This year's United Van Lines National Movers Study released early last week provides a fascinating insight into American migration patterns. According to the study, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers drove the shifts in migration, with Eastern states seeing the highest inbound moves. Vermont topped the list of inbound states for the second year in a row, with an inbound percentage of 77%.
On the other hand, New Jersey was the top outbound state for the fifth consecutive year, with 67% of moves being outbound. The survey also revealed that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers accounted for more than 55% of all inbound moves in 2022, indicating that these generations are seeking out lower-density areas for lifestyle changes, retirement and to be closer to family.
In the Northeastern region of the U.S., Rhode Island (66%), Delaware (61%) and Washington, D.C. (59%) were popular moving destinations in 2022. Southeastern states such as South Carolina (61%), North Carolina (61%), and Alabama (58%) also saw a high percentage of moves. Oregon followed Vermont as a top inbound state for 2022, with an inbound percentage of 67%.
The study also highlighted the key factors driving migration patterns in 2022, such as new jobs or company transfers and moving closer to family.
“Key factors like retirement, wanting to be closer to family and lifestyle changes influenced by the pandemic along with current housing prices drove moving patterns in 2022,” Michael A. Stoll, economist and professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, said. “The United Van Lines study encompasses data that Americans are now moving from bigger to smaller cities, mostly in the South, some in the West, but even an increase of migration to the Northeast, which has not been typical. We’re also seeing younger Millennials migrating to vibrant, metropolitan economies, like Washington, D.C. and Portland, Oregon.”
The top inbound states of 2022 were:
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- North Carolina
- Washington, D.C.
- South Dakota
- New Mexico
Of the top ten inbound states, four — Vermont, Oregon, South Dakota, and New Mexico — are among the least densely populated states in America, with less than 100 people per square mile. South Dakota and New Mexico are among the top 10.
The top outbound states for 2022 were:
- New Jersey
- New York
Several states saw nearly the same number of residents moving inbound as outbound.
Missouri and Nevada are among these “balanced states.”
Where does this move data come from?
For more than 40 years, United Van Lines has been tracking migration patterns across the country. The 2022 study is based on the household moves made by the UniGroup network, which includes the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C. The states are classified as "high inbound" if over 55% of the moves are going into the state, "high outbound" if over 55% of the moves are leaving the state, or "balanced" if the difference between inbound and outbound is almost even.
How to use the interactive map below: Click on the image for additional details about each state's move activity.
To understand inbound and outbound percentages for each state, use the legend. To view reasons for moving and demographic data, select the year and state that you would like to view using the dropdown menus. (If you are using a desktop computer, you can use your mouse to click and select a state.) Please note that percentages pertaining to demographic data may not always total 100% due to respondents having the ability to opt-out of answering survey questions and/or to select more than one survey response per question.
To view the entire 2022 study and additional information from United, please visit https://www.unitedvanlines.com/newsroom/movers-study-2022