Moving is a big deal. You would think most people just stay put in one place for the majority of their lives, but in reality, they tend to relocate more often than you think.
In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American moves an average of 11.7 times in their lifetime, which means there is plenty of shuffling going on between the states.
In this article, we discuss data provided by United Van Lines for 2021, which is based on last year's moves. The report indicates the number of people who leave and move to each state, with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii. Work was listed as the primary reason for people leaving, but many also relocated due to family reasons (i.e., to be closer to their loved ones).
Here are the states that Americans are leaving (and where they're going):
1. New Jersey
Move-out percentage: 69.5%
For the third consecutive year in a row, New Jersey takes the top spot with the highest move-out percentage of any other state in the U.S.
However, one should not take such rates and assume the Garden State a totally unbearable place to live—many Americans who left the state in 2020 did so for retirement purposes so that they could live closer to their families in other states. Such reasons accounted for more than a quarter of the moves.
Taxes could also be a factor, especially since New Jersey has some of the highest in the country. In terms of cost of living, New Jersey definitely isn't cheap:
"If you are part of a typical middle-class family of four, it will cost you approximately $259 a day just to live in New Jersey. And that’s $12,000 more than the average income in New Jersey." —
2. New York
Move-out percentage: 66.9%
Living in New York is not for the thin-walleted—it is one of the most expensive states to live in the U.S., ranking fifth overall in the cost-of-living index compiled by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.
In New York City, the current median cost of a home being $1.6 million, and the cost of rent averaging around $5,100 per month. With those numbers, it seems almost impossible for anyone who isn't a big earner living there.
That said, there's a reason why some people still dream of living there. According to this former resident, the NYC experience is quite simply unmatched:
"When I lived in NYC, I couldn't even finish everything within a 20-minute walk. Street fairs were happening every other weekend. Random festivals and shows popped up constantly. Poetry readings and concerts, museum displays, and cheese tastings...it just never ended. I would take walks and turn down side streets to find yet another cluster of things I'd never seen before. It was glorious." —
Move-out percentage: 66.9%
When most people think of Illinois, they think of Chicago; and when they think of Chicago, they think of high taxes. In fact, that's one of the main reasons why Americans end up packing their belongings and moving to a different place—the state just takes too much money out of their incomes.
There also seems to be a push to raise the income tax despite the fact that it is already sky-high. Thankfully, Illinois residents rejected a ballot measure in 2020 that would have made the rate a lot more burdensome.
That said, if you can get past the taxes, you might still enjoy the Illinois life, especially in Chicago:
"In the city, prepare for rush hour traffic. The wind is quite strong at times. Lots of great pizza and ethnic diversity that is divided into subsections throughout the city (i.e., Chinatown, Greektown, Polish, Irish, Italian, Filipino, Hispanic, and so on). Your car has to pass emissions testing required by law. Great sports town as well. All entertainment attractions come through Chicago." —
Move-out percentage: 63.5%
Connecticut has a lot of coastal appeal since it is located right by the Atlantic; however, its high cost of living can make it a difficult place to live in. According to data from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, almost everything is expensive in the Nutmeg State, with housing and utilities at the top of the list.
It doesn't help that that job market can be unforgiving as well—the MERIC data also showed that jobs are the No. 1 reason for people to move out of the state.
Connecticut also has high tax rates which is a huge turn-off, especially for soon-to-be retirees. In fact, more than 30% of people who left last year said they wanted to retire somewhere else:
"The cost of living is high compared to other states. Income tax, sales tax, and especially property taxes are very high. I moved from the suburbs of Boston back home to a small CT town and my car insurance went up...Figure that one out." —
Move-out percentage: 58.7%
Taking the fifth spot on the United Van Lines survey this year is California, the Golden State. Surprisingly enough, work was listed as the main reason to leave the state, despite the booming opportunities in hotspot areas like Hollywood and Silicon Valley.
But California is not a cheap place to call h0me—in fact, it is the third most expensive state to live in, following just behind the District of Columbia and Hawaii.
