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45+ Moving Trends in The United States [2022 Report]

From big cities to rural areas, mountain climates to beach weather, the United States is large and geographically diverse, offering something for everyone. It’s no surprise that millions of Americans move from one place to another each year. If you’ve ever wondered where, why, or how Americans move, check out these top moving trends in the United States for 2022. If you’re looking for moving statistics by state, scroll on to the last section.

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    Who’s Moving in the United States

    First things first: Who’s moving around America? Let’s start out with some basic demographic stats about who moved in the last year or two:

    • Between March 2020 and March 2021, only 8% of Americans moved. That’s the lowest percentage ever recorded since the federal government started tracking movers in 1948. [3]
    • Younger Americans are more likely to move than older Americans. Those in Gen Z (ages 18–24) are currently most likely to move, with 32% of them relocating during the pandemic. [5]

    • Unsurprisingly, Americans who rent are more likely to move than those who own their home. In one survey, 51% of renters said they’d moved into their current home within the past two years. Just 15% of homeowners said the same. [10]

    Where Are Americans Moving?

    Although fewer Americans are moving than in the past, moving trends in the United States show that people are moving further away than before. They may also be in search of less crowded areas:

    • The distance of the average move in the US in 2021 was 51.1 miles. [6]
    • The states that saw the highest influx of new residents in 2021 were, in order: Vermont, South Dakota, South Carolina, West Virginia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Oregon, Idaho, and Rhode Island. [1]
    • The states that saw the most residents leave in 2021 were, in order: New Jersey, Illinois, New York, Connecticut, California, Michigan, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Ohio, and Nebraska.

    • Many Americans are moving in search of more wide-open space. Of the top inbound states of 2021, six of them (Vermont, South Dakota, West Virginia, Alabama, Oregon, and Idaho) are among the 20 least densely populated states in America. [1]
    • Rural areas saw the highest percentage of inbound movers in 2021 (54.6%), which further supports the trend of Americans leaving densely populated areas. [7]
    • Among people who moved to urban centers in 2021, 70% were individuals and only 24% were families. [7]
    • Likely due to the pandemic, only 1 in 5 Americans say they prefer city living now, compared to 1 in 4 in 2018. [3]
    • Contrary to what you might expect, however, the pandemic didn’t cause a permanent mass exodus from major US cities. 86% more people moved to New York City than left it in 2021, for example. [6]

    Why Americans Choose to Move

    Packing up everything you own and finding a new place to live is a big undertaking. Here’s why Americans made the choice to move last year:

    • A new study found that 31.8% of Americans who moved in 2021 did so to be closer to family. 32.5% moved for a new job or transfer—which is down significantly from 60% in 2015—and 20% moved for retirement. [1]

    • A recent survey found that 27% of respondents who moved in 2021 did so in search of more affordable living, 18% did so for more space, and 17% did so for a different climate. [5]
    • Statistics show that Americans may be taking tax rates into account when deciding where to move. In the top one third of states Americans moved to in 2021, the average combined income tax rate is about 3.5%. In the bottom third of states Americans moved to in 2021, it’s about 7.3%. [9]

    How Has the Pandemic Affected Moving Patterns

    Virtually no aspect of life remains untouched by the pandemic, and moving is no exception. Take a look at how COVID-19 has impacted where and why Americans move:

    • One fifth of those who moved in 2021 said they moved for a COVID-related reason. Of this number, 37% said it was because they now work remotely and can live anywhere, and 22% said it was because of pandemic-related financial hardships. 16% said they moved to be closer to family, and another 16% said they moved because they weren’t feeling safe due to COVID spread. [6]
    • Americans who moved for pandemic-related reasons are more than twice as likely to report that the move negatively impacted their lives than those who moved for other reasons. [3]
    • 31% of younger Americans (ages 18–31) moved either permanently or for an extended period of time during the pandemic, compared to 16% of all US adults. [5]

    Where and Why Are American Retirees Moving?

