People leaving Sunbelt, census says. Is Massachusetts a new 'hot' spot?(Read article summary)
Sunbelt states like Nevada and Florida are seeing residents pack up and leave, according to a new census report.
The Sunbelt has lost its lure, at least temporarily.
For more than a decade, Americans pulled up stakes in regions like the Northeast and Midwest to live in warmer climes. Now, in several key Sunbelt states, that flow has slowed or stopped altogether.
In Florida, for example, 31,200 more people moved out of the state than moved in during the 12 months ended this past June, according to data released by the Census Bureau on Wednesday. That's the biggest outflow of the decade and only the state's second annual net loss. (Florida lost a net 18,600 last year.)
The reversal is even more remarkable in Nevada. The fastest-growing state for 18 years in a row, Nevada's 3,800 migration dip in 2009 was its first.
Both states' populations still grew: New births and foreign immigration more than made up for the people who moved out. Still, outmigration's effects are apparent. Nevada, the fastest-growing state as late as 2004, is now only No. 17. Once fast-rising Florida now has growth rates closer to those of Minnesota and Missouri.
"That's a real big slowdown," says Greg Harper, a demographer at the Census Bureau in Suitland, Md. And it's not limited to those two states.
Who are the big winners? They're few and far between, because fewer people moved this year than at any time in the decade.
Does this spell the end of the Sunbelt's big growth spurt?
"This is definitely a break," says Mr. Harper of the Census Bureau. But "it's probably too early to say ... Things could turn around."