With prices continuously going up, it's likely that we'll be seeing California in future lists to come:
"The cost of housing is the main factor. The cost of housing is high because the government cannot raise property taxes above 1% of the market value of the house in California. That’s actually below the national average. If you don’t want people buying up all the property in your area, you increase the amount they’ll have to pay in taxes to own a house. When demand for housing skyrocketed, the government wasn’t able to increase property taxes enough to reduce the demand. As a result housing prices skyrocketed. Now the only people who can afford a mortgage in California are people who have owned their house before housing prices skyrocketed, rich people, and people who live inland." —
Move-out percentage: 58.6%
Kansas may have the fourth-lowest cost of living in the US, but conflicting factors such as low wages and low earning potential can make it hard to sustain life there.
In fact, work was the primary reason for half of the relocations last year, with several residents leaving to seek job opportunities in other states. This may come as a surprise to some people (especially those who work in the manufacturing industry) since Kansas had recently been named one of the best places for manufacturing jobs in the US.
Retirement and family reasons were also notable causes, accounting for over a quarter of the moves.
Here's a snapshot of Kansas living according to one resident:
"I pay $660 per month for a pretty nice one-bedroom apartment. You can expect to find $8 to $12 per hour retail jobs. $10 will get you a decent meal at a restaurant, and gas hovers around the $3.20-$3.50 range." —
7. North Dakota
Move-out percentage: 56.7%
You would think that the beautiful scenery and the low unemployment rate would help keep people in North Dakota, but it looks like even those are not enough.
According to the United Van Lines survey, the top reason why people left the state in 2020 was to pursue better job prospects. While it isn't hard to find a job in North Dakota, there are likely limited career options available. In other words, you might be able to land a job, just not the one you were hoping for.
Additionally, it can get a little bit lonely if you choose to move there by yourself:
"The isolating part is maybe more true for introverts than extroverts, but can’t say for sure (I’m an introvert). Depends on what you like to do, I guess...if you don’t mind the cold and are an outdoor person, there’s plenty to do!" —
Move-out percentage: 56.6%
Massachusetts is brimming with historical flair, but despite being an interesting place to live, it has a hard time convincing people to stay.
That's because the cost of living in the state is just way too high—in fact, people who live in Massachusetts are required to pay a premium, which adds to their total living expenses.
On MERIC's cost of living index, the Bay State ranks sixth out of 52 regions in the U.S.
"Cost of living is only really high around Boston. Move to western Massachusetts where your neighbors are far away or the south coast which consists of relatively poor old mill towns. You can get land and house for much cheaper there." —
Move-out percentage: 56.1%
Despite being a manufacturing state, Ohio has a notably high unemployment rate that discourages people from living there.
Last year, unemployment in the state was a full percentage point lower than the national average, which led to many people seeking jobs elsewhere.
Wages in Ohio are also lower than average, which means that even if you are able to land a job there, you might not be satisfied with how much you earn.
That said, the low cost of living may offset the wage problem:
"Ohio has a much cheaper cost of living than most places, Virginia included. I go to Ohio pretty regularly and I'm always like, holy cow, everything there is so cheap." —
Move-out percentage: 55%
Coming in at No. 10 on the United Van Lines survey is Maryland, the Old Line State. According to the MERIC data, it is one of the most expensive places in the US to live, ranking 7th out of 52 regions.
Housing is particularly expensive in Maryland. To save money, some residents opt to live outside of the city centers; however, they are forced to deal with long commutes or local jobs that don't pay as much.
Aside from work-related reasons, retirement was another big reason for the moves last year, with more than half of the departures coming from people who were over 55 years of age.
"Baltimore, Maryland is a pretty cheap place to live compared to other cities. Living with a roommate can be anywhere from $500 to $1,000 depending on where. Food is a standard price and there are plenty of inexpensive restaurants in the city. Gas is about $2.70-ish but insurance is expensive. Public transport can work, but it is not the best in the world." —
Move-out percentage: 53.3%
Pennsylvania used to be a booming manufacturing state, but over the last couple of years, it has lost tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs, leading to many of its residents seeking employment in other states.
