Manhattanites Reach Bronx as Americans Stay Near Home

Fallout from the longest economic slump since the Great Depression made Americans less likely to move and more likely to go shorter distances when they did.

Hampered by an inability to find new jobs or sell their homes, people moving from Manhattan made the Bronx their single- biggest destination. Washington, D.C., residents were most likely to relocate to neighboring Prince George’s County, Maryland, and Los Angelenos decamped for adjacent San Bernardino County, data released today by the Census Bureau show.

The 2005-09 figures were the first look at U.S. migratory patterns since the 2000 census, spanning the peak of the housing bubble and the near-collapse of the global financial system.

“Long-distance moves took a bigger hit during the recession,” William Frey, a senior demographer at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, said in an e-mail. “Shorter-distance moves tend to be safer, close to home and likely to have occurred as a result of foreclosures.”

Even in cities that suffered the steepest population declines, residents relocated only short distances. The largest share of refugees from Detroit, which lost a quarter of its population from 2000 to 2010, moved to neighboring Michigan (BEESMI) counties. Three of the most-popular destinations for people moving out of Chicago, whose population fell 6.9 percent, were the adjacent counties of DuPage, Will and Lake.

Moving On Up

While Manhattan showed a modest population gain during the decade, surging real estate prices forced thousands of people out of the heart of New York and into neighboring boroughs. The data show that 16,686 people left New York County for the Bronx, one of the nation’s poorest counties.

More than 11,000 people moved from Brooklyn to Manhattan between 2005 and 2009; they were replaced by 15,020 people in Manhattan who left for Brooklyn. Queens provided 7,742 new residents for Manhattan, which more than returned the favor by sending 8,782 people across the East River to the borough.

While four of the five biggest sources of migration to Manhattan came from surrounding counties, Europeans were the second-largest source of newcomers to the borough, the census data showed. Europeans made up 10,438 of Manhattan’s new residents between 2005 and 2009.

The fourth- and fifth-highest number of departing Manhattan residents wound up in neighboring Hudson County, New Jersey (BEESNJ), and Westchester County, New York.

Staying Within Michigan

Likewise, the top five destinations of residents leaving Detroit were in Michigan. Oakland County, adjacent to Detroit, picked up 18,957 new residents from the Motor City, while 11,808 moved to Detroit from Oakland.

Maryland (GSPSMD) suburbs accounted for the bulk of departing Washington residents, with Prince George’s County taking in 13,825 former capital dwellers. Montgomery County, Maryland, received another 5,667 people from Washington, and Arlington County, Virginia, received 3,384.

The largest number of people leaving San Francisco remained in the Bay Area. The Census Bureau estimated 11,002 people left for San Mateo County. Another 7,761 moved to Alameda County, and 4,141 wound up in Contra Costa.

Asians, the nation’s fastest-growing racial group, made up the fifth-largest source of newcomers to Manhattan and Washington as well as the third-largest number of new residents for Wayne County, Michigan, home to Detroit, offsetting at least part of the city’s population plunge.

Asians constituted the third-largest number of new San Franciscans and the largest single number of newcomers to Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Clara, California.

Miami Draws Immigrants

Miami retained its reputation as a magnet for immigrants, with four of its five largest incoming groups originating overseas. An estimated 15,318 people moved to Miami-Dade County from Caribbean countries.

Neighboring Broward County contributed 11,514 newcomers, and South American countries were responsible for another 6,652 new Miami residents. Central American and European immigrants made up the fourth- and fifth-largest groups for Miami-Dade County, the Census Bureau said.

Central Americans, the nation’s second-fastest growing group, were responsible for the third-largest number of newcomers to Los Angeles and the largest source of incoming residents for Harris County, Texas, where 18,273 moved, and in Bexar County, home to San Antonio, where 5,905 moved.

To contact the reporter on this story: Frank Bass in New York at fbass1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark McQuillan in Washington at mmcquillan@bloomberg.net

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