Lakeland skyline

Lakeland came in at No. 16 in the nation when U.S. News & World Report looked at cities where people want to move. The rankings were based on net migration: comparing the number of people moving in with those moving out between 2010 and 2014.

The entire I-4 corridor scored high on the list (see below), with Tampa, Orlando and Daytona joining Lakeland among the seven Florida cities on a scorecard heavily weighted toward the Sunbelt.

U.S. News said this about Lakeland:

Lakeland’s convenient location gives it easy access to tourism hot spots like Tampa and Orlando. Despite maintaining a low profile compared to the two cities it’s sandwiched between, Lakeland experienced 4.41% growth due to net migration over a five-year period. With a median home price of just $145,350 and an average monthly rent of $870, the cost of living is low compared to national averages.

Lakeland came in at No. 70 in U.S. News’ rankings of best 100 places to live. The only Florida city on the top 10 on that list was Sarasota.

Here’s the list of “20 Best Places People Are Moving to in the U.S.” with Florida cities in bold type:

  1. Fort Myers
  2. Austin
  3. Sarasota
  4. Charleston, S.C.
  5. Orlando
  6. Houston
  7. San Antonio
  8. Raleigh-Durham
  9. Denver
  10. Miami
  11. Charlotte
  12. Nashville
  13. Fayetteville, Ark.
  14. Boise
  15. Daytona Beach
  16. Lakeland
  17. Dallas-Fort Worth
  18. Tampa
  19. Des Moines
  20. Seattle

U.S. News’ real estate division based its migration rankings on U.S. Census figures for the 100 largest metro areas in the country. The Lakeland metro area includes all of Polk County.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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