While the top metros across the country may be combatting rising rents with booming job markets, lower-income households are being pushed out, according Trulia research. In New York City, the relocation rate for low-income earners earning less than $60,000 per year was 18 percent as of 2014.

  • While the number of people making more money in the top metros is growing, those earning less than $30,000 per year has fallen only 2.2 percent.
  • The years between 2009 and 2014 had the greatest share of people moving out of the 10 most expensive cities at 25.5 percent.
  • Lower-paying occupations, by far, had higher move rates.
  • Millennials move at a greater rate than expected across the board, with 51.1 percent share of migrations and highest move-away rate relative to expectation at 105.6 percent
Wojtek Witkowski

Wojtek Witkowski

While the top metros across the country may be combatting rising rents with booming job markets, lower-income households are being pushed out, according Trulia research. In New York City, the relocation rate for low-income earners earning less than $60,000 per year was 18 percent as of 2014.

Rent prices have increased at an average of 13 percent across the top cities where rents and home prices grew, including Chicago, Los Angeles, NYC, Oakland, Orange County, San Francisco, San Jose and Washington D.C. In addition, home values rose at an average of 12.5 percent between 2010 and 2014. During the same span, the share of households earning over $100,000 a year rose 3.6 percent.

While the number of people making more money in the top metros is growing, those earning less than $30,000 per year (30 percent of households) has fallen only 2.2 percent.

Who is leaving the nation’s top metros?

Trulia refers to the pattern of low-income earners seeking alternative affordable cities as “out-migration.” The study, conducted by looking at U.S. Census American Community Survey data from 2009 to 2014, found that households making $30,000 or less moved out at the highest rate relative to expectations at 50.8 percent higher than anticipated. That figure is up from the period between 2005 and 2009, when move away rates in this income bracket were 48.1 percent higher than expected.

Moreover, the years between 2009 and 2014 had the greatest share of people moving out of the 10 most expensive cities at 25.5 percent, as compared with 25.3 percent relocation between 2005 and 2009.

Comparatively, households earning more than $150,000 moved out at the slightest rates when paralleled with expectations – a difference of 28 percent. Relocation was at just 7.1 percent for people earning between $120,000 and $150,000.

New York’s out-migration issue

Although NYC had the smallest move-away rate within the top 10 metros for those making $30,000 or less when compared with expectations, the rate was still high, at 35.1 percent — up from 21 percent between 2005 and 2009.

More than half of everyone that moved out of cities in the study earned less than $60,000, which is higher than the national median income, Trulia notes.

Low-paying jobs bring high risk of relocation

Lower-paying occupations, by far, had higher move rates. Transient jobs including military personnel and agriculture and forestry positions saw surprisingly high rates, as well.

But the tech industry, classified as information and communications workers, saw an out-migration rate at 11.8 percent lower than anticipated. San Jose and San Francisco, two bustling tech cities, saw lower move-away rates relative to expectation than the other top cities, especially in the millennial category.

While millennials tend to move at a greater rate than expected across the board (51.1 percent share of migrations and highest move-away rate relative to expectation at 105.6 percent), those earning more than $150,000 in San Jose and San Francisco left at 52.7 percent and 39.4 percent below expectation, respectively.

NYC is a thriving metropolis with opportunities for young professionals to jumpstart a career, but the Big Apple doesn’t have the tech reputation of the West Coast. Therefore, it might be more difficult to get the salary necessary to afford high housing costs and avoid relocation when surviving on a lower income.

Email Jennifer Riner

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