The U.S. population center has been trending south over the past decade

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The U.S. population center is on a southward turn for the first time in history in a decade. Thanks to people like Owen Glick, who moved from California to Florida over a year ago.

Last year, the southern United States saw births outnumber deaths and population growth of well over a million people, driven both within and outside the country. population estimate From the U.S. Census Bureau. Residents declined in the Northeast and Midwest, while anemia increased by 153,000 in the West. This is primarily due to the large number of residents moving to different parts of the United States. The West would have lost its population had immigration and births not outnumbered deaths.

In contrast, the South added 1.3 million new residents, with six of the 10 states with the highest population growth last year in the South, followed by Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Georgia.

Experts are currently uncertain whether the dramatic pull in the South is a short-term shift caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or a long-term trend, and what impact it might have on redistribution. I’m not even sure. Political power through re-election After the 2030 Census. Due to delays due to the pandemic, changes were made How the Census Bureau calculated estimates over the last decade, and that may have played a role as well.

But experts say the South’s appeal lies in affordable housing, low tax rates, popularity of remote work pandemic era and baby boomer retirement.

Glick, 56, and his then partner moved from Metro San Diego to the Orlando area in December 2021 after retiring from corporate sales. They used to make regular trips to central Florida before they moved to check out the rental properties they purchased because it was more affordable in Sunshine State than in Southern California.

on the other hand, Housing expense Groceries are cheaper than California, and home maintenance costs are hidden in Florida. For example, lots of sunshine, or year-round air conditioning increases utility bills, requiring frequent painting.

“For the price here, we are in good financial shape, but we are spending more to maintain the property,” says Glick.

Glick was one of 233,000 people to leave the western states and settle elsewhere in mid-2021 and mid-2022. He joined about 868,000 people who moved to the southern states from other regions.

If this trend continues over the next decade, by 2030, the average center of the US population will move south. Rural County of the Ozarks, MissouriFor the first time in history, there is no westward extension, according to urban planner Alex Zakloski, who models the population center.

Since 1790 when the center of population was first calculated at Chestertown, Maryland, keep going westHowever, in the 20th century, it began to tilt southwest, as the spread of air conditioning made the south more livable.

“If this really works, it’s really historic,” said Zakloski, chief planner for Middlesex County, New Jersey.

North Carolina demographer Michael Klein says growth in the South is “outpacing” the trends the region experienced pre-pandemic, with more people relocating from cold-weather states and working remotely. We believe this may have accelerated the decision of many migrants to allow first time.

The departure from the West will begin in 2021, the first year of the pandemic, with 145,000 residents moving to another part of the United States. Until then, internal migration to the West had been increasing annually since 2010.

A significant portion of departures came from people leaving California, but Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington also saw year-over-year declines in domestic immigration in 2021-2022. Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Utah had smaller year-over-year increases in internal migration than in the previous year.

Oregon wonders whether the phenomenon of more than 17,000 departures to other US states was a temporary pandemic-related trend due to remote work freedom and housing affordability, or a long-term move due to quality. The jury has not yet come out as to whether. State economist Josh Lehner spoke about living problems such as crime, weather and wildfires.

Oregon, won a seat in parliament It has not experienced a population decline in 2021 since the 1980s when the timber industry contracted and the housing market collapsed.

“If we don’t see labor force growth as usual, that means economic activity will slow and state revenues will fall. That’s a problem we’re struggling with,” Lehner said. says.

Lehner added that he would like to see more data for 2023 “before he loses his mind.”

William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Metro think tank, also wants to see if the trend is related only to the pandemic, or if it will affect the rest of the decade. A big wild card is immigration, which was responsible for most of the growth in 2022, he said.

“Part of it has to do with moving from a dense coastal metropolitan area to another,” Frey said. “


Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter. @MikeSchneiderAP