America on the move: Atlas Van Lines announces 2007 relocation trends

Overall number of relocations is down; hot spots include Washington D.C., Washington state, Nevada and North Carolina; declining are Rust Belt states and Florida

January 4, 2008

Media Contacts:
Barbara Cox, Atlas Van Lines, Inc., 800.638.9797, ext. 2275
Kristen Fuhs Wells, Hetrick Communications

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Americans continue to migrate westward and move out of the Rust Belt states, according to Atlas Van Lines' 2007 Migration Patterns study. Washington D.C. had the highest percentage of inbound traffic for the second straight year, and Ohio had the highest percentage of outbound traffic.

Migration patterns also show that Florida has lost its allure, while California has picked up steam. For the second year in a row, Atlas Van Lines moved more residents out of the state of Florida than into it, and California recorded more inbound moves than outbound moves for the first time since 2001.

"Atlas' migration study reflects the movement of the nation and identifies thriving hot spots in America," said Greg Hoover, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Atlas World Group. "Overall, the number of household goods moves was down for the industry, as the post-Katrina exodus from Louisiana into the surrounding states leveled off and the housing market continued to stagnate. Real estate costs undoubtedly influenced migration patterns this year as well."

Here's a closer look at relocation patterns in 2007 identified in Atlas' study:

Go West

The nation continues to experience a significant westward expansion as Americans yearn for rural settings over urban lifestyles. Eight of the 13 areas classified as inbound lie west of the Mississippi River. Four are west of the Rocky Mountains, in one of the most popular spots in the nation – the Northwest. For the first time since 1995, Washington is an inbound state, joining Alaska and neighbors Nevada and Oregon. Washington and Alaska, respectively, recorded the second- and third-highest percentages of inbound traffic. The number of outbound moves for California was the lowest recorded in 10 years.

The Southwest pocket that includes Texas, Colorado and New Mexico also was a popular destination in 2007. All three states were classified as inbound, with Texas welcoming the highest number of new residents in the nation to be transported by Atlas.

Rust Belt Woes

The loss of jobs in the Rust Belt states continues to push Northern Midwesterners into other areas of the country. Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio all recorded significantly more traffic heading out of state than in. Ohio had the highest percentage of outbound traffic compared to inbound and the fifth-highest number of outbound moves nationally. The top five states for relocating Buckeyes: Florida, Texas, California, North Carolina and Georgia. Nationally, Indiana and Michigan recorded the third- and fifth-highest outbound percentages, respectively.

Northeastern Shuffle

The Northeastern states are engaged in a popularity contest. The most popular destination: New Hampshire. The state was balanced last year and registered as an inbound state in 2007 for the seventh time in the past 10 years.

The least popular states in the region: New York and New Jersey, which had the second- and fourth-highest outbound percentages.

Stable Southeast

Relocation traffic out of Louisiana and Mississippi stabilized this year; the states registered as balanced after spending nine and eight of the last 10 years, respectively, as outbound states. Heavy migration to surrounding states such as Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia and Georgia returned to normal, making these states, which last year were classified as inbound, balanced. For the fifth time in six years, Alabama registered as an inbound state.

Changing status

Other significant shifts in migration patterns in 2007 included:

  • After three years as an inbound state, Idaho became a balanced state.
  • An outbound state for six years, Minnesota became a balanced state.

For the full results of the migration survey and to view a 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 the United States or from the United States (not inter-province).

Atlas Van Lines is the largest subsidiary of Atlas World Group, an Evansville, Ind.-based company that posted record revenues of $986 million in 2006. 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.