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New census data hints at an urban population revival, assisted by immigration
Brookings
2024.04.18
The COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on urban population shifts have not completely subsided. But recently released Census Bureau estimates suggest a trend toward demographic revival for most of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas and urban core counties. Population losses in these places are subsiding and, in some cases, turning into gains that are approaching pre-pandemic levels. Migration patterns, especially a continued rise in post-pandemic immigration from abroad, have contributed to these shifts.
This analysis examines how recent urban growth patterns have shifted from the peak pandemic period and now signal a trend toward demographic revival. This includes reduced out-migration and smaller population losses in major metropolitan areas such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, as well as shifts from sharp losses to gains in urban core areas such as San Francisco and Washington, D.C. While natural increase (the excess of births minus deaths) has improved almost everywhere, changing domestic migration patterns and especially a rise in international migration served to benefit population change in large metropolitan areas and their urban core counties.