Souped Up Sun Belts

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Lower costs, warmer climates, and other amenities are luring domestic migrants to the South and West, according to demographer William H. Frey. Sunny, less dense metros such as Atlanta, West Palm Beach, and Salt Lake City are attracting those who seek refuge from more crowded metropolitan areas such as New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The older, less packed metros saw much more restrained growth between 1990 and 2000 (between 6 percent and 13 percent) than the new Sun Belt cities, which piled on between 19 percent and 40 percent more people during the decade. Who's been packing up the U-Hauls for one-way trips into the sunlight? “Younger families, workers, as well as retirees are attracted to the interior West and South,� says Frey.

NOW MORE CROWDED

NAME % CHG

1990-2000
2000

POP.*
SOUTH “NEW SUN BELT� METROS
Atlanta, GA 39% 4.1
Raleigh-Durham — Chapel Hill, NC 39% 1.2
West Palm Beach — Boca Raton, FL 31% 1.1
Charlotte — Gastonia — Rock Hill, NC-SC 29% 1.5
Nashville, TN 25% 1.2
Jacksonville, FL 21% 1.1
Greensboro — Winston-Salem — High Point, NC 19% 1.3
WEST “NEW SUN BELT� METROS
Denver — Boulder — Greeley, CO 30% 2.6
Portland — Salem, OR-WA 26% 2.3
Salt Lake City — Ogden, UT 24% 1.3
Seattle — Tacoma — Bremerton, WA 20% 3.6
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, William H. Frey analysis
*numbers in millions
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