The United States has always been a country on the go, where Americans can test the waters in other areas. This is known as “voting with your feet,” to escape excessive taxes, excessive regulations, high crime or high cost of living.
The coronavirus pandemic has aggravated this situation, with primarily Democratic-controlled jurisdictions tending to keep their cities and states locked down, while many Republican-controlled areas have eased their restrictions.
That trend was reflected in the 2020 census. Axios reported that states that voted for Biden in 2020 lost three net House seats as a result of the head count.
Texas will pick up two of the reapportioned seats. Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon will also gain one seat each.
United Van Lines has been keeping track of American migration trends for decades, and it’s no surprise that of the 25 metropolitan areas residents are heading to the most, eight are in Florida.
Here are the top 10 metropolitan areas that Americans are calling their new home, according to United.
No. 10: Fort Collins-Loveland, Colorado: CNN ranked Fort Collins at number 6 on its 2010 Best Places to Live list, citing an active community, artsy edge, big city job opportunities mixed with a hometown feeling.
For the outdoorsy and fitness-minded, the area has 29 miles of bike trails, and urban cyclists can be seen commuting to and from work, shopping, or running errands everywhere.
For that post-bike experience, the area is the home to numerous breweries from giants like Anheuser-Busch, to smaller craft brewers like Coopersmith’s Pub & Brewing, The Fort Collins Brewery, and Odell Brewing Co. to name a few.
Colorado State University has also made Fort Collins its home, and its residents are huge CSU Rams fans.
No. 9: Nashville, Tennessee: Nashville is one of two cities in the Volunteer State to make United’s top 10 list.
If the United States had an official Music City, Nashville would be it. It’s the mecca for live music performances from huge venues like Ryman Auditorium, to small honky-tonks found on nearly every street corner, and of course the ultimate in country music, the Grand Ole Opry.
For that very reason, you’re liable to run into celebrities from every field of entertainment at the mall, a restaurant, or even the supermarket. They know that Nashville is a town where they can relax without fear of photographers or autograph hounds. For that reason, they just sort of blend right in.
No. 8: Austin-San Marcos, Texas: Texas picked up two electoral votes as a result of the 2020 Census, and the Austin megapolis is one area fleeing Californians can feel most at home.
And for folks who like Austin’s young, edgy vibe but are turned off by its cost of living, San Marcos, located just 30 minutes from downtown Austin, offers a more budget-friendly alternative. The Census Bureau ranked San Marcos America’s fastest growing city from 2013-2015.
City-dwellers will find the area a foodie’s delight, whether their taste is Tex-Mex or fine dining. A short drive out from either city, residents will find the area’s rolling hills and clear blue rivers and streams an outdoor paradise.
No. 7: Melbourne-Titusville-Palm Bay, Florida: This Atlantic Ocean coastal area has it all — the beaches, a moderate cost of living, and proximity to the attractions at Orlando as well as the Kennedy Space Center. It’s also one of three of the Sunshine State’s vicinities to make it to United Van Line’s top 10.
Bert Sperling at BestPlaces.net says the vicinity includes “a large and complex area of barrier islands, beach and coastal communities comprising what is known as the ‘Space Coast.’”
United Van Lines reported that of the moves in the area, 66% moved in, compared to 34% who moved out.
No. 6: Knoxville, Tennessee: This is home to the University of Tennessee Volunteers, where NFL great Peyton Manning got his start while wearing the UT orange, and most of the city’s residents are huge fans.
Knoxville has the same laid-back friendly atmosphere as Louisville and the two cities are less than three hours apart, but Louisville’s cost of living is 38% higher than that of Knoxville’s.
The Tennessee River has its beginnings in Knoxville, and offers opportunities for jet-skiers, canoeists and paddle boarders.
No. 5: Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Florida: The next megapolis lies in Southwest Florida on the gulf coast, and city planners really took advantage of this fact by digging hundreds of miles of canals — more than 400 in Cape Coral alone.
Forbes rated Cape Coral the number one best city in the United States for future job growth in 2017, and in the top 25 for best places to retire in 2015. Fort Myers was named as one of the nation’s top cities for starting a business.
Also, you could say the region helped the Sunshine State get its nickname — Fort Myers has the greatest annual number of days with sun of all the cities in Florida. Beachcombers will find more varieties of shells than any other area in the United States, and neighboring Sanibel Island is home to the nation’s only shell museum.
No. 4: Huntsville, Alabama: Known as Rocket City, Huntsville is home to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and the Army’s Aviation and Missile Command. Accordingly, you’re more likely to run into an actual “rocket scientist” in this northern Alabama city than any other place on Earth.
For that reason, also, those tremors residents experience from time-to-time aren’t earthquakes — it’s just another rocket engine being tested.
But it’s not all aerospace, avionics and slide rules. Folks in Huntsville take their craft beer seriously, and the city dedicates one weekend each year to celebrate the Rocket City Brewfest, which is practically a local holiday.
No. 3: Boise, Idaho: There’s always plenty of things to do in the City of Trees. The adventurous can hike up to the top of Table Rock, something many locals do every weekend. Once at the summit you’ll be met with a 60-foot cross and stunning views of the area’s rolling hills and the cityscape below.
For the more aquatically inclined, try floating down the Boise River or head on over to the Boise Whitewater Park.
The city also plays host to the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, where each summer you can enjoy live theater under the stars in a picturesque riverfront setting. Each season brings five plays — two from Shakespeare and three from other playwrights.
No. 2: Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida: This area is situated on the Gulf coast north of Fort Myers-Cape Coral. In large part this is a community of islands, including Longboat Key, Casey Key, Lido Key, Manasota Key, Siesta Key, and Anna Maria Island.
The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus has made Sarasota its winter home since 1927, when John Ringling made that decision, giving the town its moniker of Circus City.
If you’re driving through Village of the Arts and imagine you’re smelling citrus, you’re not hallucinating. You’re just getting a delightful whiff of the Tropicana plant. And Pine Avenue on Anna Maria Island to the west of Bradenton is called the “Greenest Little Main Street in America” due to its remodeled historic candy-colored buildings lining the street, utilizing green construction and technology.
No. 1: Wilmington, North Carolina: If you’re a dog lover, you’ll find Wilmington accommodating, where pups are welcome at many beaches, restaurants, and stores.
College basketball fans will enjoy the annual “Midnite Madness,” which honors the beginning of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington basketball season, when historically, players couldn’t legally train on the court until midnight of the approved day. Events include team scrimmages, player introductions, and dance team performances. Go Hawks!
Deep sea anglers don’t have to travel to Florida to satisfy their passion. They’ll find black sea bass, grouper, snappers, and kings waiting for them in the waters offshore of The Port City.
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