6 Out of 7 Americans Want to Move to One of the Top 50 Metro Areas

6 Out of 7 Americans Want to Move to One of the Top 50 Metro Areas

Large cities rank high for pride of place and best metro areas to live in
view of lower Manhattan

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, large numbers of Americans left major cities in search of living in places with more space or a slower pace of life. But in 2022, that trend seems to be changing as more Americans are interested in living in cities.

According to the new National City Pride Survey from the research firm Omnitrack, six out of seven people report that they would consider moving to one of the top 50 metro areas in the U.S. Of those areas, New York ranks highest by several measures, and is seen as a good destination for job opportunities.

Top 10 U.S. cities where people want to live

In an October study from Pew Research, 46% of people said they want to live in suburban areas. In that survey, respondents said they're most interested in living somewhere that's a good place to raise children (58%) and has access to recreational and outdoor activities (45%).

Omnitrack's findings suggest that trends are shifting, and that those planning to move may not necessarily be interested in going rural. In their expansive survey of over 25,000 people, 84% told the research firm that they're interested in moving to a top 50 metro area in the U.S.

These are the top 10 most popular cities people want to move to:

  1. New York
  2. San Diego
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Nashville, Tenn.
  5. Seattle
  6. Denver
  7. Colorado Springs, Colo.
  8. Charlotte, N.C.
  9. Chicago
  10. Miami, Jacksonville, Fla., and Austin, Texas (tie)

For six out of seven Americans, New York ranks as the top city to move to. When it comes to pride of place, residents also gave it the highest score, rating it an 8.5 out of 10 points in terms of how proud they are to call the city "home."

The next highest pride of place goes to San Francisco, however San Francisco is not a top most coveted destination, coming in at just 12th place on the list.

Reasons why people want to relocate to cities

Several of the top cities in Omnitrack's study — including San Diego, Miami, Los Angeles, Seattle and Austin — also ranked among the top 10 healthiest U.S. cities in a study from fitness technology platform Mindbody. Austin received further acknowledgement from Robert Half for being the best city for millennials, and the second-ranked city for Generation X.

In addition to heath and outdoor activities, weather is a big draw to some of the top cities on Omnitrack's list, with seven of the top 12 located in the Sun Belt.

For other top cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Nashville, respondents say job opportunities are one of the biggest draws. Other appealing characteristics of popular cities include music, relaxed environment and progressive values.

Omnitrack also notes that pet ownership is likely to stay a stronghold in metropolitan life, even residents return to pre-pandemic conditions. Their list of top cities for pet owners includes Omaha, Neb.,Baltimore, Louisville, Ky., Atlanta, Chicago and New York.

Methodology: Omnitrak's National Pride Survey was conducted online amongst a nationally representative sample of 25,700 people in the U.S.