Americans are moving out of states like California, New York and New Jersey and heading to the South, along with Vermont, in droves amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a recent study found.
Earlier this year, moving company United Van Lines released the results of their 45th annual National Movers Study, which tabulates data on their customers’ state-to-state moving patterns.
Last year, the bulk of Americans choosing to move with United Van Lines flocked to the southern states of South Carolina, West Virginia, Florida, Alabama and Tennessee, but Vermont and South Dakota earned the number one and number two spots for the states with the highest influx of newcomers, according to the study.
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For the fourth year in a row, New Jersey took the number one spot in the survey as the most popular state to move away from. New York, Connecticut, California and Illinois followed closely behind on the company’s ranking of states experiencing exoduses last year.
Every year, along with releasing rankings on which states are gaining and losing the most residents, United Van Lines also issues an accompanying survey detailing the reasons behind people’s state-to-state moves.
This year, study results show only 32.5 percent of people moving with United Van Lines did so for a new job or job transfer, a major drop from previous survey findings. In 2019, 51 percent of survey participants cited a new job or job transfer as the reason for their out of state move, United Van Lines spokesperson Eily Cummings told Changing America.
As more Americans are opting out of moving for work, more are choosing to uproot their lives to be closer to family.
More than 31 percent of people who moved states last year with the company did so to be closer to family, continuing a pandemic-induced trend, according to the study. In 2019, only slightly more than 23 percent of survey respondents said they moved states for the sake of family.
“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 in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in a statement.
“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 remotely.”
Cummings added that United Van Lines doesn’t expect these trends to wind down soon and anticipates seeing more people move to be closer to family, at least for the first half of 2022, as well.
The top inbound states of 2021 were:
- South Dakota
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
- Rhode Island
The top outbound states for 2021 were:
- New Jersey
- new York
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