2016 United Movers Study

South Dakota Overtakes Oregon as the Nation’s “Top Moving Destination”

Retirees Moving to Mountain and Pacific West

South Dakota narrowly overtakes Oregon, which held the top spot for the previous three years, as the nation’s “Top Moving Destination.” This is the first time South Dakota has held the no. 1 spot. Vermont inched out Oregon for the no 2. position, with Oregon rounding out the top three. Those are the results of the United Van Lines’ 40th Annual National Movers Study, which tracks customers’ state-to-state migration patterns over the past year.


Retirees are continuing to move to the Mountain and Pacific West. The Western U.S. is represented on the high-inbound list by Oregon (67 percent), Idaho (65 percent), Washington (58 percent), Nevada (58 percent) and Arizona (57 percent). Of moves to Oregon, the highest ranking Western state, a new job or company transfer (53 percent) and retirement (19 percent) led the reasons for most inbound moves.

The Southern states also saw a high number of people moving in with 53 percent of total moves being inbound. United Van Lines found the top reasons for moving south included company transfer/new job, retirement and proximity to family. 

The Northeast continues to experience a moving deficit with New Jersey (63 percent outbound), New York (63 percent) and Connecticut (60 percent) making the list of top outbound states for the second consecutive year. Pennsylvania (56 percent) also joined the top outbound list this year. 

“For 40 years, United Van Lines has been tracking which states people are moving to and from. We also survey our customers to understand why they are moving from state-to-state,” said Melissa Sullivan, director of marketing communications at United Van Lines. “As the nation’s largest household goods mover, the data we collect is reflective of national migration trends.” 

“This year’s data clearly reflects retirees’ location preferences. We are seeing more retirees than ever decide to relocate, and as a result, new retirement hubs are popping up in Western states, said Michael Stoll, economist, professor and chair of the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Interestingly enough, these retirees are leaving at such a fast pace that the movement of millennials to urban areas in the Midwest and Northeast is being overshadowed.” 

Regarding why people are moving, the Mountain West led the way with retirees, with one in four movers indicated they chose to move to this location for retirement reasons. Regions which saw the most inbound moves for company transfers included the Midwest (63 percent) and Pacific West (62 percent). The region with the largest exodus of residents due to finding jobs elsewhere was the southern U.S. (62 percent). Across all regions, nearly one in five of those who moved in 2016 moved to be closer to family.

United has tracked migration patterns annually on a state-by-state basis since 1977. For 2016, the study is based on household moves handled by United within the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C. This study 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. 

Moving In: The top inbound states of 2016 were:
  1. South Dakota
  2. Vermont
  3. Oregon
  4. Idaho
  5. South Carolina
  6. Washington
  7. District of Columbia
  8. North Carolina
  9. Nevada
  10. Arizona 

South Dakota is the most popular moving destination of 2016 with nearly 68 percent of moves to and from the state being inbound. The state has continued to climb the ranks, increasing inbound migration by 23 percent over the past five years. New to the 2016 top inbound list are South Dakota at No. 1 and Arizona at No. 10 with 68 and 57 percent inbound moves, respectively. 

Moving Out: The top outbound states for 2016 were:

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

In addition to the Northeast, Illinois (63 percent) moved up one spot on the outbound list, to no. 2, ranking in the top five for the last eight years. 

New additions to the 2016 top outbound list include Kentucky (58 percent), Utah (56 percent) and Pennsylvania (56 percent).

Balanced

Several states gained approximately the same number of residents as those that left. This list of “balanced” states includes California, New Mexico and Delaware. Delaware appeared on the balanced list for the second consecutive year. 


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About United Van Lines

United Van Lines is America’s #1 Mover®, offering 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 UnitedVanLines.com

Editor's note: If you are interested in specific information for your area, please contact Melissa Sullivan at melissa_sullivan@unigroup.com                                    

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