Atlanta’s population growth marches on as the metro area is named the No. 5 most popular destination in 2017 for those picking up stakes and heading out of town.
Moving app Updater issued its first list of top destinations Monday, although it’s been tracking the information since its inception in 2011. In addition to this ranking, Updater reported that the median home price in Atlanta is $232,000, making it the second most affordable city on the list.
In 2016, metro Atlanta added 90,650 people to its population, a 1.6 percent growth over 2015. Since 2010, more than half of Atlanta’s population growth has stemmed from people moving to the area.
“Metro Atlanta is a highly desirable place to live, with a relatively low cost of living, great weather, a thriving arts and culture scene, and a strong, diversified economy that’s adding jobs at one of the fastest rates in the nation,” Paul Donsky, the Atlanta Regional Commission’s communications manager, said in an email. “It’s a winning combination that has fueled tremendous growth in recent years.”
The most popular moving destination on Updater’s list was Washington, D.C., followed by the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Los Angeles, New York City, Atlanta, Austin, Houston, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Chicago. Rounding out the top 15 were Orlando, Seattle, Denver, Boston and Phoenix.
“These cities are some of the most attractive places to live. They’re huge markets with nice suburbs. You don’t have to live downtown to have a really great lifestyle,” said Jenna Weinerman, chief marketing officer for Updater. “Americans in general are migrating back to metro areas, [and] suburban metros are on the rise, pushing the city limits further out.”
The real estate website Trulia reports that suburbs have been gaining population since the recession, albeit more slowly than in past decades. The last U.S. census in 2010 found that nearly 81 percent of Americans — more than 249 million people — live in urban areas.
Atlanta, which moved from third last year to fifth this year, offers southern hospitality, something Weinerman said people find very attractive. Its job market is also hot: Among the 12 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., Atlanta ranked second in job-growth rate and third in the number of jobs added so far this year, according to the latest available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Atlanta’s position as a top moving destination attests to the region’s strong innovation ecosystem coupled with our rich culture and lifestyle amenities,” Hala Moddelmog, Metro Atlanta Chamber’s president and CEO, said in an email. “As a top tech mecca and the No. 1 place to do business, our region’s quality of life is second to none with a diverse, inclusive and creative environment that welcomes everyone.”
Updater founder and CEO David Greenberg said the 2017 list represents one of the largest sample sizes of Americans who are actually moving, as opposed to real estate listings, housing trends or the lists compiled by individual moving companies. Updater’s data was collected from a subset of 1 million household goods relocations from Jan. 1 through the fourth quarter. The information is sent to Updater by real estate brokerages, property management companies, mortgage lenders and others, and the company’s software systems aggregate it.
“The list reveals that large cities are very attractive destinations for both consumers that move in and the corporations that attract them,” Greenberg said.
Greenberg, who is an attorney, developed Updater after discovering — during a particularly aggravating move — that no app existed to help him choose a moving company, change addresses on accounts and other records or arrange for cable, internet, electricity and other utilities. The company currently employs 72 people and said it helps 16 percent of those making a move in any given year with those details. Since the app came online in 2011, the company says it has saved 1 million users 4.7 million hours.