Migration Picture in America's Heartland Grows Rosier as More People Move in; Northwest a Major Destination While Southerners Move to Higher Ground

January 1, 1996

EVANSVILLE, (Ind.) -- America's former Rust Belt is getting a shiny new image as more people move to the country's midsection. Migration trends during 1995 show that people are heading to the Midwest, where more jobs have opened and the economy is getting stronger.

Migration data, released today by Atlas Van Lines, show a continuing trend in inbound traffic to the country's heartland. The data tracks traffic flow in and out of regions throughout North America. The information is based on 76,693 household goods shipments for 1995.

Midwestern states such as Kentucky and Indiana witnessed a noticeable increase in inbound traffic. For the first time in over three years, Indiana saw more people arrive than leave (19 percent more inbound traffic than outbound). Kentucky had 22 percent more inbound shipments than outbound.

Meanwhile, families in the South are packing up and heading for higher ground. Both Oklahoma and Louisiana, for instance, saw over 34 percent more shipments depart than arrive. Traditionally, these two states have witnessed as many people enter the state as exit.

According to Steve Mumma, Atlas Van Lines senior vice president, marketing and public relations, household goods shipments generally reflect economic conditions within various regions.

"Families and businesses are looking for low unemployment areas and fertile, economic regions. Because most of our moves are corporate relocations, we can tell from migration patterns that companies are locating their operations and employees to regions where the economy is healthier," explains Mumma. "A good example is what is happening in Indiana, which has experienced an influx of traffic. Several new businesses have recently announced that they're moving to the area. Therefore, we are seeing an increase in inbound traffic."

The Northwest region is, again, the number one destination area. Led by states such as Oregon (122 percent more inbound traffic than outbound) and Washington (36 percent more inbound shipments), the Northwest region has experienced inbound migration since 1992.

However, for five years now, California (23 percent more outbound traffic than inbound), remains an exit state; although, the margin was cut in half from 1994 (46 percent more outbound traffic than inbound).

While most of New England continues to experience a steady outflow of traffic, there are some states making forward progress. New Hampshire, which had more people leave during 1994 than arrive, had more inbound shipments than outbound during 1995. Connecticut went from outbound in 1994 to balanced in 1995 while Vermont remained an inbound destination state.

The Atlas traffic flow data does not include the number of people relocating by do-it-yourself means. However, it can mirror corporate and personal inclination to relocate to stronger economic areas. The numbers in the Atlas chart also account for only those household goods shipments that moved from one state to another, or interstate moves.

The map shows how many households Atlas moved in and out of each state during 1995. The top number indicates outgoing shipments, and the bottom number shows the number of incoming shipments. States that are lightly shaded show areas where inbound and outbound moves were nearly equal. The map is available upon request from Jim Huth, Atlas Van Lines director of corporate communications, (812) 421-7183.

With world headquarters in Evansville, Ind., Atlas Van Lines is a transporter of household goods and special products through more than 800 agencies worldwide.