According to the results of United Van Lines’ 43rd Annual National Movers Study, which tracks customers’ state-to-state migration patterns over the past year, Idaho saw the highest percentage of inbound migration among states experiencing more than 250 moves* with United Van Lines: 67.4 percent. This is Idaho’s first time leading the list of inbound states in more than 25 years. However, for the second consecutive year, the study found that more residents moved out of New Jersey than any other state, as 68.5 percent of New Jersey moves were outbound.
The study and its accompanying survey also revealed that more Baby Boomer generation Americans moved than any other age group last year, as those aged 55-74 years old accounted for more than 45 percent of all inbound United Van Lines moves in 2019.
Oregon, at 65.7 percent inbound, followed Idaho as the second most popular moving destination nationally, experiencing more than 2,800 total moves. States in the Mountain West and Pacific West regions, including Arizona (63.2 percent), Washington (59.5 percent) and New Mexico (43.9 percent), continued to see high percentages of inbound moves. Each of these states ranked among the top inbound states in the study’s 2019 data.
In the Southeastern region of the United States, several states—including South Carolina (61.8 percent) and North Carolina (57.3 percent)—were popular moving destinations in 2019. The study revealed that major reasons for moving south were retirement (24 percent) and job change (46 percent). Following this trend, Florida (58.1 percent) joined the list of top 10 inbound states for the first time since 2015, ranking seventh. Among all states, more residents flocked to Florida for retirement (40.5 percent) and for lifestyle change (22.97 percent) than any other state.
“Key factors like the Baby Boomer generation re-locating upon reaching retirement age as well as states’ economic performances and housing costs drove these 2019 moving patterns,” said Michael A. Stoll, economist and professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. “United Van Lines’ study encompasses data consistent with the broader migration trends to western and southern regions that we’ve been seeing for several years now.”
Each year, United Van Lines’ National Movers Study reveals the business data of inbound and outbound moves on a state-by-state basis. Alongside the study, United Van Lines conducts a survey to examine the reasons and motivations behind these migration patterns. The 2019 survey revealed that, across all regions, a major driver of migration is a career change, as approximately one out of every two people who moved with United Van Lines in the past year moved for a new job or company transfer. In 2019, Washington, D.C. saw the largest influx of residents due to a new job/company transfer at 78 percent.
An exodus persists among Northeastern states, as New Jersey (68.5 percent), New York (63.1 percent) and Connecticut (63 percent) were all included among the top 10 outbound states for the fifth consecutive year. Primary reasons cited for leaving the Northeast were retirement (26.85 percent) and new job/company transfer (40.12 percent).
Midwestern states including Illinois (66.5 percent), Kansas (58.5 percent), Ohio (57.8 percent), Michigan (56.9 percent) and Iowa (55 percent), all returned to the list of top 10 outbound states in 2019. According to the survey results, the exodus from the Midwest was primarily due to a desire to retire elsewhere (22.8 percent) and for a new job/company transfer (51 percent).
“United Van Lines, as the nation’s largest household goods mover, is uniquely able to identify the year’s most and least popular moving destinations for Americans through our annual National Movers Study,” said Eily Cummings, director of corporate communications at United Van Lines. “For more than 40 years now, this study and survey offers year-over-year insights into where and why Americans are moving.”
The top inbound states (with 250 moves or more) of 2019 were:
- South Carolina
- District of Columbia
- South Dakota
- North Carolina
- New Mexico
New to the 2019 top inbound list is Florida at No. 7, with an inbound percentage of 58.1.
The top outbound states for 2019 were:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
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.
Several states saw nearly the same number of residents moving inbound as outbound. Maine and Oklahoma are among these “balanced states.”
*Although Vermont experienced the highest percentage of inbound moves overall, United Van Lines moved fewer than 250 families in and out of the state. The inbound and outbound rankings in this year’s study only reflect states with 250 moves or more.
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.