Oregon Ranks as Top Destination

USA, Oregon, Portland, man with bicycle looking at skyline over river

Each year, more than 40 million Americans move to a new location. A promise of jobs and proximity to family top the list of reasons why, but could social factors be starting to play a bigger role?

For the third straight year, Oregon tops the list of inbound moves from the United Van Lines 39th Annual National Movers Study, and it’s easy to see why. Industries like creative design and technology are booming, and places like Portland and Eugene have plenty for residents to enjoy.

“This year’s data reflects longer-term trends of people moving to the Pacific West, where cities such as Portland and Seattle are seeing the combination of a boom in the technology and creative marketing industry, as well as a growing ‘want’ for outdoor activity and green space,” said Michael Stoll, economist, professor and chair of the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. “In the past, you could clearly see the job-related reasoning. This year, people are moving for social reasons rather than economic reasons.”

Top 5 Inbound States - 1 Oregon, 2 South Caroline, 3 Vermont, 4 Idaho, 5 North Caroline

As we found last year, older generations are drawn to the high walkability scores, affordable housing and beautiful green space. Portland falls into rare USDA Zone 8, providing plenty of room for gardens and greenhouses. For those retiring without a pension, the low cost of living in Oregon is key. For the younger generations, the progressive-minded state offers biking trails, breweries and farmers markets galore, according to moving site Movoto.

Of course, there are plenty of jobs to be had, too. According to a report from Oregon Life, local employers have added more than 50,000 jobs from June 2014 to June 2015. Areas like Portland are attracting Millennials with dreams of entrepreneurship and profit in a growing technology arena. Sportswear companies Nike and Columbia Sportswear call Oregon home, and residents enjoy a no-sales tax policy throughout the state, driving the cost of living down.

“The three characteristics of movers are that they’re younger, highly educated, and moving for economic reasons,” said Stoll.

This new breed of movers seems to be calling the Pacific West home, including Oregon, California, Washington, Hawaii and Alaska. In the United Van Lines 39th Annual National Movers Study, 51 percent of respondents headed to the Pacific West for a new job or company transfer, while another 13 percent moved for a change in lifestyle.