Americans that moved in 2021 opted for smaller and midsized towns and cities, and Vermont, with its quaint New England towns, was a popular destination, according to United Van Lines’ annual National Movers Study released on Monday.
The Green Mountain State saw the greatest percentage of inbound migration with 74 percent of the state’s moves directed inbound.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, New Jersey saw the greatest outbound moves (for the fourth consecutive year) with 71 percent of the state’s moves outbound ones.
United Van Lines’ annual study is based on household moves the company coordinates within the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C.
Other states that saw the greatest influx of residents in 2021 included South Dakota (69 percent inbound migration), South Carolina (63 percent), West Virginia (63 percent) and Florida (62 percent). In addition to New Jersey, more residents left the following states than those who came in: Illinois (67 percent outbound migration), New York (63 percent), Connecticut (60 percent) and California (59 percent).
“This new data from United Van Lines is indicative of COVID-19’s impact on domestic migration patterns, with 2021 bringing an acceleration of moves to smaller, midsized towns and cities,” Michael A. Stoll, economist and professor of public policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in United Van Lines’ report. “We’re seeing this not only occur because of Americans’ desire to leave high density areas due to risk of infection, but also due to the transformation of how we’re able to work, with more flexibility to work remote.”
Six out of the top 10 inbound migration states of 2021 are also among the least 20 densely populated states in the U.S., the report noted.
As lifestyle choices have shifted due to the pandemic, Americans have been motivated to move in order to be closer to family, United Van Lines’ report showed. Nearly one-third of Americans who moved did so to be closer to family, while 32.5 percent of Americans moved due to work, a significant drop from the 60 percent who moved because of a job in 2015.
The moving company’s data also revealed that Gen Xers who are just beginning to retire are flocking to less densely populated cities in retiree hot spots like Florida, opting for Punta Gorda (81 percent inbound migration), Sarasota ( 79 percent inbound migration) and Fort Myers-Cape Coral (77 percent inbound migration) instead of hubs like Orlando and Miami.
“As the pandemic continues to impact our day-to-day, we’re seeing that lifestyle changes — including the increased ability to work from home — and wanting to be closer to family are key factors in why Americans are moving today,” Eily Cummings, director of corporate communications at United Van Lines, said in a statement.