Americans continue to pack up and head West and South. That’s a simple summary of results of annual survey conducted by people who know this country’s moving habits. The recently released United Van Lines’ 39th Annual National Movers Study tracks the moving company’s state-to-state customer migration patterns over the past year. For 2015, the study is based on household moves handled by United within the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C.

  • United Van Lines' study of where it moved people last year favored the West and South.
  • Four Western states lead the places of where people move, and five states were in the South.
  • The company has tallied patterns in where it moves people since 1977.

Americans continue to pack up and head West and South.

That’s a simple summary of results of annual survey conducted by people who know this country’s moving habits.

The recently released United Van Lines’ 39th Annual National Movers Study tracks the moving company’s state-to-state customer migration patterns over the past year.

For 2015, the study is based on household moves handled by United within the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C.

For the third consecutive year, Oregon holds on to the no. 1 spot as the place the company moves people to. There were four Western states on the list.

Florida was no. 6 on the inbound list, one of four Southern states on the top inbound list– five if DC is considered a Southern state.

In the Southern states, 53 percent of United’s moves were inbound. Using separate customer research, the company found that most people who move to the South do so for a job, retirement or to be close to to family.

Where are the most people moving from? The Northeast. The two states with what United calls a moving deficit are New Jersey, with 67 percent of the movers going to other states, and New York, with 65 percent of moves in the same direction.

The only exception to that rule is Vermont, which made the greater number of inbound movers side of the list.

Michael Stoll, economist, professor and chair of the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles said in a statement that these results are more of the same migration patterns that have been seen for many years.

“The aging boomer population is driving relocation from the Northeast and Midwest to the West and South, as more and more people retire to warmer regions,” he said in a statement.

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The top states that people moved to in 2015 were:

  1. Oregon
  2. South Carolina
  3. Vermont
  4. Idaho
  5. North Carolina
  6. Florida
  7. Nevada
  8. District of Columbia
  9. Texas
  10. Washington

The top states that people left in 2015 were:

  1. New Jersey
  2. New York
  3. Illinois
  4. Connecticut
  5. Ohio
  6. Kansas
  7. Massachusetts
  8. West Virginia
  9. Mississippi
  10. Maryland

United classifies states as high inbound if 55 percent or more of the moves are going into a state, high outbound if 55 percent or more moves were coming out of a state or balanced if the difference between inbound and outbound is negligible.  

“For nearly 40 years, we’ve been tracking which states people are moving to and from, and we’ve also recently started surveying our customers to understand why they are making these moves across state lines,” said Melissa Sullivan, director of marketing communications at United Van Lines, in a statement.

“Because of United Van Lines’ position as the nation’s largest household goods mover, our data is reflective of national migration trends.”

Email Kimberley Sirk.

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