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Americans Migrated West and South in 2017

moving-streetStates in the Mountain West, Pacific West, and the South saw strong inbound migration for 2017, according to United Van Lines' 41st Annual National Movers Study. The Study tracks state-to-state migration patterns during a given year. For 2017, Vermont, Oregon, and Idaho topped the list of predominantly inbound states. Meanwhile, states in the Northeast and Midwest saw more people moving out than moving in during the year.

Vermont was clearly doing something right in 2017, as 68 percent of the total moves in or out of the state for the year were inbound. That’s nearly the mirror opposite of Illinois’ numbers, which saw 63 percent of its 2017 moves being outbound.

States in the Pacific and Mountain West saw quite a bit of inbound migration for the year, with Oregon (65 percent inbound), Idaho (63 percent inbound), Nevada (61 percent inbound), Washington (59 percent inbound), and Colorado (56 percent inbound) all proving strong performers in 2017. Overall, the Mountain West region saw 54 percent of its moves as inbound during the year. The Southern states were close behind with 52 percent of total moves being inbound.

The Northeast trended the other direction for the year. Illinois’ 63 percent outbound total was followed by New Jersey (also 63 percent outbound), New York (61 percent outbound), and Connecticut (57 percent outbound).

Michael Stoll, economist and professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, said, “This year's data reflects longer-term trends of movement to the western and southern 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. Stoll also highlighted continued migration to the Pacific Northwest and Mountain West “as young professionals and retirees leave California."

The top 10 inbound states for 2017, according to the National Movers Study, included:

  1. Vermont
  2. Oregon
  3. Idaho
  4. Nevada
  5. South Dakota
  6. Washington
  7. South Carolina
  8. North Carolina
  9. Colorado
  10. Alabama

On the other end of the spectrum, the top 10 outbound states for 2017 were:

  1. Illinois
  2. New Jersey
  3. New York
  4. Connecticut
  5. Kansas
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Ohio
  8. Kentucky
  9. Utah
  10. Wisconsin

The study was based on “household moves handled by United within the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C.” A state is classified as “high inbound” if 55 percent or more of the moves are going into a state, and “high outbound” if the same percentage are moving out. You can read the entire study, as well as see an interactive map of the data, by clicking here.

About Author: David Wharton

Profile photo of David Wharton
David Wharton, Online Editor at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he received his B.A. in English and minored in Journalism. Wharton has over 15 years of experience in journalism and previously worked at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm, as Associate Content Editor, focusing on producing media content related to tax and accounting principles and government rules and regulations for accounting professionals. Wharton has an extensive and diversified portfolio of freelance material, with published contributions in both online and print media publications. Wharton and his family currently reside in Arlington, Texas. He can be reached at [email protected]

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