    Over half of Americans who moved in 2021 (54%) were over the age of 55 [2]. It’s worth examining the U.S. moving trends within this significant demographic. Here’s how retirees moved last year:

    • More people retired last year than the year before because the pandemic forced as many as 3 million Americans to retire earlier than they planned, but fewer of them moved after doing so. 43% fewer retirees moved in 2021 than in 2020. [4]
    • Married couples are more likely to move for retirement (77%) than single (including divorced, widowed, or never married) retirees (23%). [4]

    • Americans moving for retirement were three times as likely to move out of state than those who moved for another reason. [4]
    • One study shows that retirees are leaving densely populated areas like cities for smaller communities with warmer climates and a lower cost of living. For example, 77% of Americans approaching retirement age in New Jersey say they plan to move, and 23% of those plan to move to Florida. [2]
    • Tennessee was the top state for retirees to move to in 2021, perhaps in part because of its low tax burden. [4]
    • For those retirees who chose to move to a new city, Pittsburgh was the most common choice in 2021. [4]
    • The states that American retirees were most likely to leave in 2021 were Delaware and Maryland. [4]

    Moving Costs in the United States

    If you opt to hire professional movers to pack and transport your belongings to your new home, you’re not alone. These moving trends and statistics will give you an idea of what typical moving costs are like in the United States:

    • It takes 13 hours to pack up the average US household for moving. [23]

    • Wealthier Americans are more likely to move. The largest percentage of Americans who moved in 2020 (35%) had an annual income of over $100,000, whereas only 18% of Americans who moved in 2020 had an annual income under $30,000. [11]
    • The average cost of a short-distance move (less than 100 miles) in the US is $1,400. The average cost of a long-distance move (more than 100 miles) is $3,950.
    • One survey found that renters in the US Midwest were most likely to say that their reason for hiring professional movers was that they didn’t want to bother family and friends! [24]

    US Moving Statistics by State

    Curious which US states are the growing quickly or are the cheapest to live in? Check out these moving statistics and trends by state:

    • Alabama: People who immigrate to the US from other countries are least likely to settle in Alabama, of any state. [17]
    • Alaska: In 2021, Alaska finally broke a streak of population decline in motion since WWII. Its population went up by 745 people last year due to a combination of new births and movers. [15]
    • Arizona: A 2022 report shows that the Phoenix, Arizona metro area currently welcomes 200 new residents each day, possibly tied to the fact that it reported fewer job losses over the last two years than any other metro area in the US. [16]
    • Arkansas: In 2021, 44% more people moved into Arkansas than moved out. That’s the highest percentage of any US state. [6]
    • California: In terms of net losses, California now sees more than twice as many people move away to other states than it did before the pandemic. [12]
    • Connecticut: Tied with Michigan, Connecticut is the state with the slowest-growing population over the last ten years. [14]
    • Florida: Half of the top ten cities that experienced the biggest net population gains in 2021 were in Florida. [6]
    • Georgia: Morgan, Pendergrass, and Chamblee are currently the fastest-growing cities in Georgia by population. [26]
    • Hawaii: Hawaii is the US state with the highest cost of living—almost double the national average. Mississippi has the lowest. [18]
    • Idaho: Of all US states, Idaho has experienced the highest percentage of new incoming residents in 2020 and 2021. [13]
    • Illinois: Thomson, Pingree Grove, and Volo are currently the fastest-growing cities in Illinois by population. [27]
    • Kentucky: Booneville, Mount Washington, and Manor Creek are currently the fastest-growing cities in Kentucky by population. [28]
    • Louisiana: Maurice, Youngsville, and Addis are currently the fastest-growing cities in Louisiana by population. [29]
    • Maryland: New Market, Laytonsville, and Leonardtown are currently the fastest-growing cities in Maryland by population. [25]
    • Michigan: Michigan is one of only three states whose population has declined over the last ten years due to a combination of deaths and people moving away. [14]
    • Mississippi: Mississippi is one of only three states whose population has declined over the last ten years due to deaths and people moving away. [14]
    • Nevada: Mesquite, Henderson, and North Las Vegas are currently the fastest-growing cities in Nevada by population. [30]
    • New Jersey: New Jersey saw the highest percentage of outbound moves in 2021 (71%), but this isn’t so surprising when you look at past data: It’s held the top spot for the past four years. [1]
    • New York: From July 2020 to July 2021, New York‘s population fell by 319,020 people. It was the largest numeric decline of any state in the country, according to Census Bureau estimates. [19]
    • Ohio: Toledo, Ohio is the most affordable city in the US, with an average rent price of $550. Toledo and two other Midwestern cities make up the top five most affordable cities in the entire country. [20]

