2007 United Van Lines Migration Study

Great Lakes Region sees more people leaving; West, Southeast welcome residents according to 2007 United Van Lines Migration Study.

Jan 2, 2008 – Movement out of the Great Lakes region increased in 2007, while the South and West generally showed an inbound migration trend. The statistics are among the findings of United Van Lines’ 31st annual “migration” study that tracks where its customers, over the last 12 months, moved from and the most popular destinations. The findings were announced by Carl Walter, vice president of United Van Lines, the nation’s largest household goods mover.

United has tracked shipment patterns annually on a state-by-state basis since 1977. For 2007, the accounting isbased on the 212,917 interstate household moves handled by United among the 48 contiguous states, as well as Washington, D.C. In its study, United classifies each state in one of three categories — “high inbound” (55% or more of moves going into a state); “high outbound” (55% or more of moves coming out of a state); or “balanced.” Although the majority of states were in the “balanced” category last year, several showed more substantial population shifts.

Moving In

The South emerged as a top migration spot in 2007, with North Carolina coming in as the top destination (61.6% inbound). Alabama (57.9%) experienced its fifth year as a high-inbound location, while South Carolina (57.8%) continued its 14-year inbound tradition. West Virginia (55.7%) witnessed its highest inbound percentage since 1993, and Tennessee, with 55.1%, rounded out the high-inbound list for the South.

Although not considered “high inbound,” other Southern states also greeted new residents. Kentucky (53.0%) continued its six-year inbound trend; Georgia (52.3%) continued its 26-year trend as an inbound state; Mississippi (50.1%) saw the same inbound percentage as it did in 2006; and Florida (50.1%) returned to being an inbound state after witnessing increased departures last year.

The Western portion of the country also was a popular destination spot. Capturing the No. 2 inbound ranking, Nevada (59.4%) continued its high-inbound trend that began in 1986. Oregon (58.4%) sustained its 20-year, high-inbound trend, and Arizona (55.8%) maintained its six-year position on the high-inbound list. Wyoming (57.2%) boasted a 2.8% increase over last year’s percentage, and South Dakota (57.4%) continued its two-year, high-inbound trend.

Although not considered “high inbound,” other Western states witnessed an influx of residents. Colorado (53.8% inbound) continued its five-year inbound trend, and Montana (53.1% inbound) retained its six-year inbound status. Utah (53.5% inbound) saw a slight decrease (2.5%) as compared to last year, and Idaho (54.3%), which was high-inbound for 19 consecutive years, had fewer people move in than move out.

Rounding out the high-inbound list is Washington, D.C. (58.5%), which has remained inbound since the inception of the study.

Some other noteworthy inbound-migration states in 2007:

  • Texas (54.4%) continued its inbound movement that began in 1989.
  • After showing a three-year outbound trend, Louisiana (50.1% inbound) turned a new leaf and saw more people move into the state.
  • Vermont (54.9%) continued its three-year inbound pattern, and Virginia (51.6%) stayed strong with its 12-year inbound trend.

Moving Out

States in the Great Lakes region generally showed an outbound trend, according to United’s records. Ranked No. 1 on the high-outbound list last year, Michigan (67.8%) once again captured the top outbound spot.

Other Great Lakes states that made the high-outbound list were: New York (59.4%), which has been an outbound state since the survey was established; Indiana (56.4%), which has been high outbound since 1993; and Illinois (57.6%), which has been high outbound since the survey’s inception. Also continuing outbound traditions, Pennsylvania (56.6%, high outbound for the past four years), and Ohio (57.0%, outbound since 1992) saw residents depart.

Rounding out the high-outbound states, North Dakota (67.2%) marked its 12th consecutive year as a high-outbound state, and New Jersey (61.0%) continued its outbound trend that began in 1997.

Not identified as “high outbound,” but following the outbound trend in the Great Lakes part of the country, Wisconsin (54.6%) witnessed more people leaving the state, a trend that has continued since the inception of the study.

Some other noteworthy outbound states in this year’s study were:

  • California (50.8%) saw its lowest outbound percentage in five years.
  • Missouri (51.4%) continued its 13-year outbound trend.
  • Maine (50.1%) witnessed its lowest outbound influx since 2001.
  • Maryland (54.1%) retained its 16-year outbound tradition.
  • Oklahoma (53.9%), outbound since 1998, continued to see more people leave than move into the state.

Walter said the United Van Lines study, through the years, has been shown to accurately reflect the general migration patterns in various regions of the country. He also noted that real estate firms, financial institutions, and other observers of relocation trends regularly use the United data in their business planning and analysis activities.

About United

United Van Lines, with headquarters in suburban St. Louis, maintains a network of 1,000 affiliated agencies throughout the world. As the nation’s largest mover, United holds more than 30 percent of the market, which is nearly double the market share of the second largest carrier. More information about United and its services can be obtained through the company’s Web site at unitedc.wpenginepowered.com.


Attached, for your reference, is a listing of total shipments by United Van Lines in each state, including a breakdown of inbound and outbound shipments by number and percentage, as well as a map showing migration trends for each state.


For more information on United or if you are a member of the press and have questions/comments, please email our Director of Communications: Eily_Cummings@unigroup.com