FILE - A view of Texas highway IH-30 traffic with the Dallas skyline.
FILE - A view of Texas highway IH-30 traffic with the Dallas skyline.

Americans have long felt the call to go west, but they're also moving south.

Between July 2017 and July 2018, more people relocated to counties in the West and South of the United States than moved out, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Overall, suburbs in the South and West welcomed more people than counties in the Midwest and Northeast.

Texas is particularly popular. Four counties in the Lone Star State are in the top 10 spots. They include Harris, just outside of Houston; Collin, about 64 kilometers from Dallas; Tarrant, outside of Forth Worth; and Bexar, near San Antonio.

HowMuch.net produced this map based on economics Professor Mark J. Perry's analysis comparing the GDP's of US states to entire countries..
How US States Are Richer Than Some Foreign Nations

The United States is an economic powerhouse.

As the largest economy in the world, the U.S. produced $20.5 trillion worth of goods and services — known as its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) — in 2018. That's impressive when you consider that the total GDP for the entire world was about $80 trillion in 2017.

In fact, every U.S. state has a GDP that makes it as powerful, economically, as a foreign nation.

California is the state with the highest GDP in the country. Its $2.97 trillion economy is on par with Britain, which has a GDP of $2.81 trillion.

Texas state demographer Lloyd Potter says there's a reason newcomers are heading to areas outside the state's core urban counties.

"Many jobs are being created in these counties, but there is also affordable and newer housing, and the quality of schools is generally pretty good relative to urban core counties," he told VOA via email.

When it comes to domestic migration, most of the Americans moving to Texas are coming from nearby.

"According to the American Community Survey (2017), most net domestic migrants move to Texas from California, then Illinois, Louisiana, New York, Mississippi and Pennsylvania," Potter said.

Percent Population Change by US County

Florida is also a popular destination. Most counties in the Sunshine State had net-positive domestic migration. In 2017, more Americans moved to Florida than any other state.

When it comes to metropolitan areas, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas, had the largest numeric growth between July 2017 and July 2018, adding 131,767 residents. The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale area in Arizona was second, with its population increasing by 96,268.

Out of 3,142 U.S. counties, 52% increased their populations during that time period, meaning more people moved into the county than moved out. That's about the same growth as was seen the previous year.

More people, however, are dying than being born in about half of all U.S. counties. This trend was most apparent in the Northeast and Appalachia regions, Florida and the upper Midwest.