    • Pennsylvania: Callimont, Connoquenessing, or Royalton are currently the fastest-growing cities in Pennsylvania by population. [31]
    • Texas: Texas had the largest numeric population gain of any US state in 2021. [21]
    • West Virginia: West Virginia is the state with the highest rate of homeownership in the US. [22]

    Sources

    [1] https://www.unitedvanlines.com/newsroom/movers-study-2021

    [2] https://www.unitedvanlines.com/moving-tips/blog/where-and-why-do-retirees-move

    [3] https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/12/16/in-2020-fewer-americans-moved-exodus-from-cities-slowed/

    [4] https://www.fa-mag.com/news/where-americans-moved-to-retire-in-2021-65459.html?print

    [5] https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/15/31percent-of-young-adults-moved-during-covid-what-that-means-for-cities.html

    [6] https://www.hireahelper.com/moving-statistics/migration-report/covid-migration-report/

    [7] https://www.nar.realtor/blogs/economists-outlook/migration-in-the-first-half-of-2021

    [8] https://www.forbes.com/advisor/home-improvement/movers-and-packers-cost/

    [9] https://taxfoundation.org/state-population-change-2021/

    [10] https://constructioncoverage.com/research/cities-where-renters-never-move-2021

    [11] https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2021/demo/geographic-mobility/cps-2021.html

    [12] https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-12-15/california-exodus-pandemic

    [13] https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/2021-01-04/americans-moved-west-and-south-in-2020-amid-coronavirus-pandemic-study-finds

    [14] https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/articles/2021/07/27/population-growth-sputters-in-midwestern-eastern-states

    [15] https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/2022/01/06/alaska-broke-its-4-year-population-loss-streak-in-2021-but-the-gain-could-be-short-lived/

    [16] https://azbigmedia.com/business/migration-snapshot-heres-how-many-people-are-moving-to-arizona/

    [17] https://censusreporter.org/profiles/04000US01-alabama/

    [18] https://www.insure.com/cost-of-living-by-state.html

    [19] https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/New-York-s-population-fell-more-than-any-other-16722613.php

    [20] https://www.earnest.com/blog/how-much-does-it-cost-to-rent-in-your-city-or-state/

    [21] https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2021/2021-population-estimates.html

    [22] https://ipropertymanagement.com/research/homeownership-rate-by-state#:~:text=West%20Virginia%20has%20the%20highest,rate%20among%20states%20at%2054.0%25.

    [23] https://www.hireahelper.com/moving-101/

    [24] https://www.avail.co/education/guides/moving-day-around-the-country/use-of-professional-movers

    [25] https://www.promoverreviews.com/moving-resources/fastest-growing-cities-maryland/

    [26] https://www.promoverreviews.com/moving-resources/fastest-growing-cities-georgia/

    [27] https://www.promoverreviews.com/moving-resources/fastest-growing-cities-illinois/

    [28] https://www.promoverreviews.com/moving-resources/fastest-growing-cities-kentucky/

    [29] https://www.promoverreviews.com/moving-resources/fastest-growing-cities-louisiana/

    [30] https://www.promoverreviews.com/moving-resources/fastest-growing-cities-nevada/

    [31] https://www.promoverreviews.com/moving-resources/fastest-growing-cities-pennsylvania/