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How Housing Migration May Have Impacted the Presidential Election

atlanta georgia cityGeorgia surprised the nation during this presidential election when it turned blue for the first time in 28 years. According to a new report from Redfin, recent migration from liberal parts of the country to Georgia may have been a factored in the state’s election outcome. 

The report states that Georgia—the sixth state with the largest net inflow of people in 20—has seen people from more expensive, liberal cities like New York, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles move to Atlanta. These newcomers are likely drawn to Georgia because of its affordability in comparison to other popular cities across the country. 

The typical Atlanta home sold for $285,000 in October. This is a sizable discount compared to the typical home in the New York City metro (excluding Manhattan) which sold for $550,000 in the same month. Homes sold for $458,000 in Washington, D.C., $735,000 in Los Angeles, and $1.43 million in San Francisco during October of this year.

It is understandable how many people from pricey cities outside of Georgia are flocking to the Southern state to take advantage of its affordable homes. Since COVID-19 has led many Americans to work remotely, this may be another incentive for people to move to more affordable metros away from where they may have worked before the pandemic.

Most out-of-state city dwellers who have recently searched on Redfin for Atlanta homes came from New York City. This October, 37.3% of searches for Atlanta homes from outside the area coming from New York. The other top four cities of origin for Redfin users looking for homes in Atlanta were Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and Chicago.

In 2019, there were approximately 50,000 more people moving into Georgia than there were people moving out. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows a steady increase in the net inflow of people moving to Georgia since 2011. 

In October 2020, Redfin reports that 26% of searches on its site for Atlanta homes came from people outside of the state. The city was the fifth most popular city overall among Redfin users searching for a new home outside of their state, and there has been a 43% increase in the net inflow of people looking to move to Atlanta since 2019.

These recent shifts in Georgia migration patterns may have played a key role in the state’s presidential election results this year. President Trump won Georgia in 2016 by approximately 211,000 votes. This year, President-elect Joe Biden won Georgia by about 13,000 votes, and he won Fulton County, where Atlanta is located, by 46 percentage points. This is an increase from the 40.6 percentage-point advantage that Democrats had in the county back in 2016. 

However, this is not the only Georgia county that experienced increases in Democratic votes this year compared to 2016. Georgia’s other most populous counties besides Fulton also saw gains. Gwinnett (18 points, up from 5.8), Cobb (14 points, up from 2.2), and DeKalb (67 points, up from 62.9) were all counties that voted Democratic by bigger margins than they did four years ago.

Smaller suburbs in Georgia also saw a higher turnout of Democratic voters this year. Joe Biden won the suburbs of Atlanta by 30.5 percentage points. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won these suburbs by a 23.4-point margin in 2016 and Barack Obama won them by a 13.2-point margin in 2012. 

This increase in Democratic voters in Atlanta’s suburb may be connected to the rise in diversity among the suburbs’ population. As of 2018, people of color made up slightly more than 46% of the suburban population surrounding Atlanta. In 2010, people of color made up 43.4% of this population. This shows more diversity in Atlanta suburbs compared to the nationwide suburban population, which had a 28% share of people of color in 2018. 

Data indicates that this increase in diversity among Georgia’s suburbs, as well as an overall influx of out-of-state newcomers into Georgia, may have played a part in turning the state blue this year.

About Author: Cristin Espinosa

Cristin Espinosa is a reporter for DS News and MReport. She graduated from Southern Methodist University where she worked as an editor and later as a digital media producer for The Daily Campus. She has a broadcast background as well, serving as a producer for SMU-TV. She wrote for the food section during her fellowship at The Dallas Morning News and has also contributed to Advocate Magazine and The Dallas Observer.

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