Americans have always moved to big cities to try to get ahead -- but maybe not so much anymore.
As many of the largest metro areas in the U.S. become too expensive, homeowners and potential homebuyers are ready to go elsewhere for lower taxes, good jobs and affordable homes.
Follow along as we count down the 20 metro areas that people most want to leave, according to Redfin. Residents of these places are ready to get outta town and are inclined to search for homes in other areas.
20. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Baton Rouge is known for its festivals, fantastic Cajun food and culture, and its family-friendly parks and green spaces. But sadly, the city also has a homicide rate that's said to rival Chicago’s.
And if the relentless, year-round humidity and swarms of ravenous mosquitos and fire ants don’t drive you out, then the empty and competitive job market just might.
As one resident puts it on Reddit: “Moved here 10 years ago. The charm of the area wears off in 6 months. I'd recommend literally anywhere else.”
19. Little Rock, Arkansas
Little Rock is the state capital of Arkansas, the home of the Bill Clinton presidential library, and an area steeped in civil rights history.
Living costs are low, and there are jobs here: The unemployment rate in September 2018 was just 3.1%. Homes are affordable, selling for an average $175,000. So what's not to love about Little Rock?
The city has been called one of the most dangerous in America because of its high rates for murder and other violent crimes. The region also lies within the central U.S. "Tornado Alley," and a recent report said more twisters are likely in Little Rock.
18. Chico, California
Chico — not far from northern California's historic Camp Fire — is part farming community, part college town. (Chico State University has a student body of about 17,000 undergrads.)
The wildfires may be one reason the Chico metro area makes this list. Others likely include the area's surging violent crime rate and its above-average rate of residents in poverty.
But while Redfin says many residents are eager to leave, bidding wars are common for homes here, and they're selling for an average $328,000.
17. Syracuse, New York
Though Buffalo's snowfalls are notorious, this city 150 miles east in upstate New York takes the award as the snowiest in America. Syracuse gets an average of nearly 124 inches every season. Yes, more than 10 feet of snow!
That could help explain why people who live here are inclined to check out houses in other cities. Maybe places where no snow shovel is needed.
Homes are ridiculously cheap here, with the median list price just $111,000. And while the region's economy has been sluggish, the local unemployment rate recently dropped to an 18-year low of 3.7%.
16. Omaha, Nebraska
Bazillionaire investor Warren Buffett famously loves Omaha — it's his hometown, and he has lived in the same modest home here for 60 years.
But other people living in Nebraska's largest city apparently don't feel the same sense of attachment. They're looking to get out, despite the area's affordable housing market, with homes listing for a median of $220,000.
Unemployment is a low 2.6%, and the median household income is well above the U.S. average at more than $83,000. So maybe the big turnoff is Omaha's extreme weather: Summers are sizzling, and winters are frigid and snowy.
15. Dayton, Ohio
Homes are unbelievably cheap in Dayton, in western Ohio midway between Columbus and Indianapolis. But that's not enough to keep residents from looking elsewhere.
Houses are selling for an average $115,000, but they typically sit on the market for a month and a half, and go for about 3% below the asking prices, Redfin says.
The Dayton metro area has struggled to recover from the Great Recession. The poverty rate is nearly three times the national average, and a recent report from Attom Data Solutions depicted Dayton as a ghost town, with more than 16% of homes vacant.
14. Eugene, Oregon
With its waterfalls and scenic byways, Eugene is a truly beautiful place to call home. Unfortunately, living in the area has become an unsustainable dream for many.
The cost of housing, whether rented or owned, is incredibly high — and so are property taxes. It can be difficult to find a job that will cover the cost of housing.
Those who feel forced to pack their bags are eager to head to Portland or Seattle. Although the cost of living in those cities isn’t exactly low, there may be better job opportunities in tech and other emerging sectors.
While Detroit is still Michigan's biggest metro area by a mile, the city's population has been shrinking for decades. In 1950, Detroit itself was home to 1.8 million people. That number has dropped to around 673,000 today.
A booming auto industry made Detroit a great place to live and work, but the industry's decline hurt the region's economy.
Although some areas of the city are being revitalized and luxury condos are going up, many Detroit area residents are interested in saying goodbye — and moving to Chicago, Redfin says.
