EVANSVILLE, (Ind.) - The tables are turning again in California, where the "great exodus" that started in 1991 has come to a slow halt. Migration data released recently by Atlas Van Lines indicates that California last year became an inbound state again after spending several years as an outbound state and the past three showing a close balance between inbound and outbound household goods shipments. In contrast, the Golden State had 22 percent more inbound than outbound shipments during 1999. According to 1999 data, since its last year as an outbound state in 1995, California's inbound traffic has increased 50 percent.
The new trend started taking shape in 1996, when the number of household goods shipments entering California exceeded the number leaving the state for the first time since 1991. The 10 percent increase in inbound over outbound shipments in 1996 indicated California's impending shift from an outbound to a balanced state. According to the American Moving & Storage Association, a state is considered a balanced state when inbound and outbound shipment subtotals individually represent 55 percent or less of total household goods traffic.
Atlas Van Lines migration data shows inbound and outbound traffic trends for every state in the U.S. The data tracks traffic flow into and out of regions throughout North America. The information released by Atlas this week is based on 99,498 household goods shipments during 1999.
"Of course California was a big inbound state for many years before the decline in the economy during the 1980s," says Steve Mumma, Atlas Van Lines senior vice president, marketing and Relocation Services Group. "The technology boom may have been the catalyst for the stabilization we started seeing in California in the mid-90s, and it seems likely that the strong economy we enjoyed during the past decade played a part in California's swing from an outbound state early in the decade to an inbound state again in 1999."
Also in the southwest, neighboring Arizona appears to have gained popularity during 1999 with 26 percent more inbound than outbound shipments. The gain in incoming household traffic during 1999 bumped Arizona from a balanced to an inbound state. Arizona had held its balanced status for only two years before becoming an inbound state during 1999. Prior to 1997, a prevailing number of incoming household goods shipments for a number of consecutive years held Arizona within its long-time inbound status.
At the other side of the nation, Florida remains a balanced state - as it has for many years, with some of the nation's highest overall totals. However, the math shows that this state's number of incoming households are increasingly more offset by outbound households. In 1996 there were approximately 900 more inbound than outbound household goods shipments; in 1997 migration data showed approximately 600 more inbound than outbound shipments; in 1998 there were approximately 300 more inbound than outbound shipments; and in 1999 there were only about 100 more inbound than outbound household goods shipments.
Neighboring Georgia, while coming in as a balanced state for the past three years and as an inbound state for three years previous to that, has shown a significant increase in overall moving activity since 1994. Georgia's total household goods traffic, which combines inbound and outbound moves, shows a 72 percent increase in moving activity over the last five years based on a comparison between 1994 and 1999 migration data.
On that note, the numbers show that Georgia overtook Illinois during 1998 as the fifth-busiest state in the nation in overall household moving activity. Georgia nudged Illinois out of the number five spot during 1998 with 105 more moves than Illinois. Last year Georgia's lead grew with 366 more moves than reported for Illinois.
On the subject of the leaders in moving activity, the following states comprised the top five in household goods shipments - inbound and outbound combined - during 1999:
Number one in traffic: California; number two: Texas; number three: Florida; number four: New York; number five: Georgia (followed closely by Illinois).
In the northeast, North Carolina gained in inbound household goods shipments during 1999 with nine percent more inbound moves than the previous year. The increase returned North Carolina to the inbound status after finishing as a balanced state for the two previous years. Prior to 1998, North Carolina was an inbound state for several years running.
And finally, New York, Pennsylvania and South Dakota win the "consistency award" for coming in as outbound states for at least seven consecutive years. Almost every province in Canada has also finished with the outbound status for the past seven years.
Headquartered in Evansville, Indiana, Atlas Van Lines is a major transporter of household goods and special products through some 600 agents across the U.S. and Canada and more than 800 worldwide. Atlas is the nation's fourth-largest van line and ranks as third-largest carrier of household goods.