Photographer: Raul Arboleda/AFP via Getty Images

Immigration Not Enough to Halt Exodus From U.S. Cities

  • Chicago leads nation in domestic departures in Bloomberg data
  • Dallas, Houston, Phoenix among American cities showing gains

Immigration to the U.S. has failed to make up for the number of residents leaving New York, Los Angeles and Chicago -- the nation’s top three metropolitan areas.

Chicago -- beset by crime, economic and budgetary woes and high taxes -- is the net exodus leader among 100 metro areas tracked by Bloomberg using Census Bureau data for the year through July 1, 2016. An average 245 local residents left the Windy City each day compared with the arrival of 71 foreigners. Census doesn’t inquire about a person’s citizenship status. 

As Chicago struggles, so does Illinois. Last year, the net number of business establishments in the Prairie State fell by 1,235 from 2015, the worst performance of any state in the union, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show.

For the nation’s third most-populous metropolitan area, foreign immigration “is the only offset we’ve got and it would be tragic to lose,” said Diane Swonk, chief executive and founder of DS Economics in Chicago.

As for the broader economic implications, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Patrick Harker is among some U.S. central bank officials who have suggested labor shortages could be alleviated by fostering additional immigration.

In the New York metropolitan area, financial-hub Manhattan prospers while old factory towns such as Paterson, New Jersey, and Waterbury, Connecticut, languish. The region registered an average daily loss of 548 local residents against a gain of 394 foreigners, according to the data.

While Los Angeles gained more than 54,000 international migrants, it lost more than 87,000 people due to domestic migration, the third-worst outflow in the country. On the bright side, Census data show there were 166,913 births in the City of Angels in the year ended July 1, 2016, second only to New York City with 247,502.

Overall, the population of Los Angeles, including net births and migration, grew by 41,619 residents during the period. That compares with a 35,571 increase in the New York area and a 19,570 decline in Chicago, which was one of 15 cities to show an outright decrease.

America’s Sunbelt is absorbing the exodus. The area -- where jobs generally are plentiful, taxes are lower and winter temperatures milder -- stretches from parts of North Carolina in the east to California in the west.

An average of a hundred or more people each day moved to Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and Phoenix. Dallas led all metropolitan areas with 235 arrivals: 165 from within the U.S. and 70 from outside the country.

Immigration is particularly notable in Miami, where 178 people from outside the U.S. moved each day versus an outflow of domestic residents. Florida has been the favored destination for many people fleeing the political and economic crisis in Venezuela.

Read More: Table on 2016 U.S. Metro Area Total Population Change

Read More: Table on 2016 Daily Migration Rates for the 100 Largest U.S. Metro Areas

Read More: Table on 2016 U.S. Metro Area Population Composite Change - Migration

Read More: Table on 2016 U.S. Metro Area Population Composite Change

(Corrects to clarify Harker’s immigration remarks in the fifth paragraph.)
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