10 Cities With The Highest Net Migration in America

Ever wondered about cities with the highest net migration in America? Just lay back and relax – we have compiled the list for you. With ever increasing globalization trend, borders are slowly, but steadily becoming more and more obsolete. This is especially the case in modern, highly developed and democratic countries which the United States of America certainly are. However, this is also the case in third world countries, and even developed countries in some kind of turmoil (take Syria for example). What I’m saying is that migrations are people movements in general. It doesn’t matter if they’re entering or leaving a specific country – both types of movements are migrations. When people are moving into designated country – this is called immigration, and when they’re leaving their resident country – it’s called emigration. You are probably familiar with both terms, but one of these is likely more often the topic, based on your location. That way, developed EU countries are currently buzzing with the term immigrants – whether legal or illegal. At the same time, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and many other countries around the globe are mostly talking about emigration. Because we are talking about net migration in American cities, we’ll have to take both types of migrations into consideration.

citizenship, flag, pot, indian, asian, american, photography, shoulders, opportunity, latin, ethnicity, cultural, achievement, immigration, chinese, view, power, peace, 10 Cities With The Highest Net Migration in America

Blend Images/Shutterstock.com


We have gathered the data for our research from Governing webpage. As soon as you open the page, you’ll see the explanation about their methodology. Net migration is obviously a difference between immigration and emigration. Things aren’t that simple here, however, as natural population change has to be taken into account as well. Natural change is a difference between newborn and deceased people. So, net migration accounts for all those changes. Migration rates which we’ll also mention, are differences between immigrants and emigrants per 1,000 inhabitants. The formula basically divides this difference with total population for the start of given period of time, and then multiplies the result with 1,000 (inhabitants).

US metropolitan areas have received around 7.5 million new inhabitants for the period between 2010 and 2013. Out of that figure, 3 million or 40% of people have arrived either from abroad or from US rural and other non-metro areas. Remaining 4.5 million people who account for 60% are counted towards the natural change. Since natural change is positive, the number of newborn children is far greater than the number of deceased. All these changes have had a large impact on certain American cities and their respective growth rates. Here you can see the 15 fastest growing US cities ranked by population growth, and while most of them are non-metro areas, they have certainly exhibited their share of population changes caused by migration.

While most international immigrants usually end up in American largest hubs, domestic migration tends to gravitate towards the Sun Belt, Silicon Valley and DC metro areas. At the same time, large cities are losing plenty of their inhabitants due to rather low (Los Angeles), or even negative migration rates (Chicago). Fear not, however, as sheer birth\death ratio helps them not only to keep, but increase their overall population. It doesn’t, however, help them beat the mentioned metro areas which are currently attracting most migrants. To conclude. As you’re about to see, American cities with highest net migration are usually large developing and highly developed hubs in American south or other isolated, highly-developed areas. Apart from obvious DC area and the Sun Belt, most attractive metro cities are ones where high-tech engineering industry is at its finest.

10. Orlando – Kissimmee – Sanford, FL

Net migration: 94,488

Greater Orlando is a part of the Sun Belt, being in Florida and all. It might not be the number one Florida destination for migrants, but it certainly acquires plenty of new inhabitants each year through migrations. Orlando metro area has had 2,134,411 inhabitants during the 2010 census, and the number grew by additional 133,440 inhabitants over the course of next 3 years. That’s a population change of 6.3%, and the trend continues today. What’s interesting is the fact that Orlando exhibits almost even international and domestic migration rates. 45,870 international migrants have inhabited greater Orlando between 2012 and 2013 (20.2 rate), while 48,618 domestic migrants have done the same (21.4 rate).

orlando-1104481_1280 10 Cities With The Highest Net Migration in America

9. Seattle – Tacoma – Bellevue, WA

Net migration: 98,334

Seattle – Tacoma – Bellevue metropolitan statistical area is fifteenth largest in the country, and has grown by 170,290 people or 5% over the course of selected three years. Seattle and its surrounding area began with 3,439,809 in 2010, and they’re still growing in 2016. Seattle’s $15 per hour minimum wage is probably influencing the city’s overall growth, but it only came after the examined period between 2010 and 2013. What really helps Seattle in growing, is its strong economy. Amazon, Starbucks, and Safeco are only a few Seattle-based multi-billion companies by revenue, but don’t forget The Boeing Company whose headquarters are currently in Chicago, IL. During the mentioned period, Seattle has seen a net migration of 98,334 people. 54,061 people are international immigrants (15 rate), while 44,273 people have moved in from other parts of the country (12.3 rate).

dibrova/Shutterstock.com 10 Cities With The Highest Net Migration in America


8. Atlanta – Sandy Springs – Roswell, GA

Net migration: 100,057

Another Sun Belt metropolis – Atlanta has grown from 5,286,728 citizens in 2010 to 5,614,323 citizens according to 2014 census. Until 2013, the population has changed by 236,210 people or 4.5% – upward, of course. Atlanta – Sandy Springs – Roswell metro area has seen a net migration of 100,057 people – 53,103 of which are international migrants (9.6 rate), and 46,954 of which are American migrants (8.5 rate). It’s no wonder Atlanta is attracting so many people since it’s ranked fourth overall in Fortune 500 by the number of world’s most successful companies headquartered within city boundaries.

