On May 10, 2023

Vermont once again tops list of moving destinations in 2022

Retiring Baby Boomers and early Gen Xers drove American migration patterns as Eastern states saw highest inbound moves

Vermont is No. 1 on the list of Top Moving Destinations of 2022 according to the 2022 National Movers Study released earlier this year by United Van Lines, the nation’s largest household goods mover. In 2022, more residents moved into Vermont than out of the state, with 77% of moves being inbound. 

Vermont secured that top spot by a landslide; it wasn’t close, scoring 10 points higher than second place Oregon. 

Those who moved into Vermont tended to be older and wealthier, the study found.

Additionally, Burlington, Vermont once again earned a spot in the top 25 inbound metropolitan statistical areas with 68% inbound.

The top 10 inbound states of 2022 were:

1.       Vermont

2.       Oregon

3.       Rhode Island

4.       South Carolina

5.       Delaware

6.       North Carolina

7.       Washington, D.C.

8.       South Dakota

9.       New Mexico

10.   Alabama

Of the top 10 inbound states, four — Vermont, Oregon, South Dakota and New Mexico — are among the least densely populated states in America, with less than 100 people per square mile. South Dakota and New Mexico are among the top 10.

The top outbound states for 2022 were:

1.     New Jersey

2.     Illinois

3.     New York

4.     Michigan

5.     Wyoming

6.     Pennsylvania

7.     Massachusetts

8.     Nebraska

9.     Louisiana

10.  California

Balanced: Several states saw nearly the same number of residents moving inbound as outbound. Missouri and Nevada are among these “balanced states.”

The study showed that while, overall, residents are continuing to leave the northeastern U.S. region, individual states like Vermont and Rhode Island are seeing higher inbound migration than outbound. 

The study and its accompanying survey, which examines the motivations and influences for Americans’ interstate moves, also revealed more Baby Boomers and Gen Xers moved than any other age group last year, as those aged 55 and older accounted for more than 55% of all inbound United Van Lines moves in 2022.

By contrast, Vermont fell from 12th to 30th in the 2022 U-Haul report on moving, though activity was higher in Vermont both in- and out-of-state than the U.S. on average, as moving in the nation generally slowed in 2022. The difference in the U-Haul versus United reports could reflect the demographic of the mover between the do-it-yourselfer versus someone paying someone else to move them.

Additionally, the survey shows the top motivations for inbound moves include a desire to be closer to family (35%, and continues to be a primary driver post-Covid), a new job/company transfer (33%, which continues to decrease as a driver post-Covid) and retirement (20%).

“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,” said Michael A. Stoll, economist and professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. “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.”

Additionally, Delaware, North Carolina and New Mexico (58%) joined the list of top 10 inbound states in 2022. Delaware and New Mexico cited retirement as a top motivation for moving to those states. Contrarily, Wyoming (57%) and Pennsylvania (57%) joined the list of top 10 outbound states last year. Moving for a new job/company transfer is cited as the top motivation for moving out of those states.

“Our United Van Lines study and survey offers year-over-year insights into where and why Americans are moving,” United Van Lines Vice President of Corporate Communications Eily Cummings said. “For the last several years, Idaho was a top destination, as Americans migrated from Northern California, Washington and even Oregon due to a similar lifestyle in the state. With an influx of new residents, housing prices and other living costs start to increase over time, and these popular destinations become hot spots for inflation. As a result, the study underscored that Americans are moving from expensive cities to lower-density, more affordable regions.”

Movers are relocating to coastal cities in droves. In fact, six out of the top 10 inbound MSA markets in 2022 are seaside 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 MSA inbound markets for three consecutive years.  

Since 1977, United Van Lines annually tracks migration patterns on a state-by-state basis. The 2022 study is based on household moves handled by the UniGroup network (parent company of United Van Lines) within the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C. and ranks states based on the inbound and outbound percentages of total moves in each state. United classifies states as “high inbound” if 55% or more of the moves are going into a state, “high outbound” if 55% or more moves were coming out of a state or “balanced” if the difference between inbound and outbound is negligible.

To view the entire 2022 study, including an interactive map, visit: unitedvanlines.com/newsroom/movers-study-2022.

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