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Alex is the founder of 9Kilo Moving, which he started to help people easily find and choose the right moving company to make their move as stress-free and seamless as possible. He has spent over 20 years working in the moving industry, so he knows every aspect of the business and uses his knowledge to write about the industry and give moving advice. More on about us page

Many people have moved from small towns to large cities and suburbs within the country for various reasons in recent years. Whether it’s to seek educational or employment opportunities or to embrace the fast-paced city lifestyle, urban cities like New York City and San Francisco have always been among the bucket list of most Americans.

As the lifestyle of people changes, the need for a better standard of living and affordable cost of living becomes a priority. But not all cities are affordable and family-friendly. Many would still prefer buying a larger vehicle in a small town or a suburb than a small car in a crowded city. That’s why there has been a lot of migration of people to suburbs and small towns. Here are some of the cities that Americans are fleeing from in recent years.

10 Cities That Americans Are Fleeing

  1. Manhattan, New York
  2. Chicago, Illinois
  3. San Francisco, California
  4. Brooklyn, New York
  5. Naples, Florida
  6. Washington, D.C.
  7. Los Angeles, California
  8. Houston, Texas
  9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  10. Fort Myers, Florida


1. Manhattan, New York

The urban core of New York, Manhattan is the dream place of so many people around the world. It’s one of the five boroughs of New York and resides in the southeastern part of the state. Be it the amazing nightlife, booming economy, or top-notch transport systems, the city surely has everything one can ask for.

But when it comes to affordability, the cost of living in Manhattan is on the expensive side. That too by a huge margin! According to the data shared by BestPlaces, the cost of living index of Manhattan is 258.3 which is higher than the national average of 100. So, if you want to live comfortably in this city, you’ll need a salary between $80,000 to $255,000 to meet all your living expenses.

Upsides- Manhattan has plenty of restaurants, bars, art galleries, and museums that you can easily explore because of the awesome public transportation for getting around in the city.

Downsides- The city is known to have extremely high real estate prices and wherein you’ll be paying thousands of dollars for a small space with limited amenities.

Population- 1,631,993
Median Home Value- $987,700
Median Home Rent- $1,740
Median Household Income- $86,553
Unemployment Rate- 3.5%

See also: Moving to New York City

2. Chicago, Illinois

The popular attractions of Navy Pier, Willis Tower, and the Magnificent Mile in Chicago have made it one of the most-visited and famous cities in Illinois. It’s one of the major metropolitan areas of the state and nestles in Cook County. Since the city is home to several major companies like the Federal Reserve Bank Of Chicago, McDonald’s, and Boeing, it’s not surprising that much of the state’s economy comes from this city.

Because of being an industrial hub, the property taxes here are known to be the second-highest in the entire country. The Windy City is known to have extremely breezy and cold winters, causing many residents to move out of the city. The worst thing is, even if you have your own vehicle, getting around is going to be a nightmare here. Many people are moving out as most areas in the city have paid parking, so you have no choice but to hire a taxi or an Uber. Let’s just not forget the traffic congestion during rush hours if you’re taking the main expressways of Dan Ryan or Kennedy!

Upsides- Chicago is known to have some of the world-famous cuisines like Polish dishes, Italian beef, butter-crust pizzas, Chicago-style hotdog and much more.

Downsides- The city has been referred to as the ‘Murder Capital’ because of the increasing number of violent crimes in the past years. Many people are moving out of Chicago because of dangerous areas in the city like West Garfield Park, Englewood, Washington Park, etc.

Population- 2,709,534
Median Home Value- $258,000
Median Home Rent- $1,112
Median Household Income- $58,247
Unemployment Rate- 5.5%

3. San Francisco, California

When we talk of San Francisco, you might already be imagining the sea, artistic markets, lively streets, and plenty of picnicking spots in this Golden City. The city also boasts its largest employers like Netflix, Google, Facebook, Apple, Tesla, and so, plenty of job opportunities here. So, it shouldn’t surprise you that this city is the cultural, commercial, and financial capital of California. Although all these things make San Francisco look like a wonderful city, it might not really be perfect for everyone.

Along with New York City, San Francisco has had a lot of its residents move out of the city in the past years. The skyrocketing housing prices in the city have intimidated many people and made them seek a home elsewhere. If you’re buying a home in the Bay Area, your housing costs can go up to a million dollars! So, it shouldn't surprise you that the city’s income and property taxes are higher than the national average. Another reason for people moving out of here is the traffic congestion of the city.

