15 Affordable US Cities With The Most Population Growth


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Editor’s note: This story originally appeared on Roofstock.

Between 2019 and 2020, nearly 29 million Americans moved to new housing within the United States, nearly 40% of whom moved to different counties or states.

The rising cost of living in some cities is pushing residents to more affordable places. According to the US Census Bureau, while the total US population has grown by 1.3% over the past three years, some places with lower-than-average costs of living have grown by more than 10%.

Geographical mobility within the United States has been declining since 2012. Between 1984 and 1985, more than 20% of Americans moved into accommodation. By 2020, that number has fallen to less than 10%. Transition of all types – within the same county, to a different county within the same state, and to another – goes downhill.

Reasons for this decline include an aging population, rising housing and transportation costs, and the emergence of dual-income families, according to the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies. The COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily halted many moves, but trends toward remote work may spur more residents to change locations, particularly to more affordable areas.

To find the most affordable metro areas with the largest population growth in recent years, our team of researchers analyzed the latest population data from the US Census Bureau and the latest cost-of-living data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. Our methodology in the end.

Here are the big, affordable metros in the country with the most population growth.

15. Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah
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  • Population change percentage (2017-2020): 2.9%
  • Total population change (2017-2020): 35,266
  • Population 2020: 1,240,029
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -1.4%

14. Indianapolis – Carmel – Anderson, Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana
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  • Population change percentage (2017-2020): 3.1%
  • Total population change (2017-2020): 62,046
  • Population 2020: 2,091,019
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -8.9%

13. Oklahoma City, okay

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma's Highway Traffic
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  • Population change percentage (2017-2020): 3.1%
  • Total population change (2017-2020): .43,478
  • Population in 2020: 1,425,375 people
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -10.2%

12. Tucson, Arizona

Tucson
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  • Population change percentage (2017-2020): 3.3%
  • Total population change (2017-2020): 34,060
  • Population 2020: 1,061,175
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -6.9%

11. Atlanta – Sandy Springs – Alpharetta, Georgia

Atlanta Homes, Georgia
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  • Population change percentage (2017-2020): 3.6%
  • Total population change (2017-2020): 210,999
  • Population 2020: 6,087,762
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -2.1%

10. Tampa-St. St Petersburg Clearwater, Florida

Tampa, Florida
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  • Population change percentage (2017-2020): 4.3%
  • Total population change (2017-2020): 133,685
  • Population 2020: 3,243,963
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -1.2%

9. Nashville Davidson – Murfreesboro – Franklin, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee
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  • Population change percentage (2017-2020): 4.5%
  • Total population change (2017-2020): 84,783
  • Population 2020: 1,961,232
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -5.6%

8. Orlando Kissimmee Sanford, Florida

Orlando Florida
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  • Population change percentage (2017-2020): 4.7%
  • Total population change (2017-2020): 119,448
  • Population in 2020: 2,639,374 people
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -1.0%

7. San Antonio – New Braunfels, Texas

San Antonio at night.
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  • Population change percentage (2017-2020): 4.8%
  • Total population change (2017-2020): 119129
  • Population in 2020: 2,590,732
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -6.7%

6. Charlotte Concord Gastonia, NC-SC

Charlotte, North Carolina
Kevin Rock / Shutterstock.com
  • Population change percentage (2017-2020): 5.2%
  • Total population change (2017-2020): 131575
  • Population 2020: 2,684,276
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -5.6%

5. Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida
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  • Population change percentage (2017-2020): 5.4%
  • Total population change (2017-2020): 80,998
  • Population in 2020: 1,587,892
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -4.6%

4. Las Vegas Henderson Paradise, Nevada

Las Vegas skyline
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  • Population change percentage (2017-2020): 6.1%
  • Total population change (2017-2020): 132,690
  • Population 2020: 2,315,963
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -3.1%

3. Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona
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  • Population change percentage (2017-2020): 6.3%
  • Total population change (2017-2020): 299,192
  • Population 2020: 5,059,909
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -1.3%

2. Raleigh Cary, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina
Sharkshock / Shutterstock.com
  • Population change percentage (2017-2020): 6.4%
  • Total population change (2017-2020): .85,197
  • Population in 2020: 1,420,376
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -3.9%

1. Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, Texas

Austin, Texas watercolor
Silvio Liguti / Shutterstock.com
  • Population change percentage (2017-2020): 8.5%
  • Total population change (2017-2020): 179304
  • Population 2020: 2,295,303
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -0.7%

methodology

Man, analyzing data on a laptop
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To find affordable locations with the largest population growth, researchers at Roofstock analyzed the latest population data from the US Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program and cost-of-living data from the US Census Bureau’s regional price parity data.

The researchers ranked metro areas according to the percentage change in population from 2017 to 2020. In a tie, metros with the largest overall change in population from 2017 to 2020 ranked higher. Only central areas with costs of living below the national average were included in the analysis.

To improve relevance, urban areas with at least 100,000 people are included.

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