Invest Where People Move: A Free Population Research Tool

Population Research Tool

Yesterday, I talked about how population research is one of the fist steps to understanding any real estate market.

In today’s post, I want to spend a few more minutes sharing a tool I created to level up my population research.

If you haven’t read the Investor’s Guide to Population Research, be sure to check it out first. It’s packed with information and resources to get you started.

Here’s a brief refresher.

The advice real estate investors often hear is to invest in a growing population. Sounds simple.

The reality is more complicated. A market can have a growing population while also experiencing more people moving out than moving in. In other words, a net negative migration.

An investor may not see this exodus if they’re only looking at the total population numbers.

The key is to find a market that meets two criteria. First, a market needs to have a growing population. Second, there needs to be more people moving there than moving out each year. In other words, a net positive migration.

So how do you efficiently find these markets when there are hundreds of cities to choose from?

Good question. It’s not by manually researching them one by one.

Introducing my Population Research Tool.

My Population Research Tool

With the population statistics collected by the US Census Bureau, I created a useful Population Research Tool that will level up your population research.


Data Includes

  • Annual population statistics from 2010 to 2015
  • Country, Region, State, Metro, Micro, and County level population statistics

Tool Highlights

  • Quickly look at population estimates for any metro in the country.
  • Compare population growth, % growth, births, deaths, domestic and international migration.
  • Sort markets
    • Size of population
    • Greatest growth by number or percent change
  • Filter markets
    • That meet minimum population size (e.g. MSA larger than 250,000)
    • Where there’s population growth
    • With net positive migration
    • By county, MSA, or even by state

Download the tool for free when you subscribe.

Video Tutorial

Below is a quick video tutorial on how I use this Population Research Tool.

I use this tool as an effective way to study hundreds of markets. You’ll not only see the population trends year to year, but more importantly, you’ll see the migration patterns of a market.


We’re living in a technological era with so many bytes of data available at our fingertips. With a little effort, anyone with an internet connection can research any market in the US. It’s truly an amazing time!

The challenge though is not access to data, but rather how to effectively interpret all the data. It can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking at. It can also be misleading if you’re only looking at one metric (i.e. total population).

So I’ve put together this Population Research Tool. This tool helps me quickly filter through hundreds of MSAs and focus on markets that have both a growing population and a net positive migration.

Let me know what you think of my Population Research Tool. Leave a comment below.

12 thoughts on “Invest Where People Move: A Free Population Research Tool

  1. Great point about looking at migration vs population growth alone. Never really thought about that!

    You can also look at where businesses are moving to. It’s not hard to track where fortune 500 companies are move their HQs and such.

  2. Completely agree here. A city’s population trend is the first statistic I look at when I decide to invest in out of state rental properties.

    A growing population means more people which leads to more jobs, which leads to a better economy. Oh and my favorite part is that it means more renters!! Hehe

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