It’s an age-old feud in just about every major US city: who are the natives, who are the transplants, and how can you tell the difference?
That’s not to say one is inherently better than the other; natives to a city have seen it go through changes over the years, and transplants bring novelty to cities, both making the city a living, breathing construct. With all the recent relocation in the US over the last few years, we wanted to know: which US cities have the highest concentrations of natives and transplants, and where do those transplants come from?
Why Does Pro Mover Reviews Care?
At Pro Mover Reviews, we’re committed to providing you with the best information possible for relocation to another area. That includes connecting you with the best moving companies available, tips and tricks for making your move easy, and information about the city you’ll soon call your new home.
Knowing the cities where transplants are welcome and those where natives are more plentiful can help you decide which city has the dynamic you’re looking for. This information can also provide our readers with a general idea of how likely a new area is to be their permanent home and areas that could be considered “up and coming.”
We quickly found that the best source of information for our study was the US Census Bureau, so we pulled resident data for the top 100 cities in America. This information included the number of residents that were born and raised in the area and those that were born elsewhere in the United States and relocated to their current residence. For the sake of this study, “transplants” are defined as those who have migrated from another region in the US.
We were also interested in knowing which cities were home to the most foreign-born residents, so we also pulled information from the Census Bureau for the number of people that were born outside of the country and relocated to each of the top 100 cities in America.
The Top 15 US Cities with the Highest Percentage of Residents Born in the State of Residence
First, we wanted to see which major metropolitan areas in the United States have the most “natives,” meaning the number of residents who were born in or around the area.
The Buffalo-Cheektowaga metropolitan area in upstate New York came in at number one, with an incredible 81.69% native residents. That puts the total percentage of transplants and foreign-born residents at under 20% combined, something that can be said about only two other metro areas in the country.
The only other major metropolitan areas that have more than 80% native residents are Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, coming in at 80.13% and 80.02%, respectively.
In 15th place for native residents was New Orleans-Metairie, Louisiana, at 72.15% native residents. Just ahead of this metro area were Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, at 73.79% and Albany-Schenectady-Troy at 74.77%.
The Top 15 US Cities with the Highest Percentage of Transplants from Another State
Next, we wanted to see the metropolitan areas on the other end of the native-transplant spectrum. We sorted the top 100 cities in America by the percentage of residents who had moved there from another region in the country.
Colorado Springs, Colorado, is the metro area with the most non-native residents, with a massive 58.71% of residents reporting that they relocated to the city from another region. With a population of around 500,000 people, that’s an incredible 293,000+ transplants, nearly 1% of America’s population!
In a close second place was Northport-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida, with 58.49% transplants.
Only five major metropolitan areas in the country have more than 50% transplants for residents:
- Colorado Springs, Colorado, with 58.71%
- Northport-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida, with 58.49%
- Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Florida, with 56.26%
- Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida, with 53.63%
- Deltona-Dayton Beach-Ormond Beach, Florida, with 53.04%
Rounding out the list in 15th place for transplanted residents was Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV, with 42.50%.
The Top 15 US Cities with the Highest Percentage of Foreign-Born Residents
Finally, we sorted the top 100 metropolitan areas in America by the percentage of residents who relocated from another country.
The metro area with the most residents relocating from other countries was Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Florida, with 41.57% foreign-born residents. This was the only metro area with more than 40% of its residents hailing from other countries.
In second place was San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California, with 39.69%. The only other metro areas with more than 30% foreign-born residents were Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California, with 32.93%, and San Francisco-Berkeley, California, with 30.94%.
All 15 of the top metropolitan areas in this data set had more than 20% foreign-born residents. The list was rounded out with two more metro areas in California:
- Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California in 14th with 21.64%
- Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California in 15th with 21.39%
Wrapping Up: Major Insights and Conclusions
This was quite an interesting data study that left us with a number of conclusions and insights into the relocation patterns of Americans within the country and foreign-born residents into the country.