The Keystone State has moved up 11 spots from last year's ranking, which indicates the gravity of the job market situation.
That said, some residents say the state's rich culture and lifestyle are worth staying for:
"Pennsylvania is great. I live in a suburb of Pittsburgh and one hour in any direction, you have mountains, forests, rivers, skiing—all sorts of stuff. The city has awesome restaurants and entertainment as well as three major sports if you're into that. We bought our house 12 years ago for $48k...I mean, come on—that’s cheap as heck. Wages are decent. Healthcare is great." —
12. Indiana (tie)
Move-out percentage: 53.1%
The main reason why people are moving out of Indiana is work. According to MERIC, the average employee in Indiana earns well below the national average, with the minimum wage set at an abysmal $7.25 per hour.
Such wages make it hard for people to stay in the Hoosier State for long, despite its low unemployment rate and affordable housing.
Additionally, Indiana is not a tax-friendly state for retirement. If you're looking for tax breaks upon retirement, you won't find many of them in Indiana.
"It's an undesirable place to be like most of the flyover states. It's not close to the mountains or the ocean. It has cold winters, wet springs, and extremely hot and humid summers. The only nice weather is in the fall. There are also very regressive politics at play that most young people want to stay away from. These factors probably contribute to why lots of people aren't flocking to Indiana." —
12. Virginia (tie)
Move-out percentage: 53.1%
In terms of population growth, Virginia has been relatively stagnant. It doesn't help that people are leaving the state, either—according to the data, more than 55% of those who left last year were 55 or older, and less than 10% were between 18 and 34.
Unsurprisingly, jobs, family, and retirement were the main reasons for the moves last year.
Like any location, Virginia will have its fair share of pros and cons:
"The weather isn’t bad. We do get all four seasons, so that’s either a plus or minus, depending on your outlook. If you’re working for the government, you’ll probably be in the DC area, which freaking sucks. Traffic is awful. But hey, at least the Nats finally won a World Series!" —
Move-out percentage: 52.7%
Lately, things have been rough for the people of Louisiana. In November 2020, the Bayou State had the fourth-highest unemployment rate in the country, which contributed greatly to its high move-out percentage.
72% of people who left the state last year did so for job-related reasons, and many of those who stayed couldn't afford to move in the first place. In fact, one in five people who reside in Louisiana is living below the poverty line.
It also gets unbearably hot in the summer at times, with temperatures that can leave you drained to the max:
"I hate the heat. And if it's humid, even worse. My sweet spot temperature is around 65 degrees. I get so irritable in the heat, it's miserable and just awful. I'm planning on moving further north in the future after college. I would happily wear some snug boots and shovel snow than ever set foot somewhere hot and humid again." —
Move-out percentage: 51.9%
Yet another state with high unemployment, Mississippi saw a mass exodus of people last year, with 71% of the moves motivated by job-related reasons.
For most non-factory jobs, the standard pay is set at the minimum wage, and many companies do not offer the best benefits.
Family and retirement were both tied as the No. 2 reasons for leaving, but they were almost 60 percentage points less than the work factor.
Then again, some people don't mind taking the pay cut if it means having access to a better quality of life:
"I moved back to Mississippi from Colorado and took an over $20k pay cut. I feel like my standard of living is better for me and my family." —
Move-out percentage: 51.4%
Nebraska saw many of its residents leave last year due to work, but in comparison to the other aforementioned states, its situation isn't too bad.
For those who would prefer the low-key life, Nebraska is actually a decent choice. It has the 15th lowest cost-of-living in the U.S. according to the MERIC data, and the environment is generally peaceful.
That said, it is also the worst state in the country in terms of retirement taxes, so it may not be the best place to settle down after your retirement.
