Relocation Report

Most Populous U.S. Cities with a Shrinking Resident Footprint During The Pandemic

Residents have been packing their bags and vacating America's most populous cities

  • 7.3% The percentage of residents that left San Francisco since the start of the pandemic- the highest in the nation
  • 26 The number of U.S. cities out of the 29 studied that have seen a population decline since Covid-19 took hold.
  • 1.25% The percentage of Americans who moved out of the cities being tracked since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

There have been so many pandemic-induced trends over the past 12-months that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of all the changes that have taken place. Accelerated change is happening all around us as dramatic shifts in lifestyle lead to new patterns of behavior. One such example is the exodus from America’s most populous cities.

By analyzing relocation data in 29 cities across America, we discovered that over a 12-month period during the pandemic 1.25% of Americans moved out of highly populated cities we were tracking.

With an increase in remote working and scholastic environments, many professionals and families alike are opting for a less-crowded living environment. The data suggests that developed urban areas carry less appeal in a post-pandemic world. 

Cities that Lost the Most Residents

It’s the largest cities that are seeing the biggest rush for the exits, with 7.3% of San Francisco’s residents moving out and 4.1% of those in New York City seeking new pastures.

Cities with the Highest Population Growth

It’s not all doom and gloom for the cities of the U.S. Three cities did see population growth during the crisis. Phoenix and Las Vegas bucked the trend more than anywhere else, seeing a 0.7% rise in population.


TOP Data analyzed GPS tracking data of over 60 million smartphone users across 180 mobile apps to understand the rate of relocation at a national, state, county, and city level. Relocations were compared over a 12-month timeframe to see the population shifts that occurred during the pandemic and identify cities that have been heavily impacted by the crisis.

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Relocation Report
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