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U.S. News

Goodbye NY & SF: Boomers bolt for sweeter, cheaper sunbelt

By Jake Beardslee · September 23, 2023

In brief…

  • The Sun Belt region comprising 18 Southeastern and Southwestern states has seen tremendous population growth over the past decade.
  • The region now accounts for 50% of the U.S. population.
  • The growth is driven by people moving from high-tax states to take advantage of the region's business-friendly, low-tax states.
  • Austin, Raleigh, Charleston, Nashville, and Jacksonville have seen their populations surge thanks to affordable housing, high job growth, and desirable climates.
Americans have flocked to the business-friendly, low-tax Sun Belt region over the past decade, drawn by affordable housing, warm climates, and jobs.  Kreeder13/Wikimedia

The Sun Belt region of the United States has seen tremendous population and economic growth over the past decade, accounting for 50% of the national population, a number that is expected to rise to 55% by 2030.

Much of the growth is driven by an exodus from high-tax states in the Northeast and Midwest to the business-friendly, low-tax environs of the Sun Belt.

Texas and Florida have drawn the most new residents thanks to their booming job markets, lower costs of living, and desirable climates, according to a report from Clarion Partners.

Mid-sized cities such as Austin, Raleigh, Charleston, Denver, Nashville, and Jacksonville have also seen their populations surge.

Lower taxes and fewer regulations have spurred the region’s private-sector growth, with the Sun Belt now home to half of all Fortune 500 company headquarters.

Younger businesses and workers have flocked there thanks to its faster job and wage growth, while aging Millennials now make up half the region’s population.

While home prices have risen, metro areas remain far cheaper than New York or San Francisco. Retirees are also flocking to the Sun Belt, which is now home to more than half the nation’s seniors. Warm climates and a wealth of senior-living options make the region a highly desirable destination.