"The cost of living is decent as long as you have a job that pays a living wage. That said, it’s pretty hard to find a full-time job that pays a living wage. Nebraska has made the news for a lot of really backward things. When people vote, generally Nebraska is still a red state...though, I am always hopeful that it will switch to purple someday! Lincoln is a college town and it’s easy to get involved with local ongoings." —
16. Missouri (tie)
Move-out percentage: 51.2%
Stagnant growth is the reason why people aren't staying in Missouri. The Show-Me State has moved up six spots from its position on last year's ranking, and the main culprit is slow job growth.
In fact, more than 42% of the moves were due to poor job opportunities in the state.
It doesn't help that the weather can be horrendous—winters are frigid and summers are brutal, so your plans to spend a comfortable day outdoors are never guaranteed.
"With climate change, Missouri is going to be seeing more dangerous tornados and the "season" will be increasingly longer, just like the transition from snow to ice." —
16. Minnesota (tie)
Move-out percentage: 51.2%
Just Missouri, Minnesota is notorious for its extreme weather. In fact, summers and winters are so unbearable for some people that they have no choice but to leave the state altogether.
That said, the main reason for last year's departures were not the snowstorms or heat waves, but rather, the rising unemployment rate. The Bread and Butter State experienced a 1.1% increase from the year before, keeping it above the national average at 4.4% but still not enough to keep workers from leaving.
In addition to work, family reasons were listed as another factor influencing the moves.
"I remember winter a few years ago when the ambient temperature was sitting around -30 F and the wind chill was beyond -50 F. Two days later, it was +10 F with no wind...That's a 40-degree variation in just two days! Some southern states don't see that type of variation all year!" —
Move-out percentage: 50.7%
Oklahoma is up to seven spots from its position on last year's ranking, and it's all thanks to its minimum wage. According to the data, over 68% of people who left last year did so in order to find jobs elsewhere, with many people frustrated at the $7.25 per hour minimum wage.
The Buckeye State remains one of several states in the US that has not yet raised its minimum wage above the federal requirement.
In addition to the job factor, 15% of people also moved out for family-related reasons.
In terms of living expenses, here's what you could expect in the rural areas:
"I live in an Oklahoma town of roughly 1,000 people. Between my mortgage and bills, I pay around $700 to $800 a month. Last month, I paid $460 to my mortgage, $65 to water, $80 to electric, and $170 to gas." —
Move-out percentage: 50.2%
Compared to last year, Michigan looks to be on the rebound; however, it still saw more people leaving than entering according to last year's data.
The primary reason for the departures is its bad mix of high unemployment and low-wage jobs. You won't find "big money" opportunities here, as most jobs across the state pay less than $20 per hour.
The cost of living is also relatively high, so that doesn't help matters much:
I recently moved back to Michigan after living in Ohio and I’ve found the cost of living to be much higher here. Gas prices are higher, and a same-sized house in a similar economic area was a lot more expensive. Overall though, I find the quality of life to be much higher in Michigan. Ohio was awful—I couldn’t wait to move back." —
Ready for a change of gears? Now that we know why people are leaving the aforementioned states, it's time to look at where those people are actually heading to?
In search of better prospects, they've chosen to settle down in the following 25 or so states.
Here they are, in all their American glory:
Move-in percentage: 70.1%
For the second time now, Idaho has made it to the No.1 spot on United Van Lines' inbound list.
Many Americans are flocking to the Gem State right now due to its booming job market and low cost of living. It is a popular choice for IT workers in particular who would rather not spend millions of dollars moving to more expensive tech hot spots like California.
Additionally, many parents have said that Idaho is a great place to raise kids, due to the family-friendly atmosphere of the area.
"People respect your space here. It's quiet; uncrowded. People are happy to be here. From April to October, the weather is great. Winters are fun if you prepared well for winter. Nature is our cathedral. It is a three-generation state. The police are nice and friendly. It also has a smaller, more intimate government." —
2. South Carolina
Move-in percentage: 64%
If you like pleasant weather, stunning landscapes, and a relaxed lifestyle, then South Carolina is for you. At the moment, the Palmetto State may be one of the best representations of what the south can bring to the table.