12. Salisbury, Maryland
Salisbury, on Maryland's Eastern Shore, is making a name for itself in the microbrewery scene — but the city’s already got a reputation, and not a good one.
Violent and property crime rates are twice the national average. Public schools are terrible, the real estate market is stagnant, incomes are low and good jobs are hard to find.
Although Salisbury’s unemployment and crime numbers are slowly improving, many people have apparently decided the wait just isn’t worth it.
11. Rockford, Illinois
Rockford offers a ton of amenities and also has a fairly good cost of living. Unfortunately, the good news ends here. People started moving away in the 1970s, and the trend continues today.
The area is a couple of notches above Little Rock on that list of America's most dangerous cities, it lacks decent job opportunities and has notoriously bad public schools.
While housing is relatively affordable, that’s because no one wants to live here. As one longtime resident advises, “Don’t move to Rockford. Choose one of the northern suburbs of Chicago or Madison, [Wisconsin,] instead.”
10. Orlando, Florida
Orlando offers an amazing array of restaurants, golf courses, year-round sunny weather — and, of couse, those world-famous theme parks. But while retirees are happy to move in, longtime residents are on their way out.
Orlando’s cost of living is slightly above the national average, but workers earn 22% less than the U.S. average wage. Meanwhile, Zillow says the median home value of $234,100 is up 10% from last year and is still climbing.
Traffic is getting worse, construction is increasing, and displaced wildlife keeps ending up in people’s yards and swimming pools. Add in subpar public schools and frequent tornadoes and sinkholes, and it’s clear why people are packing it in.
In Houston, unemployment, apartment rents and housing prices are all above the national average.
Plus, Houston’s infrastructure is so prone to flooding that buying property in the city is now a terrible investment. Though Hurricane Harvey was big news, the city deals with flooding almost every time there’s a rainstorm.
So these days, many Houstonians are searching for homes in Austin and Chicago.
Metro Milwaukee has been described by some of its own residents as a place of sharp economic contrasts, with rich people who are extremely rich and poor people who are extremely poor.
In middle-income and poor neighborhoods, Milwaukee lacks public transportation and decent public schools. These factors make it hard for anyone who doesn't already have money to live in the area.
Millennials are most affected by these trends and are now looking to Chicago as a place offering a better way of life.
7. Spokane, Washington
Spokane residents enjoy easy access to the Centennial Trail, more than 70 nearby lakes and numerous local wineries. The local job market also is booming — but the city doesn’t have the infrastructure to handle more people coming in.
Construction can’t keep up with the demand for rentals, condos and single-family homes in the city. In response, homes are selling for an average 24% more than a year ago, and renters are being priced out.
Add this to downtown Spokane’s homelessness problem, infrastructure issues and recent water quality problems, and it’s no wonder hordes of people want to leave the city.
While droves of hopefuls want to move to Chicago, a whole lot of Chi-town residents are moving out to make room. They're most interested in relocating to Phoenix, maybe for the warmer weather.
Many people complain about the cost of living, property taxes, education and amenities in Chicago — although this is a matter of perspective.
New residents hailing from Oregon or Seattle might be pleasantly surprised at how affordable things are, compared to what they’re used to.
Housing costs in the Denver metro area are rising faster than people’s wages.
More luxury homes are popping up every day, which is driving up housing values across Denver. Redfin says the metro's median list price for homes has topped $400,000.
Denver residents are looking to migrate to nearby cities like Colorado Springs and Fort Collins, where homes are listing for a median of $305,000. Denverites are searching in Seattle, too.
4. Washington, DC
Like Chicago, the nation's capital has plenty of great job opportunities, especially for those who have a bachelor's degree or are seeking a career in government.
But housing costs and property taxes in the D.C. metro area can be shockingly high, and dining out tends to be an expensive ordeal.
So, people in Washington and its suburbs are voting with their feet. They're most inclined to go to Philadelphia to take advantage of that city’s more affordable lifestyle and hot job market.
3. Los Angeles
Los Angeles residents contend with a higher-than-average cost of living, high rents and property taxes — plus, the city’s legendary traffic congestion.