Upsides- The city has a great public transportation system and you can use cabs, bicycles, scooters, buses, trollies, and light rail to get around anywhere in the city.

Downsides- San Francisco is also known as the ‘Fog City’ especially in the western part of the city. The city is also known to have unpredictable weather patterns.

Population- 874,961
Median Home Value- $1.097,800
Median Rent- $1,895
Median Household Income- $112,449
Unemployment Rate- 2.9%


4. Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn is one of the five and most popular boroughs of New York. In recent years, the city has had a renaissance in the finance, technology, and entertainment sectors. Even when it comes to a high standard of living, Brooklyn surely seems to tick off all the boxes. Right from popular restaurants, exclusive stores, and good public transportation, the city has it all.

But because of the recent popularity, it has gained in terms of its booming economy, there has been an increase in housing costs. If you take a look at the real estate prices here, you wouldn’t be surprised that Brooklyn has earned the title of ‘New Manhattan’. That’s why many people here are not able to meet the rising housing costs here.

Upsides- Brooklyn is known for its amazing nightlife and artistic neighborhoods to explore.

Downsides- Because of the growing economy, the residents of Brooklyn face a lot of commuting problems during rush hours.

Population- 2,589,974
Median Home Value- $706,000
Median Rent- $1,426
Median Household Income- $60,231
Unemployment Rate- 3.9%

5. Naples, Florida

The city of Naples is the dream destination for all beach lovers. It has tons of restaurants, boutiques, shopping centers, and glittering sandy white beaches. Doesn't it all sound tempting? Such amazing amenities and scenic places makes everyone fall in love with the city of Naples. But the city does have a lot of drawbacks that have made many of its residents move outside the city.

The abundance of great beaches and good communities in the city has spurred up the housing prices to a great extent. Housing costs in the city can go up to over a million dollars, which is why most people can’t afford to stay here. Although the city is known to be a great place for retirees, it has limited amenities for children, making many families move out of the city.

The tropical climate of Naples means you won’t get to enjoy all four seasons here. To add to that, the months of June to November is hurricane season!

Upsides- The city has tons of activities like golfing, fishing, kayaking, and boating because of its close proximity to beaches and humid weather in summers.

Downsides- Naples has a large tourist population that visits the city every year, so you’ll have to deal with crowded restaurants and heavy traffic on the streets.

Population- 21,812
Median Home Value- $988,500
Median Rent- $1,357
Median Household Income- $107,013
Unemployment Rate- 1.2%

6. Washington, D.C.

The city of Washington is filled with rich history and lots of job opportunities that have lured several millennials in the past years. Being one of the busiest metropolitan cities in the country, the transportation system is undoubtedly one of the best in the nation. That doesn’t make it a perfect city to live in though. There are several drawbacks in the city making its residents seek homes in other suburbs and small towns.

The average household income in Washington is considered one of the highest in the country and the cost of living follows suit. That’s why purchasing a home here seems like an unattained dream for many. One of the reasons why most families are moving out of here is because of the bad reputation of public schools in the city. If you can’t afford to pay for private school fees, you’ll either have to compromise with the bad quality of public schools or move to a better place.

Since this is the capital city of the U.S. we’re talking about, the work culture here cannot be ignored. Because of challenging working conditions, many residents are turning into workaholics and slowly moving out to maintain their personal relationships.

Upsides- The city is home to several multinational organizations like IMF, World Bank, etc. and so you can expect plenty of employment opportunities here.

Downsides- Being a major metropolitan city and an industrial hub of several top-notch companies, the traffic here is one of the worst nightmares. The residents of Washington have been reported to have been stuck in traffic for long hours while commuting to work.

Population- 692,683
Median Home Value- $601,500
Median Rent- $1,541
Median Household Income- $86,420
Unemployment Rate- 4.9%


7. Los Angeles, California

The rugged mountains, sandy beaches, and enchanting deserts of Los Angeles have made it a popular tourist destination. Being one of the largest cities in California, its entertainment and tourism industry has certainly contributed to the state’s economy to a great extent. California is known to have one of the highest property tax rates in the country. So, LA is not an exception when it comes to expensive housing costs.

Also, there are fewer employment opportunities here which is why most people can’t afford living in this city. Since the city is flooded by tourists every year, it’s ranked among the top congested cities in the country. Another reason why people are moving out of LA is the unending traffic problems, especially on highways during rush hours.

Upsides- LA has pleasant weather throughout the year and its close proximity to beaches means endless outdoor activities to explore.

