Multiple stories about Americans being on the move during the pandemic have termed 2021 “The Great Relocation.”
At least one study has a lot of those people moving to Wilmington. In its fourth annual “migration report,” HireAHelper.com, an online moving marketplace, cited Wilmington as one of the most popular places in the country for people to move to in the past year.
With 59 percent more people moving to Wilmington than moved away, the Port City ranked No. 7 in the nation on Hire a Helper’s “most moved-to” list.
Other cities in the top 10 with Wilmington include Myrtle Beach at No. 6, with 64% more people moving to the city than from it; Mount Pleasant, S.C., at No. 4 (71%); New York City at No. 3 (86%); and Bradenton, Florida, at No. 2 (109%).
The No. 1 “most moved-to” city in the country was The Villages, an age-restricted Florida retirement community.
The news that people are continuing to move to Wilmington — its population grew from 106,476 in 2010 to 115,451 in 2020, an 8.4% increase — “just confirms what I’ve been saying for the past five years,” said Natalie English, president and CEO of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. “We are an attractive region, and people are going to continue to move here.”
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English said Wilmington’s status as a place people are moving to will help attract companies providing jobs with “upward mobility” while increasing the area’s tax base.
At the same time, English said, growth presents challenges.
“We have to continue to pay attention to the things that attract people here and keep people here,” she said, like the area’s natural beauty and resources.
English said that, as the area continues to grow, focus on transportation — including the need for a new bridge over the Cape Fear River — is needed to avoid “long commutes to the job being created.”
The creation of “housing stock at every price point” should also be a priority, English said, as should the creation of more “play spaces,” like the Live Oak Bank Pavilion at Riverfront Park, that drive economic activity.
Interestingly, the 8% of Americans who moved in 2021 is the lowest percentage on record, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Those who did move, however, moved further, with 17% of movers changing states, the highest percentage since 2015.
According to a news release, Hire a Helper’s “researchers tracked a total of 90,000 outbound and inbound moves across the country and surveyed Americans who had moved to get a better understanding of their state-to-state migration patterns.”
Contact John Staton at 910-343-2343 or [email protected].