Perhaps its biggest draw is its notably low cost of living. In fact, 70% of new residents last year were aged 55 or older, as many of them chose South Carolina as their retirement destination.
Many younger individuals also make the move due to the fact that life there is so affordable.
"South Carolina has the third-lowest cost o living in the country as measured in terms of inflation. And we are 48th in average income. So optimistic me says that's a net gain." —
Move-in percentage: 62.5%
Oregon has had quite the top-10 streak on the United Van Lines list, having occupied the No. 2 spots for the past three years before slipping to No. 3 this year.
The Beaver State is a rare mix of natural beauty and industry, which makes it appealing for both retirees and tech workers. Not only does it have a plethora of forests and hiking trails to explore, but it also has hundreds of satellite offices of big companies, including Nike, Columbia, and Fisher Investments.
The only con is that the cost of living is relatively high; however, there are many jobs in Oregon that can provide a wage high enough to offset those costs.
"The southwestern part of Oregon tends to be just as expensive as the Portland area, except in rental costs. Food, transportation, and utility costs tend to be slightly higher due to transportation distances from Portland." —
4. South Dakota
Move-in percentage: 62.3%
South Dakota is brimming with outdoorsy appeal, and that could be why many people chose to move there last year.
However, be warned—nearly 70% of people who ended up moving out of South Dakota cited work as their main reason. Should you decide to move there, be sure you have already secured a job.
In terms of places to find work, there are many of them to choose from:
"Rapid City and Sioux Falls are by far the most “metropolitan-esque.” Watertown, Aberdeen, Pierre, Brookings, and Mitchell are more working-class towns. Aberdeen is like an island—you’re hours away from everything which has its advantages, but everything is more expensive. A lot depends on what you do for a living." —
Move-in percentage: 61.6%
If you're not a fan of winter, you'll like Arizona. The Grand Canyon State takes the No. 5 spot on this list with the fifth-highest percentage of inbound moves from last year.
Many people chose to move there due to retirement reasons, as Arizona is tax-friendly for retired workers who are looking to settle down. But young people have a reason to move there too—according to local residents, Arizona can accommodate pretty much any lifestyle there is:
"Rent varies from as low as $500 a month for an ugly place to $800 for an average apartment. $1,300 can get you a two-bedroom apartment in a decent area. Electricity is dirt cheap in the winter (I've had bills as low as $5 to $100) but a nuisance in the summer (around $400).
Cellphone-wise, T-Mobile and Verizon towers are your friends. Groceries rock my husband and me about $60 for one to two weeks of food. Your biggest bills will be electricity but that can be severely reduced if you're smart with the plans they offer." —
6. North Carolina
Move-in percentage: 60.2%
In North Carolina, your dreams of being a homeowner are more than possible. That's because it has some of the lowest real estate prices in the country at the moment, especially in its more rural areas.
It also boasts some of the country's most breathtaking scenery, with a shoreline that is dreamy for most of the year (with the exception of hurricane season).
"If you need to live off a job, healthcare coverage, and schools, or if you aspire to be a homeowner, or enjoy outdoor activities, pick North Carolina, hands down. You’ll probably have seven months a year where you can at least be outside." —
Move-in percentage: 60%
Tennessee is more than just a music lover's paradise—it's also a great place to live, One of its biggest draws is that it is an income tax-free haven, so you are able to hold on to more of your earnings if you live there.
Even property taxes are extremely low here, so you get to save on that as well. The only tax that is relatively high is the sales tax, which currently sits at around nine to 10%; however, that is definitely not a dealbreaker for most people.
Tennessee is also pretty easy on the eyes, and that counts for something:
"From someone who is a fan of the outdoors, there is so much to do here, especially in middle and eastern parts of the state. The cost of living is very low (except in the Nashville area). If you don't want to live in the major cities, there are lots of places that put you within easy driving distance of several metropolitan areas all at once." —
Move-in percentage: 59.7%
Alabama boasts a pretty low cost of living, which is part of its appeal. It's even more appealing if you're a professional—doctors, lawyers, and the like are almost worshipped in the Yellowhammer State, so if you're in one of those occupations, you'll fit in quite well.
