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Artificial Intelligence

Let’s Move It: Philly

Renter Migration in & out of Great Cities

In this series, we will be tracking renter migration across various cities over the past 12 months. We begin with city of brotherly love

It’s been over a year since the pandemic began, sending our daily work and personal lives in a tailspin, and we figured it would be a good idea for a refresh on migration patterns. Given the response to our previous analysis on renter migration, we think this is a good time to revisit migration trends, see how things appear on the other end of the pandemic and offer insights as part of a larger series on migration. 

Are people staying out of cities and chasing their cottage-core dreams, or have they returned to the bustling sprawl of the big cities they’ve come to know and love; that place a premium on work opportunities and cultural events? Some people left cities to spend time with their families, established in more rural areas. Others were able to work remotely and perhaps took their families to the country to ride out the pandemic and work on their zen. Many were undoubtedly motivated by fear, leaving densely populated areas out of fear of contagion. Perhaps many more lost their jobs and left for financial reasons. 

Whatever the reason for leaving the city, we wanted to check in with how things were going and get a sense of how many have committed to leaving and find out if the supreme lure of cities is finally showing signs of an end. Are cities really dead?

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 Philadelphia. 

Methodology: We’ve taken the data from USPS movers 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 Philadelphia CBSA looks like from a birds eye view:

Of the observed 2,544,213 people we analysed and identified in the CBSA Philadelphia metro area(CBSA code = 37980), 325,684 moved over the course of the year.

Where did everybody go? 

CBSA Level Analysis

Top 5 CBSA areas Philadelphians moved to: 323,504 stayed in the Philadelphia CBSA (code 37980)

  1. 674 went to Washington DC (CBSA code 47900)
  2. 389 went to Atlanta GA (CBSA code 12060)
  3. 239 went to Los Angeles, CA (CBSA code 31080)
  4. 209 went to Chicago, IL/Dallas, TX (tied for 4th place) (CBSA codes 16980 and 19100 respectfully)
  5. 167 went to Denver, CO (CBSA code 19740)

Top 5 CBSA areas new Philadelphians moved from: 323,504 once again remained in Philly in CBSA 37980.

  1. 774 came from Washington DC (CBSA code 47900)
  2. 310 came from Los Angeles, CA (CBSA code 31080)
  3. 254 came from Chicago, IL (CBSA code 16980)
  4. 251 came from Atlanta, GA (CBSA code 12060)
  5. 168 came from Denver, CO (CBSA code 19740)

Move state: From PA -> PA

Top 10 states Philadelphians moved to:

  1. 204,614 stayed put in Pennsylvania. 
  2. 81,176 stayed in New Jersey 
  3. 29,000 went to Delaware 
  4. 8,950 went to Maryland 
  5. 389 went to Georgia 
  6. 381 went to California 
  7. 313 went to Virginia 
  8. 230 went to Illinois 
  9. 209 went to Texas
  10. 167 went to Colorado

Top 10 states new Philadelphians moved from:

  1. 205,303 stayed in Pennsylvania
  2. 80,769 stayed in New Jersey 
  3. 28,718 came from Delaware 
  4. 8,950 came from Maryland 
  5. 433 came from California 
  6. 310 came from Virginia
  7. 262 came from Illinois 
  8. 251 came from Georgia 
  9. 222 came from Washington D.C.
  10. 168 went to Colorado

City: Most stayed local!

Top 10 cities Philadelphians moved to, and move from:

  1. 55,284 stayed put in Philadelphia, PA 
  2. 9,951 went to Wilmington, DE 
  3. 6,637 went to Newark, NJ 
  4. 6,409 went to West Chester, PA 
  5. 4,678 went to Bensalem, PA 
  6. 4,571 went to Norristown, PA 
  7. 3,876 went to Cherry Hill, NJ 
  8. 3, 654 went to Levittown, PA 
  9. 3,459 went to Warminster, PA
  10. 3,409 went to Camden, NJ
  1. 57,759 stayed in Philadelphia, PA 
  2. 10,008 came from Wilmington, DE 
  3. 6,596 came from Newark, NJ 
  4. 6,486 came from West Chester, PA 
  5. 4,718 came from Bensalem, PA 
  6. 4,591 went to Norristown, PA 
  7. 3,888 went to Cherry Hill, NJ 
  8. 3, 663 went to Levittown, PA 
  9. 3,491 went to Warminster, PA
  10. 3,595 went to Camden, NJ

And how many… didn’t move into another metro area: 757,231.

More than twice as many. 

Distance: People didn’t move very far!

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

  • 207,777 moved within half a mile
  • 24,181 moved within .5-1 miles
  • 50,295 moved within 1-5 miles
  • 14,562 moved within 5-10 miles
  • 24,842 moved within 10-50 miles
  • 4,027 moved more than 50 miles

Clearly the Philadelphians preferred to stay local and we see much of the activity and behavior of those that did leave reflected back in the behaviors of those that ended up moving back to Philadelphia.

Watch this space, we shall be bringing you a new city soon

Beekin Data Science Team