RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Either they're already here or on the way, thousands are moving to North Carolina; Millions more to the Southeast. For the first time since the government started tracking it, six Southern states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida and Texas are contributing more to the nation's gross domestic product than the Northeast.
Bloomberg called it a "$100 billion wealth migration tilting the U.S. economy's center of gravity south."
"Most people move for work."
Nathan Dollar studies the trend for Carolina Demography at UNC Chapel Hill.
"Most people move for work. And so people are moving to where jobs are and there's economic opportunities," said Dollar who serves as the center's director.
Whether it's Apple to RTP, Google to Durham or Toyota's under-construction battery plant in Randolph County, the corporations are coming. The Southeast accounted for more than 2/3 of all job growth across the U.S. since early 2020.
And the workers they attract helped steer $100 billion to the southeast in 2020 and '21 alone. All while the Northeast, the longtime powerhouse from Boston, New York to Washington D.C., lost about $60 billion.
"The Sunbelt states have been growing fast for quite some time," Dollar said. "Tax benefits and land has historically been cheaper. Labor is cheaper for a host of historical reasons."
Kimberly Williams, owner of Durham-based Right Time Realty said her phone has been ringing off the hook since the pandemic real estate surge -- and has not stopped yet.
"It's a lot of the new industries that are bringing people that want to become residents here," said Williams who explained she's not just seeing interest from buyers from the Northeast. There's lots of California and west coast buyers as well."
"They've already secured employment. And now because of the affordability of our homes compared to where they are, it's a matter of just securing somewhere to stay."
However, the surging Southern growth brings with it growing inequalities. Rents and home prices now out of reach for so many locals as out-of-state transplants gentrify communities.
Dollar called it one of the biggest policy challenges North Carolina faces moving forward.