Movin' On Out to the Exurbs
The general migration pattern is from the urbanized areas on the coasts to the largely rural Midwest region, as well as to the South and West. According to the Census Bureau, 18 of the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the US lost population between 2000 and 2004.
The driving force behind most of this exodus is the price of real estate; families are moving away from cities not because they don't like them, but because they can't afford to live in or around them. Small, affluent families with the means to afford urban real estate are displacing larger families on tighter budgets, thereby driving large numbers toward the exurbs while driving up the price of urban real estate. Meanwhile, Americans appreciate the quality of life that many small towns and rural areas have to offer.
Source: AP (via MSNBC)