EVANSVILLE, Ind. — In the wake of the country’s economic downturn, people are moving away from states with high unemployment, according to the 2009 Atlas Van Lines Migration Patterns study. Atlas’ annual study has tracked the nation’s moves since 1993.
Residents of “rust belt” states continue to relocate in large numbers, as steel and manufacturing industry jobs decline, according to the study. And while historically the nation has moved westward, heavy job losses, particularly in construction, manufacturing and tourism in California, Nevada and Oregon, have made these states less popular destinations than in years past.
Migration patterns also show that the Southwest pocket — Texas, New Mexico, and for the first time in five years, Oklahoma — continues to attract residents. Also popular are the Northeast and Southeast states.
Washington D.C. had the highest percentage of inbound traffic for the fourth year in a row, and Connecticut had the highest percentage of outbound traffic. New Jersey and South Dakota narrowly follow Connecticut to round out the top three outbound states.
As the economy cooled in 2009, so did household moves industry-wide, according to the study. Atlas' total interstate and cross-border moves were down nearly 16 percent from 2008, when Atlas moved 84,447 households. The total for 2009 was 71,301.
However, a higher-than-average jump in relocation activity during the summer months may be a sign that the moving market is recovering, the study suggested.
“Atlas’ migration study takes the pulse of our nation — it reflects the economic climate and is a guide to the general migration patterns throughout the country,” said Glen Dunkerson, chairman and CEO of Atlas World Group. “The results this year are surprising, because many states that have for years been outbound, inbound, or balanced have changed.”
For full results of the migration survey and to view a map and annual histories for each state, click here.
Atlas Van Lines is the largest subsidiary of Atlas World Group, which posted revenues of $908 million in 2008.
Kevin Jones of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.