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Where Americans Are Moving To and Away From

Where Americans Are Moving To and Away From

According to a recent study by United Van Lines, Americans are moving to the upper mid west. The most frequented destination they’re heading to is Idaho, to be exact.  In 2019 Idaho moved up to top the ranks of most popular “move-to” locations for the first time in 25 years!

As United Van Lines tracks customers’ interstate  moves, the results were included in the United Van Lines’ 43rd Annual National Movers Study. In 2019 this study showed that Idaho saw the highest percentage of inbound migration in the category of states experiencing more than 250 moves (although Vermont experienced the highest percentage of inbound moves overall, United Van Lines moved fewer than 250 families in and out of Vermont. The data used for this year’s study only reflect states with 250 moves or more.)

Where are residents moving from?

Not surprisingly, for the second consecutive year, according to this study, more residents moved away from New Jersey than any other state, ( 68.5 % of New Jersey moves were outbound in 2019)

What age(s) are those moving?

According to the previously mentioned study (and its accompanying survey) more Baby-Boomer-generation Americans moved than any other age group last year; second-in-line would be persons ages 55-74. This group accounted for more than 45 percent of all inbound United Van Lines moves in 2019.

Other Popular Destinations

Ranking among the top inbound states in the study’s 2019 data, and coming in at 2nd is the state of Oregon. The states located in the Mountain and Pacific West regions, wrapped up the top destinations, including Arizona, Washington and New Mexico. These popular states continued to see high percentages of inbound moves throughout 2019.

The Southeast is Drawing More Residents

According to respondent answers, of all the states, more residents flocked to Florida for retirement and for lifestyle changes than any other state. This ranking places Florida in the Top 10 of inbound moves for the first time since 2015. This may have to do with recent year of calmer weather in the southern states.

In the Southeastern U.S. there are several destination states. Both North Carolina and South Carolina were popular moving destinations in 2019 for Baby Boomer Generations retiring, job opportunities and more affordable housing costs.

The 2019 survey that accompanied the study revealed that, no matter the region, one of the major drivers of migration is work related/career change; 50% of those moving with United Van Lines decided on their move for the purpose of employment, including new positions and/or change in company.  Washington, D.C. topped the charts having the largest influx of residents due to a new job/company transfer with 78% of moves related.

The Northeast and Midwest are Losing Residents

Populations continue to leave the Northeastern states. New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut have all been in the top 10 outbound states for the last 5 years with retirement and jobs opportunities being primary reasons for heading south or west.

The Midwestern states including IllinoisKansasMichigan, and Iowa returned to the top-10 list of outbound states in 2019. Based on the survey, moves were primarily due to a desire to retire elsewhere and/or for a new job/company transfer.

For more than 40 years now, this study and survey offers year-over-year insights into where and why Americans are moving.

States Holding Residents

Maine and Oklahoma are a couple of the several states experiencing a balance of the number of residents moving inbound as outbound. 


A Quick Rundown by the Numbers

Moving In

The top inbound states (with 250 moves or more) of 2019 were:

  1. Idaho
  2. Oregon
  3. Arizona
  4. South Carolina
  5. Washington
  6. District of Columbia
  7. Florida
  8. South Dakota
  9. North Carolina
  10. New Mexico

New to the 2019 top inbound list is Florida at No. 7, with an inbound measure of 58.1%.

Moving Out

The top outbound states for 2019 were:

  1. New Jersey
  2. Illinois
  3. New York
  4. Connecticut
  5. Kansas
  6. Ohio
  7. California
  8. Michigan
  9. North Dakota
  10. Iowa

While New Jersey (68.5 percent) has ranked among the top 10 outbound states for the past 11 years, California (43.1 percent) was new to the top 10 outbound in 2019. Of those who left California in 2019, nearly 2 out of 5 (39.02 percent) cited a new job/company transfer as their reason for moving.

Since 1977, United Van Lines has annually tracked migration patterns on a state-by-state basis. The 2019 study is based on household moves handled by United within the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C. and ranks states based off the inbound and outbound percentages of total moves in each state. United classifies states as “high inbound” if 55 percent or more of the moves are going into a state, “high outbound” if 55 percent or more moves were coming out of a state or “balanced” if the difference between inbound and outbound is negligible.

To view the entire 2019 study, an interactive map and archived press releases and photos from United, please visit the United Van Lines website.

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