According to the latest data, some of the biggest winners in recent years have been states such as California, Massachusetts and New York. The states were able to reduce much of the annual losses they suffered in domestic migration during the housing boom, when residents left in mass numbers for wider, more affordable spaces in the Sun Belt and Mountain West. The bigger states also continue to gain relatively more people from higher immigration and births.
Broken down by age and metro area, the Washington, D.C., area ranked at the top of destinations for young adults in the 2009-2011 period, rocketing up from 45th in 2006-2008. The area has been boosted by its promise of more plentiful government-related jobs, as well as a continuing influx of students attending area universities and its up-and-coming neighborhoods.
Texas metro areas including Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio, which already were on the rise before the recession hit in late 2007, have remained a strong draw for young adults due in large part to their thriving energy and high-tech industries. They ranked second, fifth, sixth and ninth, respectively, in terms of youth migration.
Denver and Portland, Ore., rounded out the top five at No. 3 and No. 4.
Separate census data released earlier this year showed that most of America's largest cities were growing at a faster rate than their surrounding suburbs for the first time in a century, driven mostly by young adults. That also has prompted city planners to devise ways to attract young adults, who generally desire no-strings-attached apartment living and close proximity to potential jobs.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in July invited architects to design an apartment building of "micro-units" no more than 300 square feet. The city envisions a future in which the young and the cash-poor will flock to these dwellings, having grown weary of "doubling up" with friends or family in the economic downturn.