In the first full year of the pandemic, the New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago metro areas had the greatest population losses in the nation.
U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday shows Sunbelt metros like Dallas, Phoenix and Houston had the biggest gains.
The exodus from the biggest U.S. metros was led by New York, which lost almost 328,000 residents. The Associated Press also reports that Metropolitan Los Angeles lost almost 176,000 residents, the San Francisco area saw a loss of more than 116,000 residents and greater Chicago lost more than 91,000 people from 2020 to 2021.
The losses in population were driven by people leaving for elsewhere, even though the metro area gained new residents from abroad and births outpaced deaths.
The San Jose, Boston, Miami and Washington areas also lost tens of thousands of residents, primarily from people moving away.
On the flip side, metro Dallas grew by more than 97,000 residents and metro Phoenix jumped by more than 78,000 people.
The Census Bureau data confirmed the results of a 2020 study by the Brookings Institute, which found the growth rates of 31 of 48 core metropolitan counties nationwide were the lowest they had seen in the last decade.