohio, is still growing at about 1.3% per year. The city itself has almost 1 million people, and its metropolitan area has over 1.7 million people, making it the 14 th largest SMRA in the US.

    Of course, it is the only city in Ohio that is growing. That’s big cities. Small cities in Ohio, say under 50,000, are growing, some, like Mt. Vernon, very rapidly.

    I thought Indianapolis was growing, too.

    The flow from Massachusetts to New Hampshire continues, so some of its cities must be growing. Likewise Maine and Vermont.

    Those of you who live in eastern Ukrainian cities, like Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Washington, et al. should leave.

  • steve Link

    Its the snow. As you pointed out you can buy air conditioning. Cant really buy an absence of snow.


  • Columbus, Ohio, is still growing at about 1.3% per year.

    Of course it is. Practically all state capitols are growing or, if shrinking like Springfield, Illinois, doing so very very slowly. Albany, Boston, and Sacramento are growing, too.

  • Andy Link

    Columbus also has a major university and a diverse economy.

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