Homes are selling for an average $690,000 and they go quickly, typically spending just 36 days on the market, Redfin says.
Today, burned-out L.A. locals who are tired of waiting for their big Hollywood break are looking to head to more reasonable San Diego or Phoenix.
2. New York
New York is among the most expensive cities in the world and competition is stiff in every sector. Given the high cost of food and housing (and the freaky subway rats), the New York area's population is understandably somewhat transient.
According to U.S. Census data, almost 300,000 New Yorkers move to the suburbs each year, and nearly 200,000 relocate out of state. Their main motivation in leaving is to buy a home and gain more space.
But maybe it's at least a little surprising that the metro area they most want to flee to is Boston — which isn't exactly cheap or spacious.
1. San Francisco
San Francisco’s high-paying jobs attract plenty of people — but its insanely expensive real estate drives them away again. Homes that would be undesirable elsewhere sell for hundreds of thousands over asking price in desperate bidding wars.
The average selling price is currently about $1.4 million. Residents making San Francisco the most-fled metro area are seeking relief in the marginally more affordable West Coast markets of Sacramento and Seattle.
Now that we've shown you the cities Americans are most eager to move out of, keep reading as we count down the 20 metro areas people are most interested in moving to.
Realtor.com has been analyzing a ton of data — including median home prices, rental rates and median incomes — and says these are the top 20 cities offering affordable homes and good jobs.
We count them down to Realtor's top pick for livability and opportunity.
20. Richmond, Virginia
- Median list price for a home: $319,950
- Median household income: $66,191
As Virginia's capital city, Richmond obviously offers positions in state government, but private companies have loads of jobs here, too. The local unemployment rate recently sank to an 11-year low of 3%.
The region's largest private employer is the credit cards giant Capital One. Tobacco company Altria Group (maker of Marlboro) is based here, and so is the used-car retailer CarMax.
Richmond's home prices are heating up, but still reasonable. They jumped 7% during the year that ended in August, and that was after surging 9% during the previous one-year period.
19. St. Louis
- Median list price for a home: $209,950
- Median household income: $62,531
In St. Louis, they might want to think about hanging a "Help Wanted" sign on the Gateway Arch. Unemployment in the metro area has dropped to 3.4%, the lowest in 18 years.
The region added nearly 13,000 jobs over the year that ended in August, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Boeing's St. Louis plant recently signed new contracts to build military aircraft and provide hundreds of new jobs. The largest local employer is BJC HealthCare.
Home prices rose 6.7% from spring of 2017 to spring of this year but are still modestly priced. You can buy a 1,200-square-foot condo downtown for about $178,000, or in the suburbs for just $127,000, reports living-costs website Numbeo.
18. Columbus, Ohio
- Median list price for a home: $249,950
- Median household income: $63,009
Ohio's capital city is dominated by Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) and state government, but they're not the only games in town for job seekers.
The area's largest private employer is banking powerhouse JPMorgan Chase, with a massive workforce of more than 20,000. Insurance company Nationwide is based here, and so is burger chain Wendy's. The region's 3.8% unemployment rate is the lowest in Ohio.
Columbus has many charming, historic neighborhoods with gorgeous homes that aren't crazy-expensive. They include Merion Village, where the average sale price last year was about $268,000, reports Forbes.
17. Omaha, Nebraska
- Median list price for a home: $289,050
- Median household income: $65,490
How do we know Omaha is a great place to live? Because Warren Buffett — one of the richest men on Earth, who could live anywhere on the planet — has chosen to remain in Omaha, his hometown.
Besides Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, other Fortune 500 companies based here include Union Pacific (railroad), Kiewit Corp. (construction) and Mutual of Omaha (insurance). Finding a job is no problem: The area's unemployment rate has fallen to just 2.7%.
Home prices in the area have jumped 8.5% in the last year but remain fairly unexpensive. In the suburbs, the average cost of a 2,000-square-foot home is under $275,000, says Numbeo.
16. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
- Median list price for a home: $234,950
- Median household income: $65,490
South Dakota's largest city is getting bigger all the time, thanks to its bustling job market and cheap real estate.