Interestingly, New York is the number one state overall for major metro areas with native residents. The Empire State has four cities in the top 15 for native residents:
- Buffalo-Cheektowaga in 1st at 81.69%
- Syracuse in 4th at 79.34%
- Rochester in 9th at 75.87%
- Albany-Schenectady-Troy in 13th at 74.77%
New York has the fifth-highest cost of living in the country, but the economic opportunity is more likely what keeps residents there. The city showing up next most frequently in the top 15 for native residents is Ohio, with three metro areas.
Florida is by far the most relocated-to state in the country, which isn’t surprising, given that it’s considered one of the best places to retire. Florida had six metropolitan areas in the list of the top cities with high percentages of transplants; the state with the second most was Colorado, with only two.
As far as the cities with foreign-born residents, nearly every metro area in the top 15 was located on a coast. The states that showed up the most in this list were California with seven metro areas, Texas with three, and the tri-state area, Florida, Connecticut, and the D.C. area with one each.
California having the most cities with the highest percentages of foreign-born residents is likely attributable to the economic opportunity in the Golden State, specifically the presence of Silicon Valley. Texas is a similar story, as the Lone Star State is becoming an epicenter for tech companies and economic growth.
If you’d like to check out where all of the top 100 metropolitan areas in America fall in terms of people who are natives, transplants, and foreign-born residents, you can use the table below to do your own analysis.
|Metro Area||% Born in State of Residence||% Born in Another State||% Foreign Born|
|New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metro Area||53.39%||14.11%||29.65%|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA MSA||52.27%||13.56%||32.93%|
|Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metro Area||63.47%||17.56%||17.57%|
|Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX MSA||53.49%||25.93%||19.21%|
|Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX MSA||54.82%||20.09%||23.41%|
|Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA||32.34%||42.50%||22.92%|
|Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA||61.92%||24.81%||10.94%|
|Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL MSA||32.84%||22.75%||41.57%|
|Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA MSA||47.23%||37.12%||14.16%|
|Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH MSA||54.49%||23.96%||19.20%|
|Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ MSA||39.08%||45.21%||14.30%|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA MSA||48.55%||18.68%||30.94%|
|Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA MSA||62.89%||14.42%||21.39%|
|Detroit–Warren–Dearborn, MI MSA||75.51%||13.10%||10.30%|
|Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA MSA||43.82%||34.49%||19.67%|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSA||64.10%||24.56%||10.58%|
|San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA MSA||50.61%||24.59%||22.82%|
|Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL MSA||36.17%||45.64%||14.44%|
|Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO MSA||42.76%||43.65%||11.86%|
|Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD MSA||58.76%||29.34%||10.33%|
|St. Louis, MO-IL MSA||67.98%||26.24%||4.82%|
|Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL MSA||33.57%||37.59%||19.12%|
|Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC MSA||48.15%||40.04%||10.73%|
|San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX MSA||62.76%||23.11%||11.48%|
|Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA MSA||42.73%||42.89%||12.87%|
|Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA MSA||62.34%||17.38%||18.78%|
|Pittsburgh, PA MSA||80.13%||15.05%||4.19%|
|Austin-Round Rock, TX MSA||52.94%||29.49%||15.72%|
|Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV MSA||25.63%||49.89%||22.64%|
|Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN MSA||66.73%||27.41%||5.33%|
