In this article, we use the Census Flows Mapper to show which counties in the United States have the most people moving to Atlanta, using the most up-to-date data available.

The population of Atlanta has been steadily increasing since 2000, when there were roughly 400,000 citizens. Today, that number has increased by more than 20% to ~496,000. Lots of people are moving to Atlanta, so where are they coming from?

How It Works

The Census Flows Mapper can show net, inbound, and outbound migration. For our purposes, we’re only interested in inbound migration – that is, the number of people who are moving into Atlanta (Fulton County) from other areas.

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Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles accounts for the biggest migration shift of people toward Atlanta outside of the state of Georgia. 

The City of Angel’s population peaked in early 2019, when a little under 4 million people lived there. As the home of the Hollywood Sign, The Getty, Griffith Observatory, and year-round idyllic weather, Los Angeles is an iconic destination that serves as the centerpiece for much of North American pop culture.

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However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t without its problems. At the top of the list: affordability.

Here are the top reasons people are moving out of Los Angeles and into Atlanta:

  • High cost of living. Since 2020, California’s population has declined by about 500,000. There simply aren’t enough homes for the population, so the cost of housing (both renting and owning) has increased alongside inflation.
  • Increasing taxes. In addition, taxes are increasing in California, causing high gas prices and difficulties for business owners.

According to PayScale, Atlanta’s cost of living is only 2% higher than the national average, which makes it a huge draw for people looking to escape high cost of living and ever-increasing taxes. By comparison, the cost of living in Los Angeles is 50%+ higher than the national average.

Chicago, Illinois

The Windy City is known around the world for its deep-dish pizza, jaw-dropping architecture (John Hancock Center, 1,451-ft. Willis Tower, to name a couple), and cleanliness. Chicago regularly tops the list as one of the cleanest cities in America – and definitely one of the cleanest metros.

However, it also tops the list for having some of the highest taxes in the United States. Its combined local and state taxes are the second highest, which makes outmigration the second worst in the nation.

Top reasons people are moving out of Chicago

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  • High taxes. As stated above, Chicago is almost leading the nation in combined state and local taxes. Its commercial property tax, at 3.78%, is almost double that of most large cities. 

Miami, Florida

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The coastal metropolis of Miami, with a population of around ~440,000, also joins the list of recognizable metro areas that have seen their first population decrease in decades. 

High housing costs, an uncertain jobs market, and catastrophic weather are causing some people to ditch Miami for Atlanta. The average homeowners insurance policy is roughly double in Miami than most other areas – and some properties (particularly those on the coast) are having trouble getting insured at all. Others are just getting sick of the heat and humidity, looking to move somewhere a bit more manageable.

Top reasons people move out of Miami:

  • Cost of living. Miami’s cost of living is 47% higher than the national average, roughly on par with Los Angeles.
  • Housing prices. A 2-bedroom rental on Miami Beach, for instance, has increased 46% year-over-year as of June 2023.

Brooklyn, NY

Brooklyn, a borough of New York City, is known around the world for the Brooklyn Bridge, a 1,595 foot suspension bridge built in 1883, connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan – a true feat of engineering and beauty. It’s the home of Coney Island, some of the best New York pizza around, and classics such as Saturday Night Fever, Goodfellas, and The French Connection

However, crumbling infrastructure, high housing costs, and underemployment are all major factors for why people are moving out of Brooklyn:

  • Infrastructure. Most bridges and tunnels in New York were built over 50 years ago. Maintenance and repairs on this infrastructure cause massive traffic and transportation delays. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act aims to put about $25 billion into New York’s infrastructure, but many residents can’t stand the constant delays and never-ending traffic.
  • High housing costs. A familiar staple on these lists, New York is famous for its high housing costs. The median rental price for a studio in Brooklyn ranges from $2,600-$3,000.
  • Underemployment. While employment doesn’t seem to be much of an issue in Brooklyn, due to the influx of well-educated and qualified people, many of them end up taking a job that’s considerably lower than their pay grade (engineers become bartenders; business admin majors become baristas). This has led many to look for opportunities elsewhere. 

Fairfield County, Connecticut

Fairfield, Connecticut is roughly ~50 miles from New York City and features five miles of shoreline along the Long Island Sound. With a population of only ~62,000, it’s nowhere near as populous or well-known as many of the cities on this list.

Jobs and taxes topped the list of reasons for why people are moving out of Fairfield.

  • Taxes. According to a United Van Lines Study, “Taxes certainly don’t help. Connecticut residents are subject to a collective burden of 12.6% when various state and local taxes are considered. In a lifetime, this will cost the average person $805,000.”
  • With a fairly low population, there isn’t a proliferation of jobs, either. This has caused people to move out to larger metro areas in search of more opportunities.

Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte, located in the southern part of North Carolina, is the largest city in the state. Its home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the Mint Museum Uptown. Unlike many of the other cities on this list, Charlotte actually has an increasing population. The population has grown by more than 150,000 (20%!) over the past ten years.

Here are the top reasons for why some residents are moving out of Charlotte:

  • Too much growth, too fast. Although population growth is typically associated with a better economy and more opportunities, it can cause problems in other areas. Bad traffic and a lack of land for homebuilding are among the top reasons why people are moving out of Charlotte.
  • A lack of history and culture. Others say that Charlotte feels more like a “transplant city” with a lack of historical buildings, unique architecture, and culture. 

Conclusion: Looking to Make the Move to Atlanta?

If you’re looking to move to Atlanta, Bellhop has you covered. We offer long-distance moving solutions for virtually everyone. We can build a custom plan to fit your needs, budget, and timeline – so you can focus on building a new life in a new city.

Larry Blue
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