Unemployment in fast-growing Sioux Falls has plummeted to an unbelievably low 2.3%. Major employers include: health care providers Sanford Health and Avera Health; meat processor Smithfield Foods; and banking behemoths Wells Fargo and Citi.
While still very affordable, the area's home prices have skyrocketed 9.6% in the last year.
15. Anchorage, Alaska
- Median list price for a home: $305,050
- Median household income: $85,266
Anchorage is Alaska's biggest city and its center for industry and jobs. Work is available in health care, tourism, government — and of course, energy (oil and gas).
Living costs are higher in Anchorage than in many of the other cities on this list, but salaries are higher, too. The metro area's 5.4% unemployment rate is relatively high, but down from a year ago.
You can buy a three-bedroom house in the suburbs for under $330,000 or a two-bedroom downtown condo for $179,000.
14. Des Moines, Iowa
- Median list price for a home: $292,950
- Median household income: $67,375
The largest city in Iowa is also its capital, offering jobs in state government and at Iowa State University, about 30 miles outside of town. But Des Moines' largest local employer is Wells Fargo, with 14,500 workers in the metro area.
You'll find good job prospects in Des Moines, because the local unemployment rate has fallen to 2.3% — one of the lowest in the U.S.
Housing prices have gone up 7.6% in the last year but are still very attractive. You can buy a modern one-bedroom loft condo downtown for $185,000 or a new three-bedroom house in suburban West Des Moines for about $280,000.
13. Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana
- Median list price for a home: $200,050
- Median household income: $54,046
If you know Indiana, you know that Indianapolis is smack in the center of the clock. The Lafayette area is between 10 and 11 o'clock, about 60 miles northwest of Indy.
The local unemployment rate is a low 3.4%, and there are plenty of big employers with opportunities, including Purdue University (pictured), Subaru and Caterpillar.
Here's a sign of how inexpensive housing is here: A new building is now renting one-bedrooms for $1,399, and the local newspaper calls that "unheard of." A suburban four-bedroom home built in 2010 is priced under $240,000.
12. Raleigh, North Carolina
- Median list price for a home: $347,930
- Median household income: $70,693
Raleigh is booming, particularly downtown. New restaurants and nightlife have helped create demand for thousands of new downtown apartments and condos not far from the North Carolina Capitol building.
A one-bedroom downtown rents for about $1,200 a month, or you could buy one in a building with a pool for $245,000. But for just $307,000, you could buy a suburban five-bedroom house built in 2000.
Staffing firm ManpowerGroup recently identified Raleigh as one of the U.S. metro areas with the strongest job prospects. Unemployment is just 3.5% here.
11. Worcester, Massachusetts
- Median list price for a home: $311,800
- Median household income: $71,212
Worcester is that city in central Massachusetts with the odd pronounciation, like "Wooster." More people are learning how to say it, as the city grows and becomes more of a bedroom community for Boston, about 50 miles away.
Worcester's lower costs are a big attraction. Homes are considerably less expensive than in Boston, where the median home price is close to $500,000. In Worcester, you can buy a suburban three-bedroom home for under $335,000.
For those who want to work here and not commute to the big city, the local unemployment rate recently hit 3.8%, and new jobs will be added as the Pawtucket Red Sox minor league baseball team moves to Worcester. Play ball!
- Median list price for a home: $330,000
- Median household income: $65,167
"Hotlanta" is hotter than ever for job opportunities. The local unemployment rate recently fell to a 17-year low of 3.8%.
The metro area is home to several Fortune 500 companies, including The Home Depot, United Parcel Service, Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines, plus it's attracting tech industry startups.
Young professionals will find plenty to do in the city that hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics. The traffic can be horrible, but Atlanta is more manageable than, say, New York or Chicago. It's a big city, but not humongous.
9. Madison, Wisconsin
- Median list price for a home: $309,800
- Median household income: $70,042
Wisconsin's capital city, and the city where you find the University of Wisconsin, offers jobs for both blue-collar and white-collar workers.
Companies based here include Alliant Energy, American Family Insurance and Spectrum Brands, whose products include Rayovac batteries and the George Foreman Grill. The area also has loads of health care jobs.
The city's unemployment rate was just 2.4% in July. That's startlingly low, and so are home prices: You might find a condo downtown for under $300,000 or a three-bedroom home in the suburbs for less than $270,000.