However, for other jobs, the market is pretty weak. In fact, 66% of people who left last year cited work as their main reason for leaving. Wages are not necessarily the best either, so it's important to do some research on the job market before you decide to make the move.
"Cost of living is low and taxes are reasonable. There are plenty of things to do if you look in the right places. Lots of outdoor opportunities if being outside is your thing (we have great golf, for instance). Birmingham has a good music scene but it's hit or miss elsewhere in the state. The major cities are nice (Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile). Beaches are great and are all a day's drive from just about everywhere in the state." —
Move-in percentage: 59.6%
Florida is the closest thing to a tropical paradise that you can find in the U.S. Known for its beaches, entertainment, and year-round heat, the Sunshine State is a particularly popular location for retirees to settle down in.
In fact, as many as 40% of newcomers from last year cited retirement as their reason for moving there, so the vacation mindset clearly influences a lot of the moves.
For those still working, it's important to keep in mind that Florida's economy is heavily reliant on tourism, so a lot of the job opportunities you'll find there will revolve around that industry.
"Jobs in Florida are average, but it depends on the area, of course. There are areas for professionals with careers, but for many people, the economy is the way it is. Finding a job here isn't hard if you're okay with working two low-wage, part-time jobs." —
Move-in percentage: 58.5%
Up 10 spots from last year's ranking is Arkansas, The Land of Opportunity.
Arkansas has seen a significant influx of younger individuals lately. Last year, 40% of people who moved there were aged 35 to 55, which indicates that there are decent opportunities for the working class there.
Of course, job prospects will differ based on where you are in the state—according to residents, most of the high-paying jobs can be found in Little Rock and throughout the northwestern areas.
"You will do fine on $40k a year. Mountainview is extremely cheap to live in, as most rural Arkansas cities are. It's also a gorgeous area to be in!" —
11. Wyoming (tie)
Move-in percentage: 58%
Wyoming is a nature lover's heaven. The state is overflowing with natural beauty, from scenic landscapes to national parks.
It has the lowest population density in the U.S., making it a perfect place to relocate to if you want to get away from the hecticness of city life.
Wyoming is also a decent option for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, as the state has no individual income tax.
"Wyoming: No income taxes, and gorgeous countryside, but isolated." —
11. West Virginia (tie)
Move-in percentage: 58%
The mountainous regions of West Virginia make it a gorgeous place to live, but its main draw is its booming job market.
According to the data, work was the top reason why people chose to move to the Mountain State, though some note that it can be tough to advance in a lot of the available career paths.
Still, West Virginia is up 11 spots this year compared to last, with an increase of almost seven percentage points.
"The cost of living in West Virginia is incredibly cheap. I'm currently in the process of buying a 3,500 sq. ft. home in excellent condition and in a good neighborhood for $270k. A lot of money is being invested into the state. Most people are incredibly friendly. There are immensely beautiful places to see. Lastly, there are a TON of jobs, but you have to know which areas of the state to look." —
Move-in percentage: 57.8%
Delaware's job market is going strong, and a lot of Americans are taking advantage of it. Last year, inbound moves saw an increase of 2.4 percentage points compared to the previous year, bringing the state's total population to almost 1 million.
77% of the moves comprised of people aged 55 or older, which indicates that Delaware is a top choice for retirees.
Low property taxes and zero sales tax are also added benefits for residents of the Diamond State.
"Delaware has corporate-friendly shareholder and corporate laws. The laws favor corporations, especially in banking, thus many corporations are incorporated in Delaware and pay large annual fees for the privilege. This second reason has not been verified by me but has been explained to me by several lifetime residents." —
Move-in percentage: 55.7%
Up 10 spots from last year's ranking, Maine saw an influx of newcomers who moved mainly for family-related reasons.
