News Release

Americans move to Chicago, Washington D. C. and Atlanta

Americans are leaving Sun Belt and West Coast for Midwest and Northeast

Sep 9, 2014 - ST. LOUIS - On the heels of a busy residential moving season, United Van Lines today announced the findings of its Summer Long-Distance Moving Trends Study, indicating that Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta are the most popular moving destinations.

Based on United's summer moving volume data, the most popular metro areas for U.S. families to move to this peak season were:

1.  Chicago, Ill. 6.  Dallas, Texas 11.  Houston, Texas
2.  Washington, D.C. 7.  Phoenix, Ariz. 12.  Philadelphia, Pa.
3.  Atlanta, Ga. 8.  New York N.Y. 13.  Denver, Colo.
4.  Boston, Mass. 9.  Minneapolis, Minn. 14.  Seattle, Wash.
5.  Los Angeles, Calif. 10.  San Diego, Calif. 15.  St. Louis, Mo.

The data also revealed the top metro areas families were moving from this peak moving season: 

1.  Washington, D.C. 6.  Chicago, Ill. 11.  Portland, Ore.
2.  Dallas, Texas 7.  Seattle, Wash. 12.  Charlotte, N.C.
3.  Atlanta, Ga. 8.  Los Angeles, Calif. 13.  Minneapolis, Minn.
4.  Houston, Texas 9.  Denver, Colo. 14.  Boston, Mass.
5.  Phoenix, Ariz. 10.  San Jose, Calif. 15.  San Diego, Calif.

A survey of United Van Lines customers moving to the top destination cities revealed that most (71.6 percent) moved for a new job or corporate transfer. Approximately 13 percent moved because of retirement and nearly 10 percent moved for health or other personal reasons.

Dallas/Fort Worth, followed by Atlanta and Los Angeles, were the most popular destinations for new jobs and corporate transferees. When it comes to retirement, respondents were drawn to warmer weather with Phoenix and Los Angeles topping the list.

Although Washington, D.C. tops the list for highest volume of outbound moves, it also had the second highest volume of residents moving into the metro area due to the fact that it is a transient city with a high number of people coming and going. Many cities that are experiencing growth - more people moving into the metropolitan region than out - were in the Northeast, including New York, Boston and Philadelphia. The Midwest region saw considerable growth, including high volumes of millennial moves to cities such as Chicago, St. Louis and Minneapolis. The cities experiencing the biggest moving deficit - more people moving out than in - were along the West Coast (San Jose, Portland and Seattle) and in Texas (Houston and Dallas).

"Bucking recent trends, more people are moving to frost belt cities in the Northeast and Midwest," said Michael A. Stoll, economist, professor and chair of the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. "Popular metropolitan destinations driving city to city migration are those with a highly educated labor force and that have growing or mature business, financial, and insurance services. In addition, strong technology and healthcare industries are driving migration, sectors where recent job growth has been relatively robust in the broader economy."

To capture the city-to-city migration patterns in the U.S., United analyzed domestic moves during the peak moving season - between May 1 and August 31 - when approximately 40 percent of all domestic household goods moves take place.

"Year after year, May through August are the most popular months to move," said Melissa Sullivan, director of marketing communications for United Van Lines. "Because United conducts more moves than any other moving company, we're in a unique position to use this data and observe the migration of American families from city to city and state to state."

As the nation's largest household goods mover, United collects and maintains data regarding its moves. For the last 37 years, United has released an annual domestic migration study in January, and this latest peak moving season migration study offers unique insight into the current city-to-city moving patterns. The findings for the full year 2014 will be released in January 2015.

About United is America's #1 Mover®. In cooperation with its sister company, United Van Lines is able to offer a full range of moving solutions from do-it-yourself to full-service. With headquarters in suburban St. Louis, United Van Lines maintains a network of 400 affiliated agencies. For more information about United Van Lines visit

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