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The States with the Most, Least Inbound Movers


Moving firm United Van Lines has released its latest report on inter-state moving activity. The survey details which states had the highest rates of inbound moves and which states had the highest rates of outbound moves.

truck driving

People have many reasons for moving to a new state—a job offer, being closer to family, or fleeing high-cost locales.

A new survey by United Van Lines, however, found the number one reason people moved across state lines last year was retirement, with more than 25% moving to live out their golden years in a new locale.

The region welcoming the most retirees was the Mountain West, according to the company. That finding echoes a wider trend of moves to the southern and western states.

“With economic stability growing nationally, the current migration patterns reflect longer-term trends of movement to the southern and western states, especially to those where housing costs are relatively lower, climates are more temperate, and job growth has been at or above the national average, among other factors,” said Michael Stoll, an economist and professor and chair of the Department of Public Policy and the University of California, Los Angeles, in a press release.

United Van Lines’ position as one the largest moving company in the US gives it a unique position to understand which states are most sought-after by movers, and which states are losing residents. For the past several years, northeastern states have had some of the highest numbers of residents leaving for greener—and less expensive—pastures.

So which states have the most inbound movers and which states have the most outbound movers? The following is a list of the Top 5 in each category, according to United’s 38th annual National Movers Study.

States with Highest Outbound Moves

West Virginia

Total Shipments into/out of the State: 672

Percentage Inbound: 39.9%

Percentage Outbound: 60.1%

Trend: The inbound/outbound ratio is unchanged from last year, although the state improved slightly in the rankings. Last year, it had the fourth-highest rate of outbound moves.

North Dakota

North Dakota

Total Shipments into/out of the State: 950

Percentage Inbound: 39.5%

Percentage Outbound: 60.5%

Trend: North Dakota has been the subject of many a news story proclaiming it the beneficiary of an oil boom. And while that may have beckoned droves of new residents in the past (the state was in the middle of the rankings last year), North Dakota saw a significant reversal in 2014, according to United’s data.


Total Shipments into/out of the State: 9,913

Percentage Inbound: 36.6%

Percentage Outbound: 63.4%

Trend: Illinois had the highest rate of outbound movers a few years ago, but had the second-highest outbound rate for the past couple of years. This year’s outbound moving rate is actually worse than last year’s (61%), however, Illinois improves in the rankings due to the struggles of 2 other states.

New York

Total Shipments into/out of the State: 9,766

Percentage Inbound: 35.9%

Percentage Outbound: 64.1%

Trend: New York had an outbound move rate of 61% last year, but the pace of residents fleeing the state picked up in 2014, causing the Empire State to leap past Illinois.

New Jersey

Total Shipments into/out of the State: 6,172

Percentage Inbound: 35.1%

Percentage Outbound: 64.9%

Trend: New Jersey keeps its spot as the state with the highest rate of outbound moves. In fact, New Jersey has now topped the list 4 of the past 5 years.

As residents leave those states, the following 5 states have seen the highest rates of inbound movers.

States with Highest Inbound Moves


Total Shipments into/out of the State: 18,811

Percentage Inbound: 58.9%

Percentage Outbound: 41.1%

Trend: Florida saw a significant improvement in 2014. It was not in the top 5 in 2013, but proved a popular destination in 2014, besting the likes of Texas and California.


Total Shipments into/out of the State: 325

Percentage Inbound: 59.4%

Percentage Outbound: 40.6%

Trend: Vermont is also a new addition to the top 5, although the state had the smallest number of moves of any state.

North Carolina

Total Shipments into/out of the State: 10,624

Percentage Inbound: 60.5%

Percentage Outbound: 39.5%

Trend: North Carolina stays put as the third-most sought-after state for the second-straight year. It’s one of 3 southeastern states in the Top 5.

South Carolina

Total Shipments into/out of the State: 4,088

Percentage Inbound: 61.4%

Percentage Outbound: 38.6%

Trend: South Carolina bests its neighbor to the north for the second-straight year. The state’s inbound move rate increased slightly, up from 60% last year.


Total Shipments into/out of the State: 4,121

Percentage Inbound: 33.6%

Percentage Outbound: 66.4%

Trend: The winner, for the second-straight year is Oregon, which saw a significant bump in its inbound move rate, up from 61% last year.

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