The top second reason was retirement, with three-quarters of the moves comprising of people aged 55 or older. This makes sense as the Pine Tree State is known for its plethora of breathtaking outdoor spaces.
Perhaps the state's only drawback is its income tax rate, which is relatively high in comparison to other states.
"If you live in Maine, you will have to pay income tax. Depending on your income and other factors, it's somewhere around 7%. Nothing else about your taxes will change—federal taxes, property taxes, capital gains, etc." —
14. Rhode Island
Move-in percentage: 55.5%
Rhode Island may be small, but it has big appeal—last year, the Ocean State moved up three spots on the United Van Lines ranking for inbound moves, and its charming atmosphere likely has a lot to do with that.
That said, Rhode Island is an expensive place to live, being one of the top states in the U.S. in terms of cost of living.
Many existing residents recommend that newcomers secure a job first before making the move, as taxes and the cost of living is notably high.
"If you have a good job here, Rhode Island is a wonderful place to live. Living here is like being on a beach in paradise where you're constantly swimming against the current. It's beautiful; it's amazing...but it requires effort." —
Move-in percentage: 54.9%
Utah has always been trendy due to its incredible landscapes and natural hotspots, but that's not why people chose to move there last year. According to the data, work was the No. 1 reason for the moves, which makes sense as the state's tech industry is currently thriving.
In fact, it is responsible for over 10% of the state's economy, so young professionals are naturally attracted to the area.
Unfortunately, rent and housing prices have been going up due to the tech boom, so it can be rather pricey to live in the Beehive State depending on which area you decide to settle down in.
"$30k will be tight, but doable. Look for a room to rent or roommates." —
Move-in percentage: 54.5%
If you're a young professional, Washington is the place for you—the state is brimming with job opportunities as major companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Starbucks all have their headquarters in the state.
More than half of the people who moved to Washington last year cited work as their main reason, and the state's population continues to grow every year.
The cost of living may be relatively high but it is pretty much offset by generally higher wages.
"Pro? No income tax. Con? High sales tax and high-ish property tax. Also, the cost of living is only high in Seattle and the surrounding areas. Much of the other parts of Washington are reasonably priced. Our minimum wage is $11 per hour." —
Move-in percentage: 54%
Texas has been experiencing a pretty steady growth in population over the past couple of years, but its growth in 2020 was not too great.
Despite still seeing a decent number of newcomers, its total inbound moves went down by 1.6 percentage points compared to last year, so quite a number of people are still moving out of the state.
Still, Texas has a lot to offer to its residents, particularly in terms of culture and entertainment:
"Texas is more laid back than the rest of the country. People work hard and then relax with a beer and some queso at an outdoor bar or icehouse. It's somewhat more socially conservative here in terms of church stuff. We are very welcoming of all kinds of immigrants in my experience." —
18. New Mexico
Move-in percentage: 53.5%
It looks like people are slowly falling out of love with New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment — this year, the state is down 10 spots on United Van Lines' inbound list, which indicates that a growing number of people are not too impressed with how things are progressing in the state.
Those who did come into the state last year cited retirement as their main reason for moving, with over 53% of newcomers being over the age of 65.
Younger residents moved into New Mexico as well, however, that number was small in comparison to the number of retirees. A poor job market could explain such a discrepancy.
"We've been living here in New Mexico for eight months now, and my boyfriend has been job searching the entire time. Thank God we have a family to lean on here. He is in a very competitive field though, so that’s one of the variables." —
19. Kentucky (tie)
Move-in percentage: 52.5%
Kentucky has moved up 12 spots in the ranking this year, which means it is definitely making progress.
The data shows that many people moved into the state last year due to work, which is surprising since unemployment in the state is rather high at the moment.
The current minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, which is the base federal rate. Many previous residents moved out of the state last year in search of better job prospects elsewhere.
