They say that home is where the heart is. So which states are tugging at American’s heart strings? Certainly not these ones. The Annual Movers Study has come out documenting moving patterns across the United States, and the rankings are in for which states are seeing the most residents moving away. Take a look at which states made the list this year — and why.
25. Oklahoma – 50.2% Inbound; 49.8% Outbound
Ah Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain — and the residents come home with moving boxes, apparently. In the United Van Lines yearly ranking, which tracks migration patterns from one state to the other, Oklahoma landed itself right in the middle at number 25 of the 50 states.
Because of this, Oklahoma is considered by the study to be one of the “balanced states,” meaning that it has almost as many people moving in annually as it has people moving out. In one year, the state’s total moves were 50.2 percent inbound and 49.8 percent outbound. We guess that is a good thing?
24. Maine – 50.2% Inbound; 49.8% Outbound
If Maine made it towards the top of this year’s ranking, we would not be too surprised. After all, it is one of the coldest states in the United States, and a quick search of Maine landmarks comes up comparatively lackluster. That being said, in exchange for all that cold, Mainers get to experience some of the most beautiful scenery in the country.
That feels like a pretty fair trade, and it seems that Americans tend to agree. Out of Maine’s total moving population, 49.8 percent were outbound, compared to 50.2 percent that moved inbound. Of those that moved out of Maine, over a third said that it was for family reasons, so nothing against the state (or the cold).
23. Missouri – 48.9% Inbound; 51.1% Outbound
Out of the states on this list, Missouri is the first that is not considered by this migration study to be a “balanced state.” Instead, Missouri is seeing more people moving out of its state lines than moving in. Out of this state’s total moving population, 51.1 percent were packing up and skipping town.
So why are so many people deciding to leave Missouri behind? More than half of the people moving away said that it was because they had gotten a different job out of the state, which is surprising considering that Missouri is not known to have a particularly bad job market.
22. Pennsylvania – 48.8% Inbound; 51.2% Outbound
Did anyone hear that sound? No, that is not the sound of the Liberty Bell — it’s the sound of moving vans pulling up in thousands of driveways across the state of Pennsylvania. Despite the fact that Philadelphia is one of the largest cities in the nation, The Keystone State as a whole saw more people moving away (51.2 percent) than it saw move in (just 48.8 percent) in one year.
When it came to these movers’ motivations, most of them reported that they had taken a job in another state. And that should be a scary statistic for Pennsylvania, considering that in a recent ranking of state job markets from best to worst, Pennsylvania came in at number 43, and has an unemployment rate of 4.6.
21. Utah – 48.6% Inbound; 51.4% Outbound
Apparently all of those national parks get a little tiring after a while. Just kidding! Actually people who decided to move away from Utah were least likely to blame lifestyle or health as their reasons for moving away from the state, so national park lovers please don’t send that hate mail.
Instead, people leaving Utah were most likely to state that they were doing so for work reasons. But almost as many people gave a work-related reason for moving into the state, and the second most-likely reason people moved inbound to Utah was for a lifestyle change. So keep doing you, Utah — at least for the time being.
20. Maryland – 48.4% Inbound; 51.6% Outbound
Oh, to be young and in Maryland. That’s not actually something that anyone says, but it seems to be fitting. The reason why? Apparently older residents in Maryland are moving out and moving on, according to the United Van Lines study and yearly ranking.
More than half of the people that moved away from the state of Maryland in a year’s time were over the age of 55, and 28.14 percent were over 65. So it should really come as no surprise to anyone that retirement was given as a top reason for moving away for more than a quarter of respondents, and family ranking shortly after.
19. Minnesota – 48.1% Inbound; 51.9% Outbound
The Mall of America in Minnesota is supposed to have everything that anyone could ever need, but the same apparently cannot be said for the state of Minnesota as a whole. Out of the total moving population in Minnesota, 51.9 percent were moving out while only 48.1 percent were moving in.
And while, let’s face it, wanting to move out of Minnesota’s frosty chill might not be the most surprising concept, here’s a stat that was: Minnesota ranked in this year’s list of the most popular destinations for people who were moving between the ages of 18-34 years old. Well, the more you know!
18. Mississippi – 48% Inbound; 52% Outbound
Mississippi is not having a great time right now. The southern state has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country at 5.6, coming second only to Alaska with a 6.1 unemployment rate. It has also earned another second-worst rating when it comes to its job market, which is one of the most lackluster in the United States, following West Virginia.
So it is no wonder that of the entire moving population in Mississippi, 52 percent are moving away compared to 48 percent who are moving in. A whopping 72 percent of people said it was directly due to the aforementioned job market, and no other reason even came close.
