Graham Kilmer

Are People Leaving NYC for Milwaukee?

Data from Linkedin shows mid-size cities gaining from migration while larger cities lose out.

By - Feb 23rd, 2021 07:16 pm
New York. CC0 Public Domain.

New York. (CC0 Public Domain).

New data is confirming something that showed up in a study of Linkedin users months ago: people are moving to Milwaukee and Wisconsin.

In September, Linkedin, the employment and career focused social network, released a study that showed Milwaukee was among the top 5 cities in the U.S. for new arrivals moving from other parts of the country.

Now, a recent report investigating the ways the COVID-19 pandemic has affected labor markets and workplaces by McKinsey, a management consulting firm, included the Linkedin study with an additional two months of data. It showed Milwaukee was sixth in the U.S. in new arrivals to cities as of the end of October 2020, seeing 4% more people moving to the area than the year before.

The biggest finding of the report reflected in both the earlier and most recent data was that the country’s largest metropolitan areas are losing residents while smaller and mid-size cities are gaining them.

Major population centers saw huge decreases. New York saw its new arrivals drop by 27%, Los Angeles by 11%. San Francisco, though not in the top 10 most populous cities in the U.S., lost the second-most new arrivals in 2020, seeing 24% fewer than in 2019.

The study, by the tech company’s Economic Graph Team, looked at percentage increase or decrease of arrivals to the city in 2020 compared to 2019. In 2020, Milwaukee saw a net 4.5% increase in arrivals.

The Linkedin study is not based upon a general populations survey, but the location data of the company’s users. So, the study is most representative of the migration patterns of people with Linkedin accounts

For cities like Milwaukee that are showing gains, this means more workers are moving here, or fewer are leaving, or perhaps both. If this study holds up against a general population survey, like the U.S. Census, it would mean a shift in population dynamics for metro Milwaukee.

Between 2010 and 2019, the city of Milwaukee and the county both saw a net decrease in population — though not much, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. During that period, the Milwaukee-Waukesha Metropolitan Area saw more of its residents moving out of the area than it saw new residents moving in.

The authors of the McKinsey report wrote that if these changing migration patterns within the country continue they will likely have effects that “reverberate” through local economies. Given that these migration trends are reflective of Linkedin users and urban professionals, these effects would be most noticeable in businesses and services that cater to office workers and in state and local tax revenues.

So, for Milwaukee, this could mean increased demand for bars and restaurants, entertainment, transportation services and office space. Sales tax revenue would be likely to see a boost from this economic activity. 

If this trend holds up, what is a boon for cities like Milwaukee and Madison may be a loss for New York and Los Angeles.

Categories: Business, Economics, Weekly

3 thoughts on “Are People Leaving NYC for Milwaukee?”

  1. agoodings says:

    Corrention ..If this trend holds up, what is a boom for cities like Milwaukee and Madison may be a loss for New York and Los Angeles.

    Graham..nice trend forward really great to read positive news about Milwaukee, WI

  2. frank a schneiger says:

    As a native Milwaukean who lives in New York City (Manhattan Upper West Side), I can attest to the accuracy of this piece. As former president whatshisname has said, New York is now a ghost town, with zombie-like creatures roaming deserted streets. In my neighborhood, I often ask a nearby doorman, “where is so-and-so?” Typical responses: “Gone” “Where?” “The hedge fund guys to Miami, everybody else too Milwaukee.”

    Some examples: Joe of 95th Street said he was moving to Milwaukee for “the weather.” Like Rick in Casablanca, he had been misled. Charlie, an ambitious millennial said he was moving to “this Bay View place” because “I’ve got to be where it’s happening, and that ain’t New York.” Amanda just wanted to find a parking space, kept going and ended up in a nice house in West Allis at1/3 the rent she was paying for a dump on Columbus Avenue. Kaneesha, a foodie from Central Park West was heading to Milwaukee for the restaurants (“Tell me, is this Leon’s as great as they say?”) Then there was Igor, a Russian money launderer and Putin sycophant who sold his leaking condo in one of the hideous sliver buildings on billionaire’s row to move to Oklahoma Avenue. He said he wanted to rekindle his pan-slavic roots by purchasing the Serb Memorial Hall for “unspecified future purposes.” Finally, there is Phillip of 101st Street, a deep thinker and former Trumper who is moving to Milwaukee to be closer to Charlie Sykes.

    A note of caution: as is known, these New Yorkers tend to be an aggressive, annoying, know-it-all bunch. Once enough of them arrive, they could try to take over. The Welcome Wagon should keep a close eye on them for an indeterminate period.

  3. blurondo says:

    As a Frank Schneiger fan I am looking forward to you joining the westward migration of your neighbors. Being a native, you, of course, have a distinct advantage over them. While change is inevitable, many of the things that you enjoyed are still there. (Some of the things that you didn’t are too.)
    Soon Urban Milwaukee members will be able to gather face to face at a social event. It would be appropriate for you to be there.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us