atlanta-914484_1280 10 Cities With The Highest Net Migration in America

7. Phoenix – Mesa – Scottsdale, AZ

Net migration: 105,071

The western part of the Sun Belt is becoming even more attractive for migrants – especially for domestic migrants. Phoenix and its metro area had 4,192,887 inhabitants back in 2010, but that number quickly grew by additional 205,874 people in just 3 years. As already mentioned, most of the migrants have moved to Phoenix from other American cities and towns, and they account for 78,436 people out of net migration’s number (17.8 rate). On the other hand, the number of international migrants amounts to 26,635 which yields international migration rate of 6.1.

airport, phoenix, arizona, traffic, air, control, view, aerial, sky, dawn, harbor, tower, usa, travel, built, night, skyline, southwest, sonoran, runway, building, architecture, city, 10 Cities With The Highest Net Migration in America

Anton Foltin/Shutterstock.com


6. San Francisco – Oakland – Hayward, CA

Net migration: 108,873

It seems that the Silicon Valley will never run out of prospective migrants, especially given its current status in the high-tech world. Highly educated engineers are being made at Stanford, but even more of them flock to the north of Golden State from abroad. 73,566 out of 108,873 migrants are international ones which means that international migration rate is 16.3. Remaining 35,307 people have come from other US areas, and they account for domestic migration rate of 7.8. During this period, San Francisco – Oakland – Hayward metro area has grown from 4,335,391 inhabitants to 4,516,286 inhabitants (a positive change of 180,895 people).

san-francisco-690243_1280 10 Cities With The Highest Net Migration in America

5. Austin – Round Rock, TX

Net migration: 109,744

Austin – Round Rock is currently 35th largest metro area in the United States, but Texas capital is exhibiting one of the largest growth rates among big cities. 1,716,289 people in 2010 have grown to 1,943,299 in 2014. During the span of selected three years, only 16,932 international migrants have found their new home within Austin’s and Round Rock’s borders (9 rate). At the same time, 92,812 domestic migrants have done the same, and they add up to domestic migration rate of 49.3 – by far the highest on this list of 10 cities with the highest net migration in America.

austin, capitol, day, sunset, sky, clear, park, river, calm, shores, central, colorado, panoramic, sunny, skyline, lake, concrete, tall, architecture, relax, buildings, paddle,10 Cities With The Highest Net Migration in America


4. Washington, Arlington, Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

Net migration: 156,819

Washington – Arlington – Alexandria metropolitan statistical area is seventh largest such agglomeration in the country with more than 5,636,232 inhabitants during the 2010 census. 313,583 was the growth number for 3 additional years, while net migration for the period comes to 156,819 people. 115,919 out of them were international migrants which yields the rate of 19.5, while remaining 40,900 were domestic migrants, and their respective rate amounts to 6.9.

congress, us, capitol, building, washington, dc, mall, america, dome, outdoor, hill, sunlight, usa, town, flag, national, flowers, white, spring, travel, power, legislation,10 Cities With The Highest Net Migration in America



3. Dallas – Fort Worth – Arlington, TX

Net migration: 195,982

Largest agglomeration in Texas: Dallas – Fort Worth – Arlington has grown by additional 384,703 people from 2010 to 2013. Back in 2010, metro area had 6,426,214 inhabitants according to census data. As it seems to be the case with Texas – most of the migrants have arrived from other parts of the country. Roughly around two-thirds of all migrants are domestic ones, or 134,325 people and their rate is 19.7. On the other hand, 61,657 people arriving in Dallas and its surroundings have come from abroad, and they account for international migration rate of 9.1.

dallas-555778_128010 Cities With The Highest Net Migration in America

2. Miami – Fort Lauderdale – West Palm Beach, FL

Net migration: 196,312

Opposite to Texas, Florida’s largest metro statistical area exhibits much bigger international migrants rate than that of domestic migrants. Miami – Fort Lauderdale – West Palm Beach has received 163,622 immigrants over the course of three years which amount to international migration rate of 28.1. Only 32,690 migrants to Miami have come from inside the house, so to speak, and they account for domestic migration rate of 5.6. It’s no wonder since Florida is considered a gateway to America for most immigrants from Latin America. While the metro area started with 5,564,635 citizens back in 2010, it’s currently a home to more than 6 million people.

miami-beach-674068_128010 Cities With The Highest Net Migration in America

1. Houston – The Woodlands – Sugar Land, TX

Net migration: 204,942

Number one metro area on this list of 10 cities with the highest net migration in America goes to Houston – The Woodlands – Sugar Land. This is the fifth largest American metro with more than 5,920,416 citizens back in 2010. International migrants make up for 80,394 people which is close to half of the total number of migrants and comes to a rate of 12.7. Domestic migrants are dominant here as well as in other Texas cities, and they make up to a rate of 19.7, or a total of 124,548 migrants. Needless to say, oil industry governs most of these migrations, but the current situation on global oil markets isn’t that peachy. Texas will, thus likely slow down with migration, and we’ll see how the situation develops further down the line.

houston-404199_128010 Cities With The Highest Net Migration in America