People Are Fleeing These 10 Cities: Here’s Where They’re Moving

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Couple moving into a new place – Yuri A /

Americans continue to pull up stakes and move somewhere new in record numbers, according to real estate brokerage Redfin.

Nearly one-quarter of all U.S. homebuyers — 24.1% — were looking to move in the three-month period that ended in October. This is just a touch below the 24.2% who planned to move during July through September.

The antsy nature of today’s homeowners is in marked contrast to how people felt prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, just 18% of homeowners planned to move.

Redfin notes that homeowners likely feel more freedom to find new digs thanks to the sea change that arrived when remote work became the norm rather than the exception.

By and large, it is the nation’s largest cities that are seeing the greatest exodus, as people leave for more places with affordable housing and — possibly — a more peaceful way of life.

Following are the big cities that Redfin users are abandoning in droves — and where they are headed.

1. San Francisco

San Francisco street car
Tono Balaguer /

Metro’s net outflow of residents from August through October: 35,800

Housing costs are through the roof in the City by the Bay, as they have been for many years. So it’s no wonder that people are leaving, even if San Francisco is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S.

Redfin says that among those leaving the Bay Area, the top destination is Sacramento, California’s state capital.

2. Los Angeles

Highway traffic in Los Angeles, California
Sean Pavone /

Metro’s net outflow of residents from August through October: 34,100

An exodus from the City of Angels that began last year has accelerated in 2022. Departing residents most commonly gravitate to San Diego.

In fact, California as a state seems to have lost some of its luster. Population growth has stalled since 2017, leading to the loss of one U.S. congressional seat — the first time that has happened in the state’s 170-year history.

3. New York City

Luciano Mortula LGM /

Metro’s net outflow of residents from August through October: 22,400

New Yorkers fleeing NYC are not staying in the Empire State. Overwhelmingly, they are headed to Miami, Redfin says.

Of course, Miami is not the only option for those hoping to flee to paradise before winter locks them in its icy grip. For more, check out “The 25 Best Cities to Retire in Florida.”

The rest of the top 10

U.S. Capitol
Orhan Cam /

Here are the other top 10 big cities with a net outflow of residents between August and October, and the destinations they most commonly moved to:

  • Washington, D.C.: 18,100 (top destination: Salisbury, Maryland)
  • Boston: 7,800 (Portland, Maine)
  • Chicago: 7,300 (Milwaukee)
  • Detroit: 4,200 (Cleveland)
  • Denver: 3,400 (Chicago)
  • Seattle: 1,600 (Phoenix)
  • Philadelphia: 1,500 (Salisbury, Maryland)