The American landscape of migration has seen significant shifts in recent years, particularly in 2023, as revealed by data from U-Haul based on 2.5 million moves. This data offers a clear picture of the states that have become hotspots for relocation, as well as those witnessing a high number of departures.
For the third consecutive year, Texas has emerged as the top destination for people moving across state lines, according to U-Haul’s comprehensive tracking of moves. It’s a trend that underscores the state’s growing appeal as a place to live and work. Following Texas in popularity are Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, each of them being favored destinations for new residents. This shift in preferences indicates a growing inclination towards states in the Southeast and Southwest.
An interesting shift is observed in the rankings of Virginia and Idaho. Virginia, which held the fifth position in 2022, dropped to the tenth spot in 2023. In contrast, Idaho, previously in tenth place, climbed up the ladder to sixth place. These changes reflect the dynamic nature of migration patterns in the United States, influenced by various economic, social, and environmental factors.
John “J.T.” Taylor, President of U-Haul International, commented on these trends: “While one-way transactions in 2023 remained below the record-breaking levels we witnessed immediately following the pandemic, we continued to see many of the same geographical trends from U-Haul customers moving between states.” He pointed out that the migration to Southeastern and Southwestern states remains pronounced, while there is a noticeable demand for one-way equipment out of certain markets in the Northeast, Midwest, and West Coast.
California, interestingly, topped the list of states with the most net departures for the fourth year in a row, followed by Massachusetts, Illinois, New Jersey, and Michigan. This exodus from California and other states in the Northeast and Midwest highlights shifting preferences and perhaps dissatisfaction with certain aspects of living in these regions.
The dominance of the South in attracting new residents is further exemplified by the list of top cities with net arrivals. The Palm Bay and Melbourne areas in Florida ranked first, with other cities like Ocala (Florida), Charleston (South Carolina), Sarasota (Florida), and Austin (Texas) also featuring prominently. All 13 of the top towns for net arrivals in 2023 were in the South, signifying a significant regional preference among movers.
Boise, Idaho, emerged as the top-ranked city for net arrivals not located in the South, with nearby Nampa also making it to the Top 25. Cal Conner, President of U-Haul Company of Eastern Florida, attributes this trend to factors like low cost of living and an attractive year-round climate, especially in areas like Palm Bay-Melbourne.
While the U.S. Census Bureau releases detailed state-to-state migration estimates annually, the data for 2023 is not expected until the fall. However, the bureau’s 2022 data provides insight into these trends, showing Texas gained 668,338 residents from out-of-state, compared to 494,077 who left. In stark contrast, California lost 817,669 people to other states while gaining 475,803.
A notable statistic is the over 100,000 people who moved from California to Texas in 2022, compared to nearly 42,000 moving from Texas to California. This significant imbalance highlights how attractive Texas is becoming and how more and more people are getting dissatisfied with living in California.
The migration trends of 2023, as indicated by U-Haul’s data, paint a picture of an evolving America where people are increasingly seeking new horizons in the South and Southwest. These changes might have a big impact on the economy, society, and politics of these states and the whole country.