ST. LOUIS — United Van Lines has released its 47th Annual National Movers Study with the indications of Americans moving to the eastern and southern parts of the country to the less expensive areas that have comparable amenities to larger metropolitan counterparts.
The results of the study show that more residents moved to Vermont than any other state with 65% being intrastate in 2023.
A total of 29% of the moves were for Americans to be closer to family while 20% wanted a lifestyle change. Vice versa, the results show that more residents moved out of New Jersey, with 65% of the moves being interstate. For 27% of the moves, the number one reason for the out-of-the-state moves was for individuals to seek retirement.
“We are continuing to see the trend that Americans are moving to more affordable, lower-density areas across the country, with many heading to Southern states,” United Van Lines Vice President of Corporate Communications Eily Cummings said. “Movers are also becoming more strategic with their planning, as relocation continues to be driven by factors such as the price of housing, regional climates, urban planning and job growth.”
Several states in the southeastern region — South Carolina (63%), North Carolina (60%) and Alabama (60%) — continue to increase their popularity with a high percentage of inbound moves.
Aligning with the trend, Arkansas (60%) and West Virginia (58%) significantly increased in the ranking of inbound states. On the opposite end, in the Midwest and West region, the outbound moving trend continues. Illinois (61%), Michigan (58%) and California (58%) were the top states with high percentages with outbound moves.
North Dakota (61%) and Kansas (55%) decreased significantly in ranks.
The study information below was taken directly from the news release and is as follows:
The top inbound states/regions of 2023 were:
- Washington, D.C.
- South Carolina
- Rhode Island
- North Carolina
- South Dakota
- New Mexico
- West Virginia
New to the 2023 top inbound list are Arkansas, moving up from 18th in 2022 to fourth in 2023, and West Virginia, moving up from 13 in 2022 to 10th in 2023.
The top outbound states for 2023 were:
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
- New York
New to the 2023 top outbound list are North Dakota, moving up from 18th in 2022 to third in 2023, and Kansas, moving up from 14th in 2022 to eighth in 2023. For the first time in more than a decade, the study’s findings list fewer than 10 “outbound” states.
According to the results of the study, states with less than 55% of moves by United Van Lines, rather inbound or outbound, increased in 2023 as fewer Americans relocated compared to the previous year. Several states also saw nearly the same number of residents moving inbound as outbound. Nevada and Utah were among these “balanced states.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic influenced decisions to move and accelerated existing moving patterns in 2020, mostly driven by the opportunity to work remotely, the desire to be closer to family and better affordability,” Michael A. Stoll, economist and professor in The Department of Public Policy at The University of California at Los Angeles, said. “Some Americans may be faced with economic uncertainty, coupled with an increased cost of living and lack of affordable housing. This can result in adjustments to moving timelines or people making interstate moves, rather than across states.”
Metro Area Trends
Metro areas with more outbound moves than inbound moves tended to experience less growth in their working-age population in the same year. The study and its accompanying survey, which examines the motivations and influences for Americans’ interstate moves, revealed the leading motivation behind these migration patterns and across all regions is a career change — with 29% of movers relocating for a new job or company transfer.
Additionally, the survey shows the top motivations for moves — such as wanting to be closer to family (27%) and retirement (14%) — have declined compared to 2022 as movers consider other important factors related to location preferences, the cost of living and affordable housing.
Zillow Senior Economist Orphe Divounguy examined the relationship between the United Van Lines move data and the current housing market, which revealed affordability is the most significant consideration for home buyers and sellers planning to relocate.
The study shows movers tend to relocate to less expensive metro areas that are likely to see less competition in the housing market. Charlotte, North Carolina and Indianapolis, Indiana were among the top markets for net inbound moves by United Van Lines, of the 50 largest metro areas by population. A deeper analysis from Zillow on how these migration patterns impact home value and regional population growth is available here.
Since 1977, United Van Lines annually tracks migration patterns on a state-by-state basis. The 2023 study is based on household moves handled by the UniGroup network (parent company of United Van Lines) 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 2023 study, an interactive map and archived press releases and photos from United, click here.
Born and raised in Little Rock, AR, Erica N. Guy decided to stay in her hometown to begin her professional career in journalism. Since obtaining her bachelor’s degree from UAPB, Erica has professionally written for several publications about several topics ranging from lifestyle, tech, culture, and entertainment, just to name a few. Continuing her love for her hometown, she joined our team in June 2023, where she is currently a staff writer. Her career goals include continuing storytelling through her writing by being the best professional writer she can be. In her spare time, Erica enjoys trying new foods, cozying up with a good book, spending time with family and friends, and establishing herself as a future businesswoman.