Wondering Where People Moved in 2022? Check out the Top 10 States to Move to Based on United Van Lines Data
Looking for a new state to call home or just curious where people moved? United Van Lines 46th Annual National Movers Study is here to help!
Taking a close look how Americans are moving, we review our data from both outbound moves and inbound moves to determine migration patterns happening across the country.
The past year has revealed some interesting trends, as people nationwide reprioritized what matters to them, grappled with inflation and made moves for meaningful, life-affirming reasons, whether it was to be closer to loved ones or to enjoy a lifestyle they once only dreamed of.
Taking a look back at last year’s United Van Lines 2021 Annual National Movers Study — as well as its companion survey about motivational drivers — there were some interesting trends we continue to see. For one thing, there was a notable decline in those who moved for a new job or job transfer year-over- year between 2018 and 2021.
Although in 2022 United Van Lines did see a slight increase in those making long-distance moves for a job transfer (33.3%) compared to last year (32.5%), that percentage hasn’t come close to the 41.7% seen in 2020 — or the 49.2% of those who moved for job reasons in 2019. Look back even further and those numbers stood at 51.4% in 2018 and 60.1% in 2015. Overall, job transfer-related moves are down more than 21 points compared to 2015, in part due to pandemic-fueled remote work. Although there has been some potential stabilization from pre-pandemic numbers, odds are this overall trajectory will continue.
The study and its accompanying survey, which examines the motivations and influences for Americans’ interstate moves, also revealed an “if not now, when?” mentality as more Americans from the Baby Boomer generation moved than any other age group. Last year, those aged 55 and older — a demographic that includes the oldest Gen Xers — accounted for more than 50 percent of all inbound United Van Lines moves in 2022.
Interestingly, the overall number of people who moved to be closer to family increased a bit, (32.4% of moves in 2022, compared to 31.8% in 2021). But let’s take a look at those who cited this reason by demographic: 13.66% (18-34,) 19.92% (35-44), 22.04% (45-54),32.84% (55-64) and 32.46% (65-plus).
Not surprisingly given the current state of inflation, financial reasons also factored into the drivers for moving in 2022. So, states like South Carolina (14.3%), North Carolina (10.28%), Delaware (16.7%), South Dakota (29.2%) and Alabama (14.5%) proved enticing. Looking at those numbers nationally overall, it was those age 55-64 who appear most impacted by cost of living (10.21%), followed by respondents ages 45-54 (9.47%).
Ready to discover the states that were the biggest draw?
According to our moving trends data, below are the top states people were moving to and moving from in 2022:
Top States People Moved To*:
- Vermont (77%)
- Oregon (67%)
- Rhode Island (66%)
- South Carolina (61%)
- Delaware (60.7%)
- North Carolina (60.5%)
- District of Columbia (59%)
- South Dakota (58.5%)
- New Mexico (58.3%)
- Alabama (58%)
Top States People Moved From*:
- New Jersey (67%)
- Illinois (64%)
- New York (62%)
- Michigan (58%)
- Wyoming (57%)
- Pennsylvania (56.7%)
- Massachusetts (56.5%)
- Nebraska (56.3%)
- Louisiana (56%)
- California (56%)
[*Percentages are based on total moves for that state. For example, 77% of moves in Vermont were inbound, so 23% were outbound to make 100%.]
What Makes These States So Popular?
We took a peek into each of the top five states to find out.
With an inbound moving rate of 77% and an outbound move rate of only 23%, Vermont had the highest percentage of inbound moves in 2022.
Over the past year, 39.55% of movers cite a job transfer or new job opportunity as the reason for moving to the state of Vermont. Next up? A substantial 38.44% relocated to be closer to those near and dear. Adding to its appeal are the state’s relatively low cost of living, stunning outdoor experiences, thrill-filled skiing or straight-up coziness. As an added appeal, employers in Vermont are dedicated to their social and environmental impact, making the state an affirming place to work.
As for those wanting to start a family, Vermont has made maternity and paternity leave mandatory for most businesses. The state is also very safe, with a crime rate of almost 50% lower than the United States average.
It’s no wonder the Green Mountain State is so inviting to movers. Between its beautiful four-season display and its many lakeside communities, new Vermonters find themselves immersed in a setting that accommodates all interests — especially those who favor year-round outdoor activities.
As the second most popular state to move to in 2022, the state of Oregon brought in 67% of inbound moves in 2022. It’s no wonder since the state packs a punch when it comes to pros. Of those surveyed, 13.88% did so for retirement; 16.73% moved to be closer to family; and 15.51% relocated to Oregon for lifestyle reasons. The biggest reason for moving to Oregon, though, was for work (51.02%).
So, what are the benefits to living in Oregon?
For one thing, there’s no general sales tax — on anything, including big ticket items like computers, appliances, clothing and furniture.
