Top States People Moved To and From in 2019

See Full Movers Study for 2019
It’s that time of the year again! We’ve just released the 2019 United Van Lines’ 43rd Annual National Movers Study. Based on shipment numbers this year, we have compiled a list of the top 10 states people moved to and moved from throughout 2019. Of course, where people move to or from is only part of the story.

Why people are moving is just as important and, based on our data, the top reasons for moving include:

1. New job opportunity or company transfer (47.98%) 2. Closer to family (23.66%) 3. Retirement (20.15%) 4. Lifestyle change (13.08%) Similar to last year’s study, the top four reasons haven’t changed, and the western part of the US dominated the top five destinations with four out of the top five belonging to Idaho, Oregon, Arizona, and Washington. The only state in the top five destinations from the east coast this year, belonged to South Carolina. These moving reasons and the overall state-to-state migration patterns are researched and reported on in our annual National Movers Study and its accompanying survey. See below for the top 10 states people moved to and from and more on the most popular states for relocation in 2019.

Top 10 states people moved to:

#1. Idaho (67.4%) #2. Oregon (65.7%) #3. Arizona (63.2%) #4. South Carolina (61.8%) #5. Washington (59.5%) #6. District of Columbia (59.3%) #7. Florida (58.1%) #8. South Dakota (57.4%) #9. North Carolina (57.3%) #10. New Mexico (56.1%)

Top 10 states people moved from:

#1. New Jersey (68.5%) #2. Illinois (66.5%) #3. New York (63.1%) #4. Connecticut (63.0%) #5. Kansas (58.5%) #6. Ohio (57.8%) #7. California (56.9%) #8. Michigan (56.9%) #9. North Dakota (55.2%) #10. Iowa (55.0%) [*Percentages are based on total moves for that state. For example, 67.4% of moves in Idaho were inbound, so 32.6% were outbound to make 100%.]

To figure out why these states made the top five destination spots, we took a closer look.


The Gem State ranks high for people looking for a change of pace. With its vast wilderness and limitless outdoor activities, people looking to live a slower, quieter lifestyle find Idaho a perfect match. This year, Idaho jumped two spots and lands itself the number one inbound state for 2019, with inbound moves accounting for 67.4% of the total moves. Older audiences continue to have an increased interest in the state. The leading reason people moved to Idaho in 2019 was retirement – 36% of moves to be exact – with most movers to Idaho aged between 55 and 74 years old. Idaho is also attractive to those looking for a lifestyle change. Approximately 21% of people relocating to Idaho stated this was their reason to move.  


The diverse landscapes and quirky cultures of the Pacific Northwest continued to entice movers in 2019. For the second consecutive year, Oregon ranked second nationally for moves at 66%. Of these moves, the most popular reasons people relocated were for a company transfer or new job opportunity (45%) and to be closer to family (22%). Oregon is popular amongst younger and older generations of people as it was the top inbound state for people between 18 to 34 years old and, according to our data, 41% of all movers to the state were of the Baby Boomer generation, aged between 55 and 74 years old For those looking for new jobs, there’s no question why Oregon is a great place to work, as its economy continues to be one of best in the nation. Job growth over this past year outpaced the national average, and its unemployment rate reached an historic low. While a lot of this has to do with Oregon being historically strong in advertising and marketing jobs, it’s worth noting  the state has seen recent job growth in technology and manufacturing as well.


Arizona, with its warm climate and beautiful scenery, is tempting for those looking to relocate. This year, Arizona ranked strongly for retirement (36%), job opportunities (33%), and lifestyle change (23%). From hiking on mountains, golfing in Scottsdale, or great weather year-round, it’s no wonder that the reasons people are moving to Arizona vary so well across the board.  

South Carolina

South Carolina is one of the few states left with charming historic areas like Charleston, beautifully preserving time. Perhaps it’s the charm that makes this state rank consistently in the top 10 places to move to and why this past year 40% of people who moved to South Carolina in 2019 did so for retirement. Highlighted by beautiful beaches and small islands, this state makes your dream retirement destination a reality by regularly ranking below average for cost of living in the U.S. Others noted moving to the state for work (35%), with some of the SC’s top industries including aerospace, technology, agribusiness, manufacturing and automotive. Almost 20% of people (19%) moved to South Carolina for a lifestyle change in 2019. Perhaps movers wanted to experience all that its historic towns had to offer or to head to some of the infamous islands like Isle of Palms, Folly Beach or Sullivan’s Island on the weekends. Regardless of the reasons people are moving there, we don’t see South Carolina leaving the top 10 anytime soon.  


After hanging just outside the top five of inbound states for the last two years, Washington has finally vaulted into the top five. Washington sits in the Pacific Northwest region, offering a desirable, low-humidity climate and key staples like temperate rainforests, mountain ranges, semi-arid basin regions, islands, deep-fjords and bays carved out by glaciers. Washington’s top employment industries have a hand in the influx of inbound moves (49%) resulting from company and job transfers. Key sectors of the state include agriculture, clean technology, information and communications and life sciences/global health. The state’s comeuppance may be related to it being one of the first states in the U.S. to legalize medical and recreational cannabis use and same-sex marriage, since 14% of people are moving inbound to Washington for a change in lifestyle. Being closer to family accounted for 24% of inbound moves.

What About Vermont?

Of course, we can’t ignore Vermont. While the Green Mountain State had a large percentage of inbound moves in our study, the small state’s overall shipment numbers make it difficult to compare it directly to other states in the top 10. So, while we are sure Vermont is a lovely place to live, we did not include them in our top inbound states this year. With that, the 2019 Movers Study is a wrap, but be on the lookout for future articles digging more into the research and uncovering trends from this past year that may hold the key to migration movement into 2020 and beyond!

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