For more than 40 years, United Van Lines have been tracking which states people have been moving to and from, as well as surveying why it is that their customers are moving from state to state. This study is based on household moves handled by United within the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C. “High inbound” states are those where 55 percent or more of the moves are going into the state. Conversely, “high outbound” are those where 55 percent or more moves were coming out of the state. States are considered “balanced” if the difference between inbound and outbound is negligible.  As the largest mover of household goods in the nation, this data is highly reflective of national migration trends.

Read on to explore the ways that Americans’ have been migrating for the last few years!

2017 National Movers Study

Similarly to 2016, American’s are continuing to flock to the Mountain and Pacific West, while the Northeast and Midwest continue to lose residents. Vermont led the list of inbound moves throughout 2017 with nearly 68 percent of all moves to the state being inbound. However, Illinois had the highest rate of outbound moves in the nation, with 63 percent of all moves being from residents leaving the state. As a region, the Mountain West has continued to grow in popularity throughout the nation. In particular, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Washington, and Colorado have been well represented at the top of the list. Oregon, in particular, has cited that nearly 50 percent of inbound moves have been as a result of a new job or company transfer, while another 24 percent were spurred by increased proximity to family.

Although the Mountain West has become the top destination for retirees, the Midwest and Pacific West have been attracting movers taking new jobs at the highest rates. Interestingly, the South has seen the largest exodus of residents due to finding jobs outside of the region. Michael Stoll, economist and professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, suggests that this year's data may reflect the long term trend of movement to regions where housing costs are relatively lower, climates are more temperate, and job growth has been at or above the national average.

The full 2017 Annual Migration Report can be found here.

2016 National Movers Study

After 3 years of sitting at the top spot, South Dakota narrowly overtook Oregon to become the nation's “Top Moving Destination”. This is the first time that South Dakota has ever held the no.1 spot. Vermont also inched out Oregon to take the no.2 position, with Oregon rounding out the top three. While the West continues to grow, the Northeast continues to dominate the list of top outbound states for the second consecutive year. New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut all lead the list, with Pennsylvania joining this year.

Michael Stoll, economist, professor and chair of the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, suggests that this data is most reflective of retirees’ location preferences, with more retirees decided to relocate out west than ever. “Interestly enough, these retirees are leaving at such a fast pace that the movement of millennials to urban areas in the Midwest and Northeast is being overshadowed”, says Stoll. As a result of this shift for retirees, new retirement hubs are popping up throughout the Western states.

The full 2016 Annual Migration Report can be found here.

2015 National Movers Study

Other than the date, few things changed in this year’s United Van Lines’ Annual National Movers Study, which cites Oregon as the top inbound state for relocating individuals and families this past year. This is the third consecutive year the Beaver State has been the most popular moving destination. South Carolina and Vermont rounded out the top three.

New Jersey and New York also held on as the top two outbound states, respectively, with Connecticut dropping one spot to No. 4. Illinois had the third-highest number of outbound moves in 2015.

Regionally, the South had the highest percentage of inbound moves at 53 percent. In a related survey, United Van Lines noted the reasons people moved to the Southern states were because of “company transfer/new job, retirement and proximity to family.”

In United’s news release detailing the findings, Michael Stoll, economist, professor and chair of the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, noted that the retiring Baby Boomer generation is leaving colder climates in the Northeast and Midwest in favor of warmer homes in the South and Western states.

The full 2015 Annual Migration Report can be found here.

2014 National Movers Study

After the 2013 shake-up of top inbound states, this year’s United Van Lines’ Annual Migration Study remains largely the same at the top spots. Oregon, South Carolina and North Carolina were the top three destinations for the second-consecutive year, respectively. Washington, D.C., which was the top destination from 2008 to 2012, fell four places to the eighth spot.

The tri-state area did not fare as well. New Jersey, New York and Connecticut had the highest outbound rates, respectively.

In the “no news is good news” category, Michigan placed in the balanced category for the second year in a row, meaning the difference between its inbound and outbound moves was less than 10 percent.

Michael Stoll, economist, professor and chair of the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, weighed in on these results in United’s release announcing the study. Stoll notes these findings “reflect longer-term trends of movement to the southern and western states, especially to those where housing costs are relatively lower, climates are more temperate and job growth has been at or above the national average, among other factors.”

The full 2014 Annual Migration Report can be found here.

2013 National Movers Study

After four straight years of coming in second, Oregon has finally made it to the top moving destination of 2016, with 61 percent of moves to the state inbound ones. he study attributes widespread interest in public transportation, sustainability, and arts and entertainment for the reasons why so many are moving to Oregon. Low cost of living and industrial growth is what is attributed to fueling interest in the Carolinas, which we the second and third top destinations. Washington D.C. also fell to the fourth spot.

Although New Jersey continues to be the highest outbound state, Michigan improved enough to no longer place on the outbound list for the first time in 16 years. It is now considered a balanced state – because neither inbound or outbound moves are more than 55 percent - largely because home prices are rebounding and automakers are hiring again.

The full 2013 Annual Migration Report can be found here.