Atlas Van Lines announces relocation trends of 2006

Washington D.C. records highest inbound percentage, Louisiana tops outbound

January 25, 2007

Media Contacts:
Sara DeWitt, Atlas Van Lines, 800.638.9797, ext. 2951
A.J. Schneider, Hetrick Communications

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — More people relocated to or from the southern and southeastern portions of the U.S. than any other areas in 2006, according to Atlas Van Lines' 2006 Migration Patterns study. Washington D.C. had the highest percentage of people moving in and Louisiana had the largest percentage of people moving out.

These are just a few of the trends that emerged from Atlas' analysis of the nearly 100,000 shipments of household goods it handled in 2006. Each year, Atlas looks at relocation data related to the moves executed by its more than 500 agents throughout the U.S. and Canada. The data provides insight into U.S. and Canadian migration patterns and classifies states as either inbound, outbound or balanced depending on the number of moves into or out of the state.

"Atlas' migration study has been reflective of the nation's relocation pattern for several years," said Greg Hoover, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Atlas World Group. "People are leaving large population centers in the northeast and the hurricane-stricken deep south. They're moving to places such as Washington D.C., Oregon, North Carolina and Texas."

The patterns lend insight into the nation's economic patterns as well, Hoover said. "Coupled with the results of our 40th Annual Relocation Survey, which will be published in April, we're able to predict pretty accurately what kind of year 2007 is likely to be for our industry."

As a starting point, here's a closer look at relocation patterns in 2006, based on the study:

Deep-south departures

Louisiana and Mississippi recorded some of the highest outbound percentages in the nation — 66 percent of all the moves in Louisiana were outbound (a total of 1,966 departures) and 60 percent of all moves were outbound in Mississippi (a total of 1,078 departures). Meanwhile, the surrounding states received an influx of shipments. More than 30 percent of Louisiana's outbound traffic went to Texas; 12 percent of Mississippi's traffic landed there as well. Georgia, an inbound state, recorded more than 4,000 relocations for the third year in a row and saw its lowest number of outbound shipments since 1996. Texas had more inbound traffic than outbound traffic (a total of 9,714 shipments) for the second year in a row. Alabama also received more relocating households in 2006.

Northeastern exodus

New York continued its 12-year outbound trend and recorded the second-highest percentage of outbound traffic of all the U.S. Most traffic headed to warmer climates, with California and Florida neck and neck with 633 and 632 shipments from New York, respectively. Massachusetts, New Jersey and Ontario also had more people leaving than moving in.

Midwestern movements

Several Midwestern states also lost residents: Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Minnesota remained outbound states.

Westward expansion

Oregon continued its reign as the state with the second-highest percentage of incoming moves — 63 percent. Most of its inbound traffic came from western states, with neighboring states California and Washington leading the pack. Farther north, Alaska maintained a healthy percentage of inbound moves. New Mexico, Colorado and North Dakota continued to attract new residents. California, a balanced state, recorded the highest number of total moves (17,892). Texas, also a balanced state, recorded the second-highest number of moves (16,526).

Southeastern surge

Washington D.C. experienced the highest percentage of inbound moves, although the actual number of moves into the federal district was just 981. Most inbound traffic to the nation's capital came from across the country — more than 12 percent came from California. West Virginia became an inbound state for the first time in Atlas' study, after classifying as an outbound state just two years ago. Kentucky and Tennessee also recorded high inbound traffic, and Florida, a balanced state, recorded the third-highest number of relocations (14,710).

Highest total shipments

Although California and Florida were balanced, the states had significant traffic across their borders. The states with the highest total number of shipments into the state in 2006 were: Texas, California, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia. The states with the highest shipments out of the state were: California, Florida, Texas, New York and Virginia.

Changing status

Here's a recap of the states that had significant shifts in migration patterns in 2006:
  • Alabama returned to an inbound state after finishing 2005 as a balanced state.
  • Georgia, a balanced state in 2005, and for eight of the past nine years, became an inbound state.
  • Maine became a balanced state after two years as an outbound state.
  • West Virginia became an inbound state for the first time.

For the full results of the migration survey and to view the map visit

How status is determined

Each state/province has a threshold value, which is the total number of shipments multiplied by 0.55. A state/province is considered...

  • Outbound when outbound shipments exceed the threshold.
  • Inbound when inbound shipments exceed the threshold. All other states are classified as balanced.
  • Shipments noted for Canada are cross-border — to U.S. or from U.S. (not interprovince).

Atlas Van Lines is the largest subsidiary of Atlas World Group, an Evansville, Ind.-based company that posted record revenues of $949 million in 2005. Atlas World Group companies employ more than 700 people throughout North America. More than 500 Atlas agents in the United States and Canada specialize in corporate employee relocation and in the transportation of high-value items such as electronics, fine art and new fixtures and furniture. Visit for more information on the company and Atlas agents.