During the first year of the pandemic, only about 27 million Americans moved to a new home. That figure represents a 9% decline from the previous year and is the continuation of a multi-year trend in decreasing mobility rates.

The prevailing narrative is that many of those who moved during the pandemic, did so to leave major cities, partially to reduce their risk of exposure to COVID-19. According to the latest population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, some of the largest cities in the country, including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, reported population decline last year - counting both net migration as well as births and deaths.

However, not all cities suffered from population decline in the first year of the pandemic. Many major metropolitan areas have reported substantial population growth during 2020 and 2021.

In the Merced metro area, located in California, the population climbed from 281,726 in July 2020 to 286,461 in July 2021. The 1.7% increase ranks as the 42nd highest among all U.S. metro areas.

The local population growth was driven by net migration, as about 3,220 more people moved into the metro area than moved out over the past year. Natural change also contributed to overall growth, as 1,510 more people were born in the metro area than died over the same period.

 

RankMetro areaPop. increase, July 2020 - July 2021 (%)2021 populationNet migration, 1-yr.Natural pop. change, 1-yr.
1St. George, UT5.1191,2269,204237
2Coeur d'Alene, ID4.1179,7897,283-33
3Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC3.7509,79421,921-3,421
4Punta Gorda, FL3.7194,8439,526-2,498
5The Villages, FL3.6135,6387,105-2,253
6Boise City, ID3.3795,26824,2611,697
7Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL3.3753,52025,517-876
8Provo-Orem, UT3.3697,14113,9128,332
9Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL3.0787,97626,813-3,184
10Logan, UT-ID2.9152,0832,8461,458
11Idaho Falls, ID2.9162,7863,644921
12Port St. Lucie, FL2.8503,52116,645-2,698
13Bend, OR2.7204,8015,638-124
14North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL2.7859,76029,691-6,643
15Panama City, FL2.7179,1685,105-330
16Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, AL2.6239,2946,843-607
17Greeley, CO2.6340,0366,7301,993
18Hilton Head Island-Bluffton, SC2.4222,0725,757-394
19Sherman-Denison, TX2.4139,3363,669-306
20Homosassa Springs, FL2.4158,0835,977-2,204
21Naples-Marco Island, FL2.4385,98010,724-1,725
22Salisbury, MD-DE2.3429,22311,748-1,803
23Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX2.32,352,42642,54111,145
24Ocala, FL2.3385,91511,440-2,750
25Prescott Valley-Prescott, AZ2.2242,2537,268-1,989
26Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL2.2685,34419,414-4,701
27Twin Falls, ID2.1116,9052,146268
28Clarksville, TN-KY2.1328,3044,5962,150
29Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL2.1163,6624,695-1,326
30Sebring-Avon Park, FL2.0103,2963,213-1,096
31Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR2.0560,7099,1232,038
32Raleigh-Cary, NC2.01,448,41123,2794,943
33Spartanburg, SC2.0335,8646,632-79
34Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL2.0293,3245,441260
35Killeen-Temple, TX2.0486,1016,1123,182
36Rapid City, SD1.9141,9792,469196
37Gainesville, GA1.9207,3693,304481
38Wilmington, NC1.8291,8335,873-621
39Madera, CA1.8159,4102,033767
40Huntsville, AL1.8502,7288,832-70
41Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ1.7217,6926,045-2,350
42Merced, CA1.7286,4613,2201,513
43Hinesville, GA1.782,8632371,126
44Jacksonville, FL1.61,637,66625,857621
45Sioux Falls, SD1.6281,9583,1741,310
46Winchester, VA-WV1.6145,1552,476-147
47Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ1.64,946,14570,0978,142
48Warner Robins, GA1.5195,2462,617357
49Barnstable Town, MA1.5232,4115,448-1,941
50Auburn-Opelika, AL1.5177,2182,277330