In 1st full year of pandemic, biggest metros lost residents

Anthony Giusti stands outside a home he is painting in Houston on March 23, 2022. The San Francisco-area native left the Bay Area last year and moved to Houston where he started a home-painting business. He was one of tens of thousands of people who left the biggest metro areas in the U.S. and moved to Sunbelt metros during the first full year of the pandemic, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday, March 24. (Garima Vyas via AP)

FILE - A pedestrian walks on the Sabine Street Bridge on the foreground of the Houston skyline during the Tropical Storm Beta Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. (Marie D. De Jesús/Houston Chronicle via AP)

People ride a new indoor tourist attraction called RiseNY just off Times Square in Manhattan's Theater District in New York City on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Visitors strap themselves into a row of seats and are lifted 30 feet off the ground inside a 180 degree, 40-foot projection dome to take a bird's eye virtual view of city landmarks and seasonal events. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

After returning to metro San Francisco following a college football career, Anthony Giusti felt like his hometown was passing him by. The high cost of living, driven by a constantly transforming tech industry, ensured that even with two jobs he would never save enough money to buy a house.