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More young adults are leaving big cities to buy houses in lower-cost metros

Al Urbanski
Boise's booming: Idaho and Montana have been the fastest-growing states in the union since the first quarter of 2021.

Retailers that have young families as their customer bases may want to start scouting locations in Boise instead of Los Angeles.

In search of lower business and housing costs, Americans aged 25 to 44 are abandoning major metros like L.A. and moving to places like Boise, Idaho, where the percentage of single-family housing is greater than that of renter-occupied housing, according to a report from

Outbound migration of this age group was already increasing in New York and L.A. prior to the outbreak of COVID in 2019, with outward migration increasing by 0.13% and 0.10%, respectively. In Boise, where less than a third of housing is renter-occupied, inbound migration was ticking up slowly with an increase of 0.06%.

But this year, outward migration in the two biggest metros in the United States increased to 0.20% and 0.15%, while Boise’s inbound residents jumped by 0.70%.

“Some people, as they age, are moving out of ‘younger’ cities and choosing to relocate to areas where they can more easily settle down, buy a house, and engage in more grown-up-oriented recreational activities,” said senior solutions engineer Ben Witten, the author of the report.

The traffic data company’s analysis of pre- and post-COVID migration trends in more than 60 metros found that those with a high share of renter-occupied housing experienced more outbound migration, while cities with higher shares of single-family housing saw their populations growing.  

Greater population influxes also correlated with older populations, lower costs of doing business, and less multi-family housing and more single-family housing as a share of total new construction.


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