Moving Tips & Resources

Movers Study: The Top 10 States Americans Moved To and From in 2022

“The antidote to exhaustion isn’t rest. It’s nature.” – Shikoba.

That quote resonated with Americans who moved last year, seeking respite from years of pandemic and economic concerns.

According to United Van Lines 46th Annual National Movers Study , people moving in 2022 were drawn to more remote areas with easy access to the outdoors, as well as cities on or near the coast.

Americans are still determined to make their move and find their perfect “forever” home.

Every year, United Van Lines keeps track of the company’s exclusive metrics for its customers’ state-to-state migration patterns, pairing it with a customer survey that examines motivations and influences for interstate moves.

This year, the data concluded that the top and bottom states for American migration were:

  • Vermont, seeing the highest percentage of inbound migration (77%) for the second consecutive year
  • For the fifth consecutive year, the study found that more residents moved out of New Jersey than any other state
  • 67% of New Jersey moves were outbound, which is down from the five-year trend of 70%

The study also looks at generational shifts in motivations for moving, and concluded that more Baby Boomers and Gen Xers relocating than any other age group last year. Those aged 55 and older accounted for more than half of all inbound United Van Lines moves in 2022 at 55%.

The survey also shows the top motivations for inbound moves included:

  • Retirement (20%)
  • A new job or company transfer (33%)
  • A desire to be closer to family (35%)

Although that 33% of people who made a long-distance move for a job transfer in 2022 was an increase compared to 2021’s 32.5%, that percentage hasn’t come close to the 41.7% seen in 2020 — or the 49.2% of those who moved for job reasons in 2019.

Look back even further, and those numbers stood at 51.4% in 2018 and 60.1% in 2015. Overall, job transfer-related moves are down more than 21 points since 2015, in part due to pandemic-fueled remote work.

The overall number of people who moved to be closer to family increased a bit in 2022 (32.4% of moves last year, compared to 31.8% in 2021). But looking closer at the demographics for that statistic, the greatest portion falls to those 55 and older: 13.66% (18-34,) 19.92% (35-44), 22.04% (45-54),32.84% (55-64) and 32.46% (65-plus).

Top states people moved to

All in all, the top inbound states of 2022 were:

  1. Vermont (77%)
  2. Oregon (67%)
  3. Rhode Island (66%)
  4. South Carolina (61%)
  5. Delaware (60.7%)
  6. North Carolina (60.5%)
  7. Washington, D.C. (59%)
  8. South Dakota (58.5%
  9. New Mexico (58.3%)
  10. Alabama (58%)

Notably, the Northeast claims three spots out of the top 10. Southeastern states also continued to see a high percentage of moves, as they have in past surveys, including South CarolinaNorth Carolina and Alabama.

“Key factors like retirement, wanting to be closer to family and lifestyle changes influenced by the pandemic along with current housing prices drove moving patterns in 2022,” Michael A. Stoll, economist and professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, said when weighing in on the survey.

He continued, “The United Van Lines study encompasses data that Americans are now moving from bigger to smaller cities, mostly in the South, some in the West, but even an increase of migration to the Northeast, which has not been typical. We’re also seeing younger Millennials migrating to vibrant, metropolitan economies, like Washington, D.C. and Portland, Oregon.”

New to the list, Delaware, North Carolina and New Mexico joined the list of top 10 inbound states in 2022, rounding out the list. Retirement was cited by those moving to Delaware and New Mexico as the primary motivation for moving to the states.

What is happening with people moving to and from Texas?

The great state of Texas, where Daryl Flood has been moving families to and from for over 40 years, fell in the upper middle of the pack, with a total inbound population of 54.3%, and a total outbound of 45.7%

When it comes to the primary reason for moving into Texas, people cited as a motivation:

  • Job (43%)
  • Family (31%)
  • Lifestyle (14%)
  • Retirement (14%)
  • Cost (9%)
  • Health (7%)

People moving out of Texas cited some of those same reasons – 41% moving away from the Lonestar state for a job, 30% moving for family reasons, and 16% for retirement.

Speaking of retirement, age ranges also play a factor in moving, with those inbound to Texas being:

  • <18 to 34 (15%)
  • 35 to 44 (20%)
  • 45 to 54 (24%)
  • 55 to 64 (21%)
  • 65 or older (24%)

Those moving out of Texas in 2022 were:

  • <18 to 34 (16%)
  • 35 to 44 (18%)
  • 45 to 54 (19%)
  • 55 to 64 (24%)
  • 65 or older (24%)

With the current uncertainty about the economy, income can’t be ignored as a factor either – those who made over $150,000 were both the largest inbound and outbound group from Texas:

Inbound:

  • $0 to $49,999 (5%)
  • $50,000 to $74,999 (4%)
  • $75,000 to $99,999 (12%)
  • $100,000 to $149,999 (26%)
  • $150,000 or more (53%)

Outbound:

  • $0 to $49,999 (4%)
  • $50,000 to $74,999 (7%)
  • $75,000 to $99,999 (12%)
  • $100,000 to $149,999 (25%)
  • $150,000 or more (52%)

When it comes to the top states people moved away from, Texas also fell in the middle range at 45.7%, with the highest being New Jersey, which has held steady at the top spot since 2018.

Top states people moved from:

  1. New Jersey (67%)
  2. Illinois (64%)
  3. New York (62%)
  4. Michigan (58%)
  5. Wyoming (57%)
  6. Pennsylvania (56.7%)
  7. Massachusetts (56.5%)
  8. Nebraska (56.3%)
  9. Louisiana (56%)
  10. California (56%)

Wyoming and Pennsylvania joined the list of top 10 outbound states last year, with people listing moving for a new job or company transfer as their top reason for moving out of those states.

The study gives weight to the idea that Americans are moving from expensive cities to lower-density, more affordable regions near the coast.

This trend shows most clearly in the top cities people are relocating to, which while they are coastal cities, remain affordable areas. 60% of the top inbound markets in 2022 are seaside cities:

Top 10 inbound cities:

  • Wilmington, NC (81%)
  • Bellingham, WA (73.2%)
  • Santa Fe, NM (73%)
  • Myrtle Beach, SC (72%)
  • Punta Gorda, FL (71.6%)
  • Flagstaff, AZ (71.4%)
  • Sarasota-Bradenton, FL (71%)
  • State College, PA (70%)
  • Eugene-Springfield, OR (69%)
  • Fort Myers-Cape Coral, FL (69%)
  • Notably, Wilmington, North Carolina, and Punta Gorda, Florida, ranked in the top inbound markets for three consecutive years.

What cities are people moving away from?

The outbound cities of 2022 were largely on the East Coast — the first four, in fact: Hagerstown, Maryland (81%); Nassau-Suffolk, New York (78%); Poughkeepsie, New York (76%); and Bergen-Passaic, New Jersey (76%).

Narrowing it down to cities people moved to in 2022 shows a clear picture that coastal cities, along with locations featuring outdoorsy, lifestyle-driven amenities, continue to draw new residents. It seems to continue to be true regardless of locations’ proximity to potential natural disasters or the realities and potential impacts of climate change.

A desire to be close to and connect with nature appears to be reigning high in American’s minds as they look for their next step. Is this a trend we could see in Texas migration as well? People eschewing larger cities like Dallas or Houston in favor of wide-open spaces or coastal communities?

Let us know where you’re moving next! Reach out to Daryl Flood about a local, long-distance or international move, or learn more about United’s 2022 Movers Study .