Map: Where Americans Are On the Move

January 8, 2019

Vermont has been actively working to bring in more new residents, and the state may be having some success in its mission. Vermont was the state with the highest percent of inbound moves in 2018, according to the 42nd annual United Van Lines’ National Movers Study, which tracks state-to-state migration patterns over the past year. Last year, Vermont launched a campaign to give eligible people who relocate from another state up to $10,000 to cover their moving expenses, in an effort to attract tech workers and revitalize the state’s aging work force. 

States in the Mountain West and Pacific West regions, such as Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Washington, and South Dakota, also are seeing some of the highest influx of inbound moves from new residents. Arizona also joined the top 10 bracket this year for highest inbound moves.

Some of the most commonly reported reasons for moves to the Mountain West this year were due to retirement (28 percent), proximity to family (21 percent), and a lifestyle change (19 percent). Idaho saw the largest number of new residents citing a lifestyle change as their reason for moving.

“The data … aligns with longer-term migration patterns to southern and western states, trends driven by factors like job growth, lower costs of living, and more temperate climates,” says Michael Stoll, economist and professor at the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Unlike a few decades ago, retirees are leaving California, instead choosing other states in the Pacific West and Mountain West. We’re also seeing young professionals migrating to vibrant, metropolitan economies, like Washington, D.C., and Seattle.”

The Northeast, however, is seeing more residents leave. The highest number of residents moved out of New Jersey last year than any other state, the study found. New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York were among the top 10 places for the fourth consecutive year with the highest number of outbound moves in 2018, according to the study.

A career change is the most commonly cited reason for an outbound move. One out of every two people who moved in the past year cited a new job or company transfer as the reason why, according to the study.