The Great American Migration continues unabated. The move out of expensive crowded living spaces to less-costly lower-density areas of the country was in full swing in 2022.
Driving the moves were changes in lifestyle and working conditions, many of them first prompted by the pandemic.Read More »
He was commenting on a United Van Lines study of moving patterns during 2022 which showed that the dramatic new migration trend that began with COVID continued unabated during the year.
Why people are moving
The reasons people are continuing to migrate are similar to those that characterized the swing to less densely populated areas of the country that began in 2021.
• The ability for many to work from home anywhere in the country.
No longer tied to an office and a daily commute that for some could take hours, many workers continue to seek areas that offer a great community lifestyle, fresh air, and a lower cost of living.
Many workers looking for a job are now seeking out only those that allow then to work remotely. In that way, they can live wherever they want to do so.
• A new job or a company transfer.
The staff shortage has enabled a number of workers to quit their positions in the big cities and to take up new positions in smaller cities where they face shorter commutes or can work from home.
In some cases workers are changing careers in order to obtain jobs in less-populated areas.
• Soaring house prices
House prices in the major cities and suburbs have risen so sharply that buying or even renting a house has become out of reach for many.
In addition, for existing home owners, the opportunity to sell at a high price in the highly populated areas and buy a house at a lower price in a less-dense area of the country is driving many to move.
• A lower cost of living
Generally daily living costs tend to be lower in areas of the country that are less highly populated.
More people aged over 55 moved than any other age group in 2022. Many of them were of retirement age and opted to retire in states that were less densely populated.
• To be closer to family
This reason to move was a major driver in the wake of COVID and continues to be. In addition, many of the less-populated areas are seen as better places to raise children.
State movements shown in study
The United Van Lines study showed that:
• Vermont experienced the highest percentage of people moving in at 77%.
• Oregon was just behind Vermont with 67% moving in.
• Three states in the northeast saw more people moving in than out—Rhode Island (67%); Delaware (61%); and Washington, D.C. (59%).
• Southern states saw a large percentage of inbound moves, including South Carolina (61%), North Carolina (61%) and Alabama (58%).
• North Carolina, Delaware, and New Mexico joined the top-10 list of inbound states for the first time in 2022.
• New Jersey saw more residents moving out than any other state; 67% of moves were outbound.
• Wyoming and Pennsylvania joined the top-10 list of outbound states.
Migration can change an area
Over the last few years, Idaho was a leading destination as people migrated from Washington, California, and Oregon, says Eily Cummings, vice president of corporate communications at United Van Lines.
As an area experiences many new residents, however, housing costs and other living expenses begin to grow over time. As a result, those areas experience higher inflation—and they become less desirable.
The study shows that people are now moving from costly cities to more affordable and less dense regions of the country, he adds.
These were the top states into which people moved in 2022:
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
Four on the list of inbound states—Oregon, Vermont, New Mexico, and South Dakota—are among the states that are least densely populated, with fewer than 100 people for every square mile.
These were the top states out of which people moved in 2022:
1 – New Jersey
2 – Illinois
3 – New York
4 – Michigan
5 – Wyoming
6 – Pennsylvania
7 – Massachusetts
8 – Nebraska
9 – Louisiana
10 – California
Some states saw an equal number of people moving in as moved out.
Among these “balanced states” are Nevada and Missouri.
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