17. Indiana – 47.9% Inbound; 52.1% Outbound
Something strange is going on in Indiana. We are not exactly sure why, but more and more older residents are moving in while younger people are leaving. For most other states, the moves seem to be mostly among the older population, but for Indiana that is oddly not the case.
Of those who moved away over the year, 20.5 percent were between 18 and 34 years of age, 21.7 percent were 45 to 44, and 20 percent were ages 45 to 54. In comparison, of those who moved in to Indiana, over 26 percent were over the age of 65.
16. Kentucky – 47.6% Inbound; 52.4% Outbound
More and more Kentucky residents are kissing the fried chicken goodbye and leaving derby racing behind in order to start a life in another area of the country. In one year, Kentucky’s total moving population was 52.4 percent outbound from the state and 47.6 percent inbound. But that is not the only number that Kentucky needs to be worried about.
Kentucky came in a dismal third place in the ranking of the worst job markets in the United States. So it is no wonder more than half of the people who moved out of the state said that it was because they had found a job elsewhere.
15. Wisconsin – 47.4% Inbound; 52.6% Outbound
Who does not want to be known as a cheese head? Well, it actually seems like a lot of people don’t, according to this Annual National Movers Study. In one year, 52.6 percent of people moving were moving out of Kentucky, while only 47.4 percent were moving in.
Of the people moving out, they skewed a bit older. The largest population of people moving away were between 55 and 64 (31.52 percent), while those 65 and older made up almost 23 percent of people packing their bags. Maybe they all got sick of all the cheese jokes, because it’s a fair guess that it is probably impossible to get sick of the cheese itself.
14. Virginia – 47.1% Inbound; 52.9% Outbound
They say that Virginia is for lovers, but that does not mean it is for everyone. Despite the fact that even the first president George Washington himself chose to make Virginia his home, what worked in 1789 isn’t working today. People are still choosing to leave the state in search of other places to live.
Nearly 53 percent of Virginia’s migrating population were moving out. Out of those people, 53.76 percent were leaving because of a job, 23 percent were leaving for family reasons, 19.72 percent were choosing to retire in another state, 10.09 percent cited the need for a lifestyle change, and 6.34 percent made the move for reasons having to do with their health.
13. Montana – 46.1% Inbound; 53.9% Outbound
Don’t get us wrong, Montana is absolutely gorgeous, replete with breathtaking landscapes and national parks. But we will admit that there does not seem to be much else to do in Montana. It’s the third most sparsely populated state in the United States, with only about 7 people per square mile.
So when someone moves away, it can seem to cause a bigger impact. And in Montana, nearly 54 percent of its total moving population is moving away from the state. These movers are citing a number of explanations for their relocations, but job and family reasons are at the top of the list.
12. Louisiana – 45.3 Inbound; 54.7% Outbound
There is a tale of two Lousianas. The first is not a happy one, and involves the state grappling with the fourth worst unemployment rate of any state in the country, as well as the fourth worst job market to go right along with it. Considering this, the second story comes out of left field.
This happier face of Louisiana involves moving patterns indicating that out of every state in the nation, Louisiana is the ninth most moved-to state by people between the ages of 18 and 34. Who knows, maybe they are all flocking to New Orleans to get in on some of that Mardi Gras fun.
11. Massachusetts – 45.2% Inbound; 54.8% Outbound
According to WalletHub, which tracks the best and worst states for jobs each year, Massachusetts is probably the best place in the United States that a person could go if they are in need of a new career. The state earned the number 1 spot in WalletHub’s yearly ranking. It is also one of the top destinations for 18 to 34-year-old movers.
So how did Massachusetts almost make the top 10 in the rankings of states that people are moving away from? With 54.8% of movers leaving, that’s how. Surprisingly, most people (about 43.1 percent of movers) cited jobs as their primary reason, but family, retirement, and lifestyle were also popular explanations.
10. Iowa – 45% Inbound; 55% Outbound
And now for the top 10 — though, unlike many top 10 lists, we are not so sure that people in these states will be particularly happy to hear about this accolade. For the second year in a row, Iowa made it into the top 10 on this list, with 55 percent of the total moving population moving outside of the state.
A large number of the people moving away seem to come from the 18 to 34-year-old population demographic, indicating that students might attend college in Iowa, but then choose to start their careers in other states. Over 68 percent of people said they were moving for work, by far surpassing the 12.4 percent who moved in order to retire elsewhere.
9. North Dakota – 44.8% Inbound; 55.2% Outbound
In the unspoken competition between North and South Dakota, it appears that South Dakota wins in terms of whether or not people want to live there. Down in South Dakota, 57.4 percent of its moving population is moving to the state. In North Dakota, 55.2 percent of the moving population is, instead, moving out. That’s gotta hurt.
