As Americans leave the most populous areas, the U.S. county with the most moves last year was Florida’s citrus capital

More people moved to a citrus-rich county between Florida’s two most populous metropolitan areas last year than any other county in the United States, according to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

More than 29,300 people moved to the county between the two metropolitan areas of Tampa and Orlando last year House prices there are getting more and more expensive County towns are considered a cheaper option. Soon, the number of orange groves along Interstate 4 in Polk County was reduced to provide more subdivisions for local service workers and distribution warehouses for on-demand delivery to residents of both metropolitan areas.

According to 2023 population estimates, nearly all of Polk County’s growth (88%) is made up of people coming from other parts of the United States rather than abroad.

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“Segment growth is springing up all the time, and the way it’s happening you don’t always notice it. But when you’re stuck in traffic, that’s when you really notice it’s happening,” p. Seventh-generation Polk County resident Matt Joyner said of the influx of new residents.

Only four other counties—Harris and Montgomery counties in the Houston metropolitan area; Collin County in the Dallas metropolitan area; and Maricopa County, home to Phoenix—also grew in population, thanks to higher natural growth rates. That is, the number of births exceeds the number of deaths.

Harris County, where Houston is located, grew by nearly 54,000 people last year, the most of any county, with about two-thirds of the growth coming from births exceeding deaths. Organic growth of nearly 34,700 people is the highest in the country.

Despite an influx of thousands of new residents from abroad and more births than deaths, some of America’s most populous counties also lost the most residents That trend accelerated at the start of the decade with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic as they moved to other counties last year.

Leading the way was Los Angeles County, which lost 56,000 residents. New York City’s three counties of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx followed, with population losses of 28,300, 26,300 and 25,300 respectively. However, outflows from these large counties last year were much smaller than in 2022.

However, New York City officials believe the Census Bureau’s estimates do not take into account the tens of thousands of asylum seekers who arrived last year. The city has rented out entire hotels to house migrants, placed cots in schools and temporarily housed people in tents, a cruise ship terminal and a former police academy building.

As many as 50,000 people are being overlooked in the city’s shelters, according to city officials, who plan to challenge the estimate with the Census Bureau.

“We want to mark it,” said Kathy Berkowitz, press secretary for the New York Department of City Planning. “Once you take that underestimation into account… the year marked a return to pre-pandemic levels.”

In the most popular destinations for immigrants — counties in South Florida and those home to Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Jose — international migration increased by double digits year over year.

These estimates do not distinguish between legal and illegal immigration, so it is impossible to know whether the increase is coming from illegal crossings. The number of people arrested for illegal border crossings hit a record high in December, but fell by half in January.

In Miami-Dade County, there were nearly 54,500 new residents from outside the United States, the highest number in the country last year and an increase of nearly 40% from the previous year. International migration offset the impact of more than 47,000 residents leaving Miami-Dade County for other U.S. counties.

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In a metropolitan area made up of counties with social and economic ties, dallas metro area Last year saw the fastest growth, with more than 152,000 residents, surpassing 8 million for the first time. This was followed by the Houston metro area, which added nearly 140,000 residents, and the Atlanta metro area, which added more than 68,000 residents.

Metro Atlanta jumped two places from last year to become the sixth most populous metropolitan area, with 6.3 million residents. Behind the New York metropolitan area, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Houston.

With more than 62,000 acres of citrus groves, Polk County is one of Florida’s leading orange producers. The state’s citrus industry has been squeezed in recent years by a fast-spreading bacterium that has compromised the health of trees across the state, and its continued growth spreads as the state’s metropolitan areas expand.

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Still, Polk County retains its citrus heritage. Much of the growth is concentrated in the northeastern part of the county, just a few miles from Walt Disney World in the Orlando metro area. But many citrus growers who sold their land to subdivision builders have just moved to the southern part of the county, Where citrus groves still flourish” said Joyner, CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, a grower advocacy group.

New Polk County residents who drive around the county’s groves today will see some picturesque sights—white flowers blooming on the citrus trees and sweet aromas filling the air.

“Everywhere you go now, the groves are white and smell great,” Joyner said. “It reminds you of the old days.”

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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