Downsides- The public transportation system in LA isn’t that good so getting around the city is troublesome for many residents.

Population- 3,966,396
Median Home Value- $636,900
Median Rent- $1,450
Median Household Income- $62,142
Unemployment Rate- 4.2%

8. Houston, Texas

Houston certainly seems to have attracted a lot of people because of its diversity in terms of economy, food, culture, and low cost of living. Speaking of the city’s thriving job market, several sectors like oil and gas, aerospace, manufacturing, etc. dominate here. So, Houston is considered to be one of the fastest-growing metropolitan cities. Sadly, Houston also faces a lot of commuting problems since the city has a bad transportation system. That’s why many residents are migrating to other suburban areas.

Although you don’t have to worry about paying any state income tax in Texas, you’ll be paying a heavy sales tax in this city. The unpredictable weather of the city has made many residents leave the city. So you better beware of the humidity in summers and hurricanes, especially in the coastal areas of the city.

Upsides- Houston is known to have plenty of job opportunities in the medical sector as it’s home to the world’s largest medical complex.

Downsides- You’ll have to deal with mosquitoes as Houston has a very hot and humid climate most of the time.

Population- 2,310,432
Median Home Value- $171,800
Median Rent- $1,041
Median Household Income- $52,338
Unemployment Rate- 4%

9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Many would jump at the chance of living in Philadelphia because of its diverse neighborhoods, rich history, and famous galleries and museums. Also, the live entertainment culture of the city and economic growth has captured the interest of many people. But the city has many downsides which are why most of its residents are fleeing to other cities and suburbs.

The city’s economy is dominated by two sectors: healthcare and education. Although people in the medical field and educational sector see this as an opportunity, others find it challenging. There are very few opportunities when it comes to other sectors because of which people are seeking employment elsewhere. Let’s not forget the concern for one’s safety in the city because of its increasing crime rates in the past years. If not that, the traffic here surely can be one of the biggest reasons why most of the population has moved to other cities.

Upsides- Philadelphia is just a few hours away from major cities like New York City and Washington, D.C.

Downsides- The city is known to have really humid weather and for high amounts of toxic gases and fumes in the air causing air pollution.

Population- 1,579,075
Median Home Value- $163,000
Median Rent- $1,042
Median Household Income- $45,927
Unemployment Rate- $5.7%

10. Fort Myers, Florida

When it comes to a blend of urban and suburban lifestyles, Fort Myers in Florida immediately comes to mind. Who doesn’t like sunny weather and quick access to beaches? All these things would surely make you think of having it on your bucket list. But wait, what if the downsides of the city make you think otherwise?

The retail and food sectors dominate the economy of the city. That’s why people from other fields find it difficult to seek employment in other sectors. There’s no doubt about the fact that you’ll get to experience great entertainment in this city. But during vacation time, the city is flooded with tourists and so bar fights and crowded restaurants are a common thing here. One major reason for people moving out of Fort Myers is the risk of floods as the city nestles along the coastal area.

Upsides- The location of Fort Myers is such that you can have easy access to beaches and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy.

Downsides- The city has limited public transportation services and so you’ll probably have to book a taxi to get around the city.

Population- 79,927
Median Home Value- $238,700
Median Rent- $1,033
Median Household Income- $46,409
Unemployment Rate- 3.1%



When we talk about some of the major cities in the U.S., we consider their booming economy, the rich city lifestyle, and high standard of living. But even huge cities fail to meet the individual demands of many. Whether it’s the high real estate prices, congestion in the cities, low income, or limited opportunities for a growing family, everyone has different priorities. These were just a few cities that had its residents moving elsewhere over the past few years. In the end, not one city can be perfect for all. So if you’re deciding on a move, prioritize your needs and then plan your move.


What Are The Reasons People Move Away From The City?

Most people are moving away from cities to get rid of traffic congestion and pollution and for a better standard of living in other small suburban areas or towns. The high cost of living in cities is another reason why people are moving away to affordable places.

See also: Moving to Countryside: Pros and Cons

What Is Good About Living In The City?

There are several reasons why living in a city is a good option for many. The employment opportunities, transportation facilities, and good standard of living compared to most small towns and suburbs.

Why Is It Better To Live In A Big City?

Living in a big city surely has its own perks like better healthcare facilities, good economy and job opportunities, better education, and standard of living.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Cities?

One of the biggest disadvantages of living in cities is the high cost of living. Other than that, noise pollution, high crime rates, and cramped places are common problems in cities.