8. Hartford, Connecticut
- Median list price for a home: $275,000
- Median household income: $77,980
Younger millennials are flocking to Hartford, and for good reason. Obsolete office buildings are being converted to residential living spaces downtown, creating hip, affordable living spaces for professionals just starting out.
Hartford is home to major insurance companies, and the industry offers good-paying jobs. The local unemployment rate was 4.5% in July, the most recent month with data available.
Suburban single-family homes sell for under $325,000.
- Median list price for a home: $325,100
- Median household income: $77,704
Baltimore has been getting back on its feet following riots in 2015. The downtown and waterfront areas have been given a facelift and are attracting many new residents, particularly to luxury condos in old office buildings that have been converted.
Conveniently located close to Washington, D.C., Baltimore offers an easy commute to government jobs, and homes that are far more affordable than in the nation's capital. Washington's median home price is a much higher $449,950.
Unemployment in the Baltimore area stood at 4.6% in July, a few notches above the national rate for the month of 3.9%.
- Median list price for a home: $270,000
- Median household income: $70,516
Philadelphia is in the middle of a huge building boom, with more than 8 million square feet of new development being added, according to real estate services firm JLL Philadelphia.
Businesses need more space for all the new employees they're looking to hire. And, townhouses and high-rise condos are going up in the downtown area, all with modest price tags. You might find a one-bedroom condo for under $250,000.
In July, the Philadelphia metro area had an unemployment rate of 4.6%.
5. Manchester, New Hampshire
- Median list price for a home: $325,100
- Median household income: $80,246
One of Manchester's largest employers is Southern New Hampshire University, which has been on a hiring spree in recent years, adding more than 1,000 professors and administrators.
The city also has job opportunities at a number of budding health care startups, and at the Segway scooter company, which is based in the area.
Manchester boasts an impressively low unemployment rate of 2.6% and is conveniently located less than an hour from Boston — where the median home price is $200,000 more expensive.
4. Burlington, Vermont
- Median list price for a home: $319,100
- Median household income: $70,227
Burlington is a great place to plant yourself if you're looking to build your career in a slower-paced city. You might find a job with the University of Vermont, or with Ben & Jerry's, which offers its ice cream free to employees as a cool perk. (Literally!)
Houses in Burlington are decently priced, with three-bedroom homes selling for under $350,000. And, Burlington and its suburbs offer walkable downtowns, adding to the region's charm and cost-effectiveness.
The region's unemployment rate of 2.6% is far below the national average.
- Median list price for a home: $344,600
- Median household income: $76,791
Minneapolis and neighboring St. Paul are home to many Fortune 500 companies, including General Mills, Target and UnitedHealth Group.
The metro area's unemployment rate was just 2.6% in July. Given its variety of employers, the region is attracting talented professionals from larger cities like New York and Chicago.
The Twin Cities have experienced an influx of residents since 2010, which has sparked the construction of new downtown condos and apartment buildings.
- Median list price for a home: $325,000
- Median household income: $67,225
Texas' largest city is a major hub for the energy industry, and it's a great place to live and find a good job even if you don't have a college degree.
In true Texas fashion, homes in Houston are getting bigger and bigger — but not their prices. You might find a four-bedroom, 3,600-square-foot home for about $350,000.
In July, unemployment rate for Houston and its suburbs was 4.4%.
- Median list price for a home: $299,600
- Median household income: $69,911
Chicago tops Realtor.com's list. It may be the nation's third-biggest metro area, but home prices are far lower than what you find in larger New York and Los Angeles.
Home to Fortune 500 companies such as McDonald's, Walgreens, and Boeing, "Chicagoland" attracts workers of all ages and from all over the globe.
Decent public transportation makes living in Chicago a lot easier than in many other cities. The city's unemployment rate stood at 4.1% in July.
Are you ready to flee your city and move to one of the country's most desirable locations? Don't forget that moving takes time, planning, and, most importantly, a whole bundle of cash. If you don't have a savings account that can get you through your move and beyond, now's the best time to start saving. We recommend opening a separate savings account with a high APY. Check out this month's best savings offers and start your savings today.