Artificial Intelligence

Let’s Move It: Atlanta

Tracking Migration Patterns in Atlanta 

Atlanta caught our eye due to its high growth rate in recent years. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, eight of the 15 cities with the largest population gains between 2010 and 2019 are in the South and Atlanta makes the top five fastest growing top cities 

As part of a series, we are looking at several markets and getting a sense of how they were impacted by the pandemic. Did people move out of the city or stay local? How far did they go if they did move out? What other destinations attracted those that did leave? These are some of the questions we will be exploring over the next several blogs.

We’re always trying to get ahead of migration trends at Beekin for the benefit of our customers and our own orientation of where the market is, given that so much of our internal analysis relies upon our ability to keep our finger on the pulse. It’s been an abnormal year given the pandemic and with all this talk of an urban exodus, we wanted to find out for ourselves if it was true and rely on what the data was telling us. We took a look at a few markets we were particularly interested in monitoring. 

Today we’re discussing the great city of Atlanta. 

Methodology: We’ve taken the data from the USPS change of address data from March 2020 and cross referenced it with the same data set for March 2021. The thought process here is that those back in March 2020 might not have indicated any permanent changes for some time, even if they did leave the cities for some time. If a change of address had been filed as of March 2021, this would indicate a long term commitment. Rather than looking at the ongoings of Philly proper, we decided to keep the methodology we used last time and look at the CBSA as a whole. The “core-based statistical areas (or CBSAs) as outlined by the United States Office of Management and Budget give us a well rounded look at the metro areas and the migration patterns associated with the above metropolitan areas.

Here’s what the Atlanta CBSA looks like from a birds eye view:

Of the observed 2,539,729 home owners and renters we analyzed and identified in the CBSA Atlanta metro area(CBSA code = 12060), 465,765 moved over the course of the year.

Where did everybody go? 

CBSA Level Analysis

Top 5 CBSA areas Atlantans moved to:

462,943 stayed in the Atlanta CBSA (code 12060)
547 went to Dallas, TX (CBSA code 19100)
536 went to Washington DC (CBSA code 47900)
389 went to Chicago, IL (CBSA code 16980)
346 went to Los Angeles, CA (CBSA code 31080)
252 went to Denver, CO (CBSA code 19740)
Top 5 CBSA areas new Atlantans moved from:

462,943 once again remained in Atlanta in CBSA 12060.
779 came from Los Angeles, CA (CBSA code 31080)
704 came from Washington DC (CBSA code 47900)
675 came from Chicago, IL (CBSA code 16980)
389 came from Philadelphia, PA (CBSA code 37980)
300 came from Denver, CO (CBSA code 19740)

At the CBSA level, we still see an overwhelming amount of people are remaining in the Atlanta area when they do move. LA, DC and Chicago are enticing some renters but for the most part people are staying put in Atlanta.

State Level Analysis 

Top 10 states Atlantans moved to:

462,943 stayed put in Georgia
547 went to Texas
461 went to California 
370 went to Illinois 
262 went to Virginia 
199 went to Maryland 
165 went to Pennsylvania 
155 went to Ohio 
105 went to Tennessee
89 went to Missouri
Top 10 states new Georgia moved from:

462,943 stayed in Georgia
919 came from California
662 came from Illinois  
325 came from Virginia
300 came from Colorado 
270 came from Pennsylvania
250 came from Maryland 
233 came from Ohio 
179 came from Missouri 
141 came from Tennessee 
133 came from Washington DC 

At the state level, we once again see movement to California and Illinois, inline with what we expect based on the CBSA analysis above.

City Level Analysis 

Top 10 cities Atlantans moved to:

99753 stayed put in Atlanta, GA 
20390 stayed in Marietta, GA 
13855 stayed in Decatur, GA 
13440 went to Lawrenceville, GA
12043 went to Alpharetta, GA 
11000 went to Duluth, GA 
9923 went to Smyrna, GA
9894 went to Cumming, GA
8208 went to Newnan, GA
8181 went to Canton, GA
Top 10 cities Georgians moved from:

101,194 stayed in Atlanta, GA 
20,618 came from Marietta, GA 
14089 came from Decatur, GA 
13669 came from Lawrenceville, GA 
11958 came from Alpharetta, GA 
11176 came from Duluth, GA
10038 came from Smyrna, GA
9539 came from Cumming, GA
8292 came from Stone Mountain, GA 
8160 came from Lithonia, GA 

The city level analysis paints a very different picture based on the other two graphs, highlighting the importance of granularity. Again we see the emphasis of Atlantans on staying within the metro area and though these are all technically different cities, they are all not too far from the Atlanta CBSA. Overwhelmingly, no other city holds a candle to the gravity of Atlanta.

Distance Level Analysis 

Let’s take a look at our distance data and see how many people moved within various parameters of their original addresses. 

273,340 moved within half a mile
29,707 moved half a mile to a mile 
73,065 moved within 1-5 miles
33,661 moved within 5-10 miles
48,325 moved within 10-50 miles
7667 moved 50+ miles 

We see that the Atlantans also preferred to stay local, just as their Philadelphia counterparts did from our last blog, but we see a greater willingness to move further away as the larger states would suggest. Overall, about a fifth of the renters moved within the last year signaling an area in flux with staying power. We feel confident that Atlanta will remain a dynamic market for investors, asset managers and acquisitions in the coming years.

Thanks for reading. Up next we will be reviewing Chicago, IL! 

Beekin Team