Published March 30, 2022
It should come as no surprise that hundreds of thousands of Americans fled large cities last year during the pandemic. But there’s another aspect to that trend that has received less attention: The country’s most liberal places fared much worse than others. More tellingly, Republican-governed states tended to benefit from the urban exodus.
New data from the Census Bureau makes this clear. Residents fled New York City and coastal California in droves in 2021. New York City alone lost more than 300,000 people while nearly 200,000 left Los Angeles County. Another 100,000 fled Chicago’s Cook County, and more than 140,000 left the San Francisco Bay Area. Add in substantial departures from other blue cities such as Philadelphia, Boston and Minneapolis, and nearly 1 million Americans left deep-blue urban areas in 2021.
Henry Olsen is a Washington Post columnist and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.