Where is America moving? Atlas Van Lines announces 2008 migration trends

Midwest losing residents; hot destinations include Northwest, Southwest and Mideast

January 9, 2009

Media Contacts:
Kerri Hart, Atlas Van Lines, Inc., 800.638.9797, ext. 2951 hartk@atlasworldgroup.com
Ryan Heath, Hetrick

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — People are moving away from states whose economies rely heavily on hard-hit industries such as manufacturing and automobiles, according to the 2008 Atlas Van Lines Migration Patterns study. Midwesterners, especially, continue to relocate in large numbers to places with warmer climates and brighter economic prospects. The Northwest and Southwest remain attractive destinations, while Rust Belt states continue to lose more residents than they gain. Atlas' annual study has tracked the nation's moves since 1993.

Washington D.C. had the highest percentage of inbound traffic for the third year in a row, and Ohio had the highest percentage of outbound traffic for the second year in a row. Neighbors Michigan and Indiana round out the top three outbound states.

Outbound states also included states on the East Coast – Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Delaware; as well as Idaho, Missouri and Mississippi.

Popular destinations across the country include the Northwest – Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Montana; the Southwest – Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas; the Mideast pocket of Washington D.C., Virginia and North Carolina; plus Tennessee and Alabama.

"The nation is constantly ebbing and flowing as people move their households across the country for jobs, to be closer to family and to experience new environments," said Greg Hoover, president and chief operating officer of Atlas World Group. "This study is a reflection of those hot and cold spots. Clearly, the Midwest isn't attracting as many residents as places like the Southwest and the Virginia, D.C. corridor."

As the national housing market cooled in 2008, so too did household moves, according to the study. Atlas' total interstate and cross-border moves were down nearly 10 percent from 2007, when Atlas moved 92,743 households. The total for 2008 was 84,447.

For the full results of the migration survey and to view a map and annual histories for each state, visit www.atlasworldgroup.com/migration.

How status is determined

Each state/province has a threshold value, which is the total number of shipments multiplied by 0.55 (for example, in a state with 100 moves, at least 55 of them would have to be outgoing to classify the state as outbound). 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-provincial).

Atlas Van Lines is the largest subsidiary of Atlas World Group, an Evansville, Ind.-based company that posted revenues of $943 million in 2007. 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 www.atlasworldgroup.com for more information on the company and Atlas agents.