COVID-19 Moving Trends and Data Insights


Concern for personal and family health and well-being cited as top reason for moving among those who relocated amid COVID-19 pandemic

ST. LOUIS – Oct. 6, 2020 – United Van Lines, the nation’s largest household goods mover, today announced new findings about customer moving motivations and patterns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings, determined from a post-move customer survey conducted between March and August 2020, revealed the leading contributing factors in customers’ decisions to move and indicated that the pandemic’s influence on their decisions has increased over time.

Among customers who cited COVID-19 as an influence on their move, the top four most common factors associated with COVID-19 were:

  1. Concerns for personal and family health and wellbeing;
  2. Desires to be closer to family;
  3. Changes in employment status or work arrangement (including the ability to work remotely);  
  4. Desires for lifestyle change or improvement of quality of life.

Additionally, the survey found that movers influenced by COVID-19 were more likely to expedite their move (64%) than movers not influenced by the pandemic (9.6%).

“As the nation’s largest mover of household goods, United Van Lines’ customer migration data distinctively signals broader national moving trends,” said United Van Lines CEO Marc Rogers. “Our data provides valuable insights into what tens of thousands of Americans are experiencing and considering when moving in 2020.”

Verbatim testimonials from individual customers further solidify the challenges and changes in priorities for moving brought on by the pandemic. One customer shared, “The slower pace of life brought on by COVID-19 caused us to re-evaluate what was important to our family. We wanted to be closer to our extended family and friends.” Another said, “I could not find a job where I was because many places were not hiring due to COVID. I had to expand my search to out of state.”

And others are taking advantage of remote working making it easier to move. As one customer said, “Given the remote environment and projected vision of remote working condition, our family opted to move out of the city to a beach location with a smaller footprint and less stressful (and) busy community.” Additional verbatim customer testimonials can be found on the United Van Lines website.

According to the findings, there was an overall nationwide decline in moving requests from March to May 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. In particular, interstate move requests were lower in March 2020 (26% decrease) and April 2020 (31% decrease) than 2019 data. However, moving interest in September 2020 is notably higher than the previous year (32% increase) — indicating a shifting peak moving season, which typically occurs in late spring and early summer.  

The findings also revealed higher outbound move requests from New York City and San Francisco as compared to nationwide averages. While outbound move requests from New York were down 1% from the national average in April 2020, outbound interest from the state jumped to 55% above the average in May 2020. At the end of August 2020, outbound move requests from New York were 52% higher than the national average. In San Francisco, outbound move requests have steadily increased from 3% above the national average in July 2020 to 128% by the beginning of September.

“In the past several months, United Van Lines has not only seen shifting moving patterns due to the pandemic, but also listened to our customers to better understand their moving motivations and meet their needs throughout the moving process,” said Rogers. “We are committed to ensuring the safety of each of our moving customers, which is why we provide options to our customers such as virtual surveys and containerized moves through our Snapmoves program.”  

From March to August 2020, the top outbound states, defined by the highest percentages of moves where COVID was a contributing factor in leaving the state, were the following:

  1. Washington, D.C.
  2. New York
  3. Nevada
  4. Oregon
  5. Delaware
  6. California
  7. Minnesota
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Florida
  10. Washington

The top inbound states — those where COVID was a contributing factor in choosing to migrate to the state — were:

  1. Vermont
  2. North Dakota
  3. Connecticut
  4. Montana
  5. Michigan
  6. Arkansas
  7. Oregon
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Ohio
  10. Utah

UniGroup, parent company of United Van Lines, continuously fields a post-move survey with customers within five days following their move. The findings shared here are drawn from data collected among more than 6,000 United Van Lines and Mayflower customers who moved between March 1 – August 31, 2020.


About United Van Lines

United Van Lines is able to offer a full range of moving solutions. With headquarters in suburban St. Louis, United Van Lines maintains a network of 300 affiliated agencies. United Van Lines is America’s #1 Mover®.