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January 1, 2019

Atlas® Van Lines releases 2018 Migration Patterns In Moving

The South & West continue to attract new residents while the Midwest & Northeast register heavily outbound

EVANSVILLE, IND. (January 2, 2019) – According to one of the nation’s leading movers, the 2018 Atlas® Van Lines Migration Patterns study found that 23 states registered as balanced—meaning that moves in and out of the states were roughly equal—14 as outbound, and 13 as inbound, in addition to Washington, D.C. Furthermore, the data showed a decrease in moves in 2018. The company has conducted the study since 1993 to track the nation’s interstate (between states) and cross-border (U.S. to Canada) moving patterns annually as reflected in moves handled by Atlas.

The 10 U.S. states with the highest percentage of inbound moves and outbound moves are included in order below, with Nevada ranking as the study’s inbound leader for the first time ever. While West Virginia has classified as outbound since 2014, the state had the highest percentage of outbound moves in 2018. This is also the first time West Virginia has registered as the study’s outbound leader. 


  1. Nevada (67.8 percent)
  2. Idaho (66.2 percent)
  3. North Carolina (62.6 percent)
  4. New Hampshire (57.3 percent)
  5. Tennessee (57.2 percent)
  6. Oregon (57.1 percent)
  7. Washington (57.0 percent)
  8. Alabama (56.5 percent)
  9. New Mexico (56.0 percent)
  10. Washington D.C. (55.7 percent)


  1. West Virginia (61.7 percent)
  2. Wyoming (61.4 percent)
  3. Illinois (61.2 percent)
  4. New York (61.0 percent)
  5. Connecticut (59.9 percent)
  6. Louisiana (58.2 percent)
  7. Nebraska (58.1 percent)
  8. Kansas (57.4 percent)
  9. South Dakota (56.9 percent)
  10. New Jersey (56.7 percent)

In 2018, the total number of interstate and cross-border moves in North America reached 71,092, down slightly from 72,986 in 2017. Former inbound states Alaska and Rhode Island became balanced in 2018, ending Alaska’s former three-year streak of classifying as inbound. After spending 2017 as balanced states, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Virginia became inbound. Iowa and Oklahoma also changed from outbound to balanced in 2018.

According to data reflecting the total number of international household moves completed by Atlas World Group International, the top international destinations for 2018 include the following U.S. states and countries:

  1. California
  2. Texas
  3. Virginia
  4. South Korea
  5. Japan
  6. Hawaii
  7. Germany
  8. England
  9. Washington
  10. Maryland

Atlas World Group International conducted 6,394 international household goods moves in 2018, down slightly from 7,748 in 2017.

"It is integral for not only the moving industry, but also our nation, to track domestic and international migration patterns to better understand why and where individuals are relocating," said Jack Griffin, Chairman and CEO of Atlas World Group. "These tangible insights for people, companies and industries can serve as important factors in influencing business and personal growth.”

Northeast U.S. Region

The Northeastern states experienced two major changes from 2017 to 2018, with New Hampshire moving from balanced to inbound and Rhode Island shifting from inbound to balanced. This is also the third time Maine has been inbound in the past five years. New York remains outbound for more than 20 years running. The Northeast region registered the second-highest number of total outbound states, with only the Midwest registering more. 

South U.S. Region

In 2018, the Southern region only saw one change from 2017. Virginia transitioned from balanced to inbound, a classification it has not held since 2011. The South region also housed four of the top 10 inbound destinations in 2018, including North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, and Washington D.C.

Midwest U.S. Region

The Midwest registered only one change in 2018, with Iowa shifting from outbound to balanced. The region housed the most outbound states of any region in the U.S., with Illinois, Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota ranking in the top 10. For the second year in a row, the Midwest registered zero inbound states.

West U.S. Region

For the third year in a row, the Western states boasted the states with the highest percentage of inbound moves across the United States, with Nevada registering nearly 70 percent of moves entering the state in 2018. Before 2017, Nevada had registered as a balanced state since 2009. This West region housed five of the inbound leaders for 2018: Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and New Mexico. This year, Arizona registered as an inbound state after being balanced for more than decade. New Mexico regained its inbound status for the first time since 2011. Hawaii shifted from outbound to balanced, and after spending three consecutive years as an inbound state, Alaska transitioned to balanced in 2018.

Canadian Provinces

According to data reflecting U.S. interstate and cross-border moves, none of the Canadian provinces registered a change from 2017 to 2018, with all remaining outbound. The Yukon Territory logged zero moves in 2018, therefore making it balanced.

How status is determined

Each state's or province's status is determined by its threshold value, which is the total number of shipments multiplied by 0.55 (i.e., in a state with 100 moves, at least 55 must be outgoing to be considered outbound). All other states or provinces in which outbound or inbound numbers don't exceed the threshold are classified as balanced. Canadian interprovincial and cross-border (from the U.S. to Canada) shipments are both referenced in the study. International moves indicate both states and countries that Atlas World Group International sent the most shipments to from international origin countries in 2018.

To view the full results of the 2018 Migration Patterns study, along with a nationwide map and annual histories for each state, visit

About Atlas® Van Lines

Atlas® Van Lines, a national moving company, is the largest subsidiary of Atlas® World Group, an Evansville, Ind.-based company. Atlas World Group companies employ nearly 700 people throughout North America. Over 430 Atlas interstate moving agents in the United States and Canada specialize in corporate relocation, household moving services and in the specialized transportation of high-value items such as electronics, fine art, store fixtures and furniture. For more information, visit