2009 United Van Lines Migration Study

Jan 4, 2010 – The entire Western region continued to witness tremendous growth in 2009, with six states capturing high-inbound move rankings. The findings are among the results of United Van Lines’ 33rd annual “migration” study, which tracks where its customers moved from and the most popular destinations over the past 12 months. The findings were announced today 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 2009, the study is based on the 143,194 interstate household moves handled by United among the 48 contiguous states and Washington D.C. United classifies the states as “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.”

Moving In

In 2009, the District of Columbia (67.8%) maintained its reign as the top destination in the United States for the second year in a row. While North Carolina (55.4%) was the only other Mid-Atlantic state to experience high-inbound growth, the state did fall in the migration study rankings, from the No. 3 high-inbound ranking in 2008 to the No. 10 spot in 2009. In the Western region, six states captured high-inbound rankings. Oregon (58.9%) came in second and celebrated 22 consecutive years of high-inbound migration, while Nevada (57.2%) ranked fourth and celebrated 24 years of high-inbound migration. In addition, Wyoming (56.3%) maintained its position from 2008 as fifth on the high-inbound list. Idaho (56.1%) and Colorado (56.0%) made their debut on the high-inbound list, ranking sixth and seventh, respectively. New Mexico (55.5%) held its own as the only Southwest state on the high-inbound list this year. In the South, Arkansas (57.7%) rose to No. 3 on 2009’s list of highest inbound states. Both Georgia(55.6%) and Texas (55.4%) also made the inbound list, after just missing the top 10 in 2008. Most Southern states transitioned from high-inbound to more balanced migration statistics in 2009.

Moving Out

The historical data pulled from United’s migration study over the past 33 years shows an ongoing outbound trend for the Great Lakes region. Michigan (68.0%) once again captured the No. 1 spot, a title held since 2006. Indiana(57.5%) also earned the distinction of being a high-outbound state, continuing a 16-year trend. Other Great Lakes states that made the high-outbound list include Illinois (58.2%, ranked No. 2 on the list), Wisconsin (56.3%) and Minnesota (56.5%). Four Northeastern states round out this year’s high-outbound list. New Jersey (58.1%) ranked third in high-outbound states, continuing a trend that started in 1988. Pennsylvania (57.4%) came in fifth on the outbound list, an improvement over its No. 4 ranking in 2008, followed by Maine (55.6%) and New Hampshire (55.2%). North Dakota (57.0%) fell from its No. 2 ranking in 2008 to No. 6 on the high-outbound states list in 2009, with the number of outbound moves decreasing by about two percentage points.


While the majority of states are considered balanced, this year’s study revealed that six states achieved a near-perfect balance, gaining approximately the same number of residents as were lost. Those states include Massachusetts and Maryland in the Northeast region, Missouri and Nebraska in the Midwest, and California and Utah in the Western region. 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 professionals who regularly observe relocation trends use the United data in business planning and economic analyses.

About United

United Van Lines, with headquarters in suburban St. Louis, is one of the nation’s largest household goods movers and maintains a network of 1,000 affiliated agencies in 135 countries.

Editor’s Note

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