"It's tough in Nevada. I've put in over 1,000 resumes online in the last three years and have gotten less than a half-dozen callbacks. For the jobs that did interview me, I was "over-qualified." I'm very wary of temp and staffing agencies. My husband has worked for a company for almost a year via a staffing agency and has yet to be hired. He works 40+ hours per week for chump change and is offered no benefits." —
19. Nevada (tie)
Move-in percentage: 52.4%
Moving to Nevada is pretty much a gamble. While the state still saw more inbound moves than outbound moves last year, it is far from a top choice for relocation.
The cost of living is high across the state, particularly in city centers like Las Vegas where spending money on gambling and entertainment is the norm.
On the bright side, many residents say the state is quite the melting pot of cultures, which means there is never a dull moment:
"Nevada is a ton of fun. There are good people, nice weather, and if you're into outdoor activities, it's hard to go wrong. It might take a little getting used to, but it's a great place to be." —
Move-in percentage: 52.1%
More and more Americans are moving to Iowa due to work, but that doesn't mean the state's job market is necessarily booming.
According to some residents, the job prospects in Iowa are not the greatest, and many people tend to look for employment in other states.
Should you decide to move to the Hawkeye State, be prepared for the possibility that you will have to work from the bottom up.
"It took me a year of searching with 200+ job applications filled out to find my current job. That being said, I'm overqualified, underutilized, and bored; but at least I'm being paid a livable wage." —
21. New Hampshire
Move-in percentage: 51.8%
There are a lot of things to like about New Hampshire. It has picturesque views, no sales tax or income tax, and cheap liquor too!
However, the climate can be quite unforgiving at times. According to some residents, winters are extremely cold while summers are extremely hot, which may turn off some people.
Additionally, property taxes are quite high in the Granite State, so it may be harder to be a homeowner there in comparison to other states.
"Until we find some other source of state revenue, New Hampshire's property taxes will be what they are. We need to allow some other sources of revenue in the state such as casinos. Until then, we just need to suck it up and pay..." —
Move-in percentage: 51.2%
Last year was the first time Montana saw more inbound moves than outbound moves.
The Treasure State is known for its gorgeous mountain landscapes and greenery, which attract explorers and nature lovers every year.
Just like Delaware, Montana had the highest proportion of retirement-related moves (41%). While the cost of living is not the worst, it's good to keep in mind that the western areas of the state are more expensive to live in than the eastern areas.
"I live in Montana. Property taxes are a little high here and depending on where you live, health care is a little more expensive than the average due to all the retired people. But you can usually get pretty good health care since doctors will move up here." —
Move-in percentage: 51%
Georgia still managed to snag a spot on United Van Lines' inbound list; however, it just barely made it.
The Peach State's pricey real estate and low wages, in particular, make it a less appealing destination to move to in comparison to other states.
That said, Georgia's community is generally warm and welcoming, which is expected as the state is known for its southern hospitality.
"Hospitality in Georgia is alive and well. We'll hold the door for you as we pass through...we'll let you cut us in line when we have a cart of groceries and you just have a couple of things...if you speak to us, we will talk back and share in a few minutes of polite banter with you...but don't for a second think that when you're trying to merge into traffic we'll let you over." —
Move-in percentage: 50.4%
Colorado used to consistently top the rankings, but now it seems that people are falling out of love with the Centennial State.
People who did end up moving to Colorado last year did so mainly for work and family reasons; however, a significant amount of people left as well due to the high unemployment that has kept things in the state relatively stagnant.
At least the views are nice:
"I have traveled all of the western and lower states, including the coastal and mountain regions. Colorado, hands down, has the most dramatically beautiful mountain scenery." —
Move-in percentage: 50%
Described as the most "balanced state" by United Van Lines, Wisconsin saw the same amount of inbound moves as outbound moves last year.
Those who came into the state cited work as their main reason, while those who left cited retirement and family reasons.
"As someone who has lived in northern WI, central WI, and now Milwaukee, I love it. Great weather, mostly all great people (especially in larger cities), good schools, no real natural disasters, great food, affordable living, great beer, awesome hiking and camping spots, more freshwater than you’d imagine, and four distinct seasons. Come join us!" —