More people moved to these US counties in 2023 than anywhere else

FILE - Penske moving truck parked in driveway of home, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. (Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Americans are increasingly choosing to relocate from densely populated urban centers like Los Angeles and New York City to regions offering more affordable housing options and lower living expenses. This trend is evident in the migration towards cities in states such as Florida, Texas, and Arizona. 

Data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau showed a maximum exodus of residents into several standout counties in 2023, and Polk County, Florida, had the highest number of new arrivals. 

More than 29,300 people moved last year to Polk County, located between Tampa and Orlando, two metro areas where housing has grown increasingly pricey. The county is considered a cheaper alternative. In short order, Polk County has come to have fewer orange groves along Interstate 4 and more subdivisions for local service workers, as well as distribution warehouses for on-demand deliveries for residents in both metropolitan areas. 

The only other counties that outnumbered Polk County were Harris and Montgomery counties in metro Houston, Texas; Collin County in metro Dallas; and Maricopa County in Phoenix, Arizona. However, these counties’ numbers only grew due to their higher number of natural increases, or births outnumbering deaths. 

Almost all the growth in Polk County — 88% — consisted of people moving from another part of the U.S. rather than from abroad, according to the 2023 population estimates. 

"Subdivision growth has been springing up and it happens in such a manner that you don’t always notice it. But when you are stuck in traffic, that’s when you really pay attention that it’s going on," Matt Joyner, a seventh-generation Polk County resident, said about the influx of new residents.

Top 10 US counties with the most growth in new residents 

Los Angeles saw the largest decline in population in 2023, with 56,000 fewer residents, according to the Census Bureau. 

Cook County, Illinois, had the second-highest population decline and Kings County, New York, had the third. 

The three counties representing the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx in New York City lost 28,300 people, 26,300 people and 25,300 people respectively last year, according to the estimates. 

Among metro areas, which combine counties having social and economic connections, the Dallas metro area had the most significant growth last year — more than 152,000 residents — and surpassed 8 million residents for the first time. That growth was followed by metro Houston, with almost an additional 140,000 residents, and metro Atlanta, with an increase of more than 68,000 people. 

Metro Atlanta jumped two spots from last year to become the sixth most populous metro area, with 6.3 million residents. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.