But there is one glimmer of hope for North Dakota. Oddly enough, the state happens to have also been the second most popular place to move among all movers between the ages of 18 to 34, with only Washington D.C. gaining more young residents. North Dakota: The Millennial hub. Who knew?
8. Michigan – 43.1% Inbound; 56.9% Outbound
Michigan has a sizable population of just under 10 million people within its state borders, and the state comes in as the tenth most populated state in the entire United States. But how did the Great Lake State make it into the top 10 of this particular list?
It seems that the 3,300 miles of coastline along the lakes was just not enough for some of the residents of Michigan, maybe because it is so cold. Nearly 57 percent of Michigan’s total moving population was moving out last year, and 43 percent were moving in to the state. In fact, Congress defined Michigan as one of the “brain drain” states, meaning that highly-educated people are rapidly moving away.
7. California – 43.1% Inbound; 56.9% Outbound
Growing up, it seemed like just about everyone who did not live in California wanted to pack up and move there. All over our televisions, theaters, and even in our music, California is constantly mentioned as being the closest that one can get to paradise within the continental United States. So why would anyone ever want to leave?
The population of people moving away from California skews older, while those moving into the state are much younger. And while 58.16 percent of people moving into California say that they are looking for a job, only 39 percent say that they are moving away for the very same reason.
6. Ohio – 42.2% Inbound; 57.8% Outbound
There was a moment during a recent season of ABC’s The Bachelor when the lead of the show tells his bachelorettes that they will be packing up and going to a distant location. Then, he drops the shocking news: Cleveland, they are going to Cleveland. There’s an awkward silence and then the sound of questions and groans. “Why Cleveland?” the contestants ask.
Apparently, they are not alone. Ohio almost made its way into the top five states that people are moving away from, since its total moving population included 57.8 percent moving away and only 42.2 percent moving into the state. Not exactly an endorsement of Ohio life, despite the massive population centers it contains.
5. Kansas – 41.5% Inbound; 58.5% Outbound
We have traveled across the United States and back, and now we are ready to reveal the five states that are seeing the most people pack up and leave. And according to the data, it seems that Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz is not the only one that does not think she is in Kansas anymore.
In fact, she is in good company. About 58.5 percent of movers in the state were moving out of Kansas, while only 41.5 percent were moving in. And jobs seem to be one of the only things Kansas has going for it. Nearly 70 percent of people moving in said they were coming for work, and only 4.6 percent said they were moving for lifestyle, health, or retirement reasons.
4. Connecticut – 37% Inbound; 63% Outbound
The Midwestern states are not the only ones that are seeing people moving out at an alarming rate. Even in New England, people are deciding to pack up their things and start a life somewhere else. A stunning 63 percent of total moves in Connecticut were from people deciding to move away, and only 37 percent of people were moving into Connecticut.
Many of the people who are moving away are from the state’s older population, with over 64 percent being people age 55 and older. Many of them reported that they were moving to retire elsewhere, presumably to states with better, warmer weather.
3. New York – 36.9% Inbound; 63.1% Outbound
Living in a small, shoebox-sized apartment in New York City has become a common dream for younger people after they graduate college. The bright, neon lights of the concrete jungle seem to draw people like moths as they search for an exciting next step in their lives. But that dream seems to fade, judging by the numbers from this year’s moving study.
While New York remains one of the top destinations for 18 to 34-year-olds to move to, overall the state made it into the top three for people wanting to move away. The primary reasons for people leaving were because of a new job or retirement.
2. Illinois – 33.5% Inbound; 66.5% Outbound
While some states are experiencing a phenomenon known as a “brain drain,” meaning an exodus of highly-educated people, Illinois is actually experiencing the opposite. Tons of super smart people are deciding to start their lives in Illinois, along with thousands of people ages 18 to 34.
But Illinois made it to the top 2 on this list for other reasons. While the chief reasons cited in this study involved jobs, retirement, and family matters, economists believe that Illinois is losing residents due to the state’s high taxes. Illinois has one of the highest property taxes in the country, and coupled with the state’s flat household income tax, conditions aren’t exactly inviting.
1. New Jersey – 31.5% Inbound; 68.5% Outbound
There we have it: New Jersey is the state with the most people packing their things and moving away. And it is not like this is just a one-off bad year for New Jersey. The Garden State has landed itself within the top 10 on this list for the past 10 years.
And it is not like there are not perks to living in New Jersey. Besides its close proximity to cities like Philadelphia and New York, there are about 130 miles of coastline bordering the state. But that does not seem to be enough to keep the 66.5 percent of the state’s moving population from saying farewell.
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