Then there’s the matter of the great outdoors. From mountains and volcanoes to rugged coastline, high desert, glaciers, massive redwoods, and more federally designated wild and scenic segments of river than any other state, adventures abound. Meanwhile, cyclists rejoice over the nation’s most bike-friendly city, Portland, which sports over 350 miles of bike lanes. Not to be overlooked, Oregon is also home to Crater Lake National Park, its eponymous water body is the result of Mount Mazama’s collapse.
Beyond its incredible scenery and ample recreational opportunities, Oregon also boasts fantastic breweries, award-wining wineries and a chill vibe overall, especially along the seashore, where sea stacks and sea caves lend intrigue.
Of course, practicalities matter, too. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate sat at 4.4% in November 2022. Though slightly higher than the national average of 3.9%, it’s important to put this in perspective since the state’s unemployment rate reached a record high of 13.3% in April 2020 and a record low of 3.4% in November 2019. Meanwhile, the crime rate in the state has steadily declined over the last several years.
The bottom line? The Beaver State affords plenty of life-enriching activities during down time, while promoting a good quality of life overall.
The smallest of the U.S. states, Rhode Island packs a punch with historic architecture, noteworthy museums and galleries, and more than 400 miles of coastline fringed by white-sand beaches. From its sleepy, seaside colonial villages to its lush countryside blanketed with vineyards and berry farms, there’s a lot to love.
Not surprisingly given Little Rhody’s coastal setting, welcoming people and inviting provisions, 15.63% of moves to the state were for retirement. Accordingly, 12.5% felt Rhode Island offered a sought-after lifestyle change. While not an inexpensive state to live in, the cost of living is slightly lower than neighboring New England states. Plus, Rhode Island has a low personal income tax, with rates ranging from 3.75% to 5.99%.
While retirement income and Social Security benefits in Rhode Island are taxable for taxpayers with income that surpasses specific limits, the state does allow taxpayers a high personal deduction. However, it is also among the few states to collect its own estate tax.
Despite Rhode Island’s retirement-friendly incentives, it turns out just 9.09% moved here to retire. Ultimately, 27.27% of respondents move to Rhode Island to be closer to loved ones, surpassed only by the number of people who came to the state for work purposes (48.48%).
With the state’s peaceful coastal scenery and rich history, South Carolina has become one of the top states to move to in 2022, accounting for 61% of inbound moves. Of those who made the move, 38.7% of whom did so for retirement. The world-renowned golf courses and beachside retirement homes make South Carolina an easy choice for retirees.
And while 28.57% of respondents now live in the Palmetto State to be closer to loved ones, only 20.54% did so for work. Overall, people didn’t move here for work as much as they did to relax.
With that in mind, 25.89% mentioned lifestyle reasons as a motivator to move. Offering a moss-draped setting filled with old-growth trees; rolling mountains; wide, palm-fringed beaches; mysterious black-water swamps; and elegant mansions that have stood the test of time, South Carolina has a singular, stately — and sometimes spooky — vibe. Other draws come in the form of breathtaking, vacay-ready barrier islands; West African cultural traditions; beautiful green spaces; and historic sites, such as the Fort Sumter National Monuments.
Then there’s South Carolina’s cost of living to consider: It’s below the national average, a draw for 14.29% of those surveyed. To learn more about South Carolina, check out our state guide.
Interestingly, Delaware (at 60.7%), North Carolina (at 60.5%) and New Mexico (at 58.3%) are first timers on the study’s top 10 list of inbound states in 2022.
The nation’s second-smallest state, Delaware is just 96 miles long and 35 miles across at its widest point. Much like its fellow New Englander, Rhode Island, the state brims with natural beauty, from its scenic coastline to its quaint colonial villages and rambling countryside dotted with chicken farms.
A tax-friendly place for retirees (understandably accounting for 39.58% of moves), the First State is one of five states with no state or local sales tax. Add that to the fact there are no taxes on Social Security benefits and there is a $12,500 exclusion for retirement income (such as pensions) for those over 60.
In line with the findings in other states, over one-third of moves brought customers closer to family. But job transfers? Not so much — they accounted for just 14.58% of Delaware’s relocations.
Featuring stunning beaches — including entertainment-friendly Rehoboth, charming Bethany and dunes-laden Cape Henlopen among them — and proximity to cities like Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington, D.C., lifestyle changes in no small part fueled respondents’ decision to move, accounting for 33.33% of those surveyed.
Where Are You Moving From?
With new job opportunities, closer family connections and retirement on the horizon, people are moving from state-to-state.
No matter where you currently call home, United Van Lines can help make any of these — or other — U.S. states your new home. As a full-service moving company, we have agents located across the country. For long-distance, cross-country moves, our movers can also help with not just transporting your items, but also packing and storage.
Or maybe you’re not sold on leaving your state just yet but want to move to a different city. Our interstate agents can also independently help move locally under their own businesses and names with the quality of the United Van Lines brand.