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U.S. residents seeking low-cost states

New York, California and other high-cost states may lose residents as the economy recovers, continuing a trend during the past decade of Americans searching for more affordable regions to settle.

The U.S. population climbed 9.7 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to Census Bureau data. Five states -- Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Utah and Idaho -- grew at more than twice the national pace as California, the most populous, had its smallest increase ever, the data show.

The Northeast states of New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts are among those that had population increases of less than half the average. Though migration has slowed, the effects of the economic downturn may rekindle movements away from high-priced areas, said Joel Kotkin, author of "The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050," a book about demographics.

"If you move from New York to Houston, you just gave yourself a gigantic raise," Kotkin said. "As the country has become more stressed, people have to move to those places where they can achieve a middle-class lifestyle at a lower cost."

The average sale price of a single-family home in the area including New York City was $464,900 at the end of September, compared with $159,500 in the Houston region, according to National Association of Realtors data.

New York state has the fifth-highest income-tax rate in the U.S., while Texas is one of seven with no personal income tax. California is third most, at 6.7 percent, trailing only Hawaii and Oregon.

About 1 in 9 people, or 11.6 percent, changed locations between 2010 and 2011, the lowest total since the government began tracking the figure in 1948, census data show. Men 25 to 34 years old, who are usually among the most frequent migrants, have increasingly opted to live with their parents during the past five years, according to government figures.

"A lot of people who would have been out-migrants have not yet left home," said William Frey, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington who has studied census data for more than three decades. "There is this pent-up demand for migration, and it could be that once things pick up, there will be an exodus again from these places."

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