|Kansas City, MO-KS MSA||53.79%||38.22%||7.07%|
|Columbus, OH MSA||69.65%||20.56%||8.74%|
|Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN MSA||67.40%||24.72%||6.93%|
|Cleveland-Elyria, OH MSA||75.12%||16.78%||6.42%|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA MSA||45.14%||13.63%||39.69%|
|Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN MSA||52.37%||37.69%||9.06%|
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA||49.21%||41.83%||6.99%|
|Providence-Warwick, RI-MA MSA||60.02%||23.44%||13.66%|
|Jacksonville, FL MSA||45.10%||42.61%||9.41%|
|Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI MSA||71.35%||19.60%||7.46%|
|Oklahoma City, OK MSA||59.79%||30.97%||8.03%|
|Raleigh-Cary, NC Metro Area||47.95%||37.60%||12.80%|
|Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN MSA||63.74%||28.48%||6.85%|
|Memphis, TN-MS-AR MSA||58.29%||35.92%||5.14%|
|Richmond, VA MSA||60.52%||29.78%||8.07%|
|New Orleans-Metairie, LA MSA||72.15%||19.15%||7.62%|
|Salt Lake City, UT MSA||58.85%||27.66%||12.54%|
|Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, CT MSA||57.00%||25.17%||13.15%|
|Buffalo-Cheektowaga, NY Metro Area||81.69%||10.21%||6.35%|
|Birmingham-Hoover, AL MSA||74.82%||20.73%||3.95%|
|Rochester, NY MSA||75.87%||14.14%||7.29%|
|Grand Rapids-Kentwood, MI MSA||77.17%||15.41%||6.54%|
|Tucson, AZ MSA||42.06%||42.71%||13.56%|
|Urban Honolulu, HI MSA||52.67%||23.28%||20.15%|
|Tulsa, OK MSA||60.52%||31.81%||6.70%|
|Fresno, CA MSA||68.53%||10.03%||20.62%|
|Worcester, MA-CT MSA||63.67%||20.24%||12.49%|
|Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA MSA||58.43%||32.84%||7.73%|
|Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT MSA||42.42%||31.38%||22.96%|
|Greenville-Anderson, SC MSA||58.15%||33.47%||7.09%|
|Albuquerque, NM MSA||55.34%||33.90%||9.39%|
|Bakersfield, CA MSA||66.66%||12.49%||19.82%|
|Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY MSA||74.77%||15.56%||8.53%|
|Knoxville, TN MSA||60.06%||34.98%||4.35%|
|McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX MSA||63.97%||8.22%||26.35%|
|Baton Rouge, LA MSA||80.02%||15.18%||3.99%|
|El Paso, TX MSA||59.31%||16.02%||22.34%|
|New Haven-Milford, CT MSA||59.82%||22.65%||12.82%|
|Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ MSA||60.55%||25.45%||9.32%|
|Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA MSA||59.83%||17.02%||21.64%|
|North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL MSA||27.99%||58.49%||11.47%|
|Columbia, SC MSA||59.38%||33.59%||5.53%|
|Dayton, OH MSA||70.66%||24.18%||4.35%|
|Charleston-North Charleston, SC MSA||46.55%||45.05%||6.78%|
|Stockton, CA MSA||65.70%||10.21%||22.98%|
|Greensboro-High Point, NC MSA||58.96%||30.56%||9.34%|
|Boise City, ID MSA||43.45%||48.46%||6.60%|
|Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL MSA||26.23%||53.63%||16.67%|
|Colorado Springs, CO MSA||31.50%||58.71%||6.41%|
|Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR MSA||65.93%||28.72%||4.31%|
|Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL MSA||41.28%||40.62%||10.02%|
|Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA MSA||70.37%||20.10%||8.57%|
|Akron, OH MSA||76.53%||17.85%||4.88%|
|Springfield, MA MSA||63.88%||20.70%||8.07%|
|Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY MSA||69.66%||16.69%||11.23%|
|Ogden-Clearfield, UT MSA||67.32%||25.88%||5.44%|
|Madison, WI MSA||62.67%||28.49%||7.91%|
|Winston-Salem, NC MSA||63.66%||29.00%||6.68%|
|Provo-Orem, UT MSA||61.80%||29.73%||7.46%|
|Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL MSA||34.05%||53.04%||9.06%|
|Syracuse, NY MSA||79.34%||13.24%||6.44%|
|Durham-Chapel Hill, NC MSA||48.59%||37.19%||12.81%|
|Wichita, KS MSA||64.67%||26.75%||7.50%|
|Toledo, OH MSA||77.58%||18.82%||2.91%|
|Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC MSA||52.65%||41.19%||4.05%|
|Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL MSA||31.27%||56.26%||8.42%|
|Jackson, MS MSA||77.88%||18.99%||2.59%|
|Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA MSA||71.32%||19.87%||6.81%|
|Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA MSA||53.21%||40.72%||5.26%|
|Scranton–Wilkes-Barre, PA MSA||73.79%||18.57%||6.00%|