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February 4, 2022


  • Press Release
EVANSVILLE, IND. (February 4, 2022) – The onset of the pandemic in 2020 resulted in a year of change in migration patterns as millions of Americans made relocation decisions with COVID-19 in mind. This unique influence on moving trends continued in 2021 as the year reinforced similar tendencies and established new norms, including everything from remote-work flexibility to unprecedented housing market conditions and more. Data shows even fewer international moves were made in 2021, as companies continued to relocate employees abroad at a lower rate given continued uncertainty and travel restrictions. As long as COVID-19 remains a factor, its influence and the new normal is sure to be reflected in migration trends moving forward.
According to one of the nation’s leading movers, the 2021 Atlas® Van Lines Migration Patterns Study found that 20 U.S. states were found to be balanced in nature, meaning the inbound and outbound moves were relatively equal. The data also showed that 12 U.S. states were classified as outbound, meaning more people moved out of the state rather than in, and 18 U.S. states were classified as inbound, meaning more people moved into the state rather than out. The data also reflected an increase in moves from 2020 to 2021. The company has conducted the annual study since 1993 tracking the nation’s interstate (between states), cross-border (U.S. to Canada only), and international (between countries) moves managed by Atlas®.

The 10 U.S. states with the highest percentage of inbound and outbound moves in 2021 are included in order below, with Maine ranking as the study’s inbound leader for the first-time following Idaho’s two-year run as the country’s inbound leader. New York was once again the country’s outbound move leader in 2021, a designation it has now held for three years running.

Holding its inbound status for a second consecutive year, Utah has earned a spot on the top inbound list for the first time. In 2021, Arkansas, Hawaii, Montana and Florida achieved inbound status for the first time since 2002, 2003, 2013 and 2016, respectively. Alternatively, California earned an outbound status for the second consecutive year, after holding a balanced status from 1995 to 2019. In addition to New York, states with a consistent presence on the leading outbound list include New Jersey, Louisiana, Indiana, Illinois and West Virginia.

2021 Top 10 Inbound
2021 Top 10 Outbound
New York
North Carolina Illinois
Arkansas Louisiana
Tennessee New Jersey
Utah West Virginia
District of Columbia Indiana
Idaho California
Hawaii Iowa
Montana Connecticut
Florida Ohio
According to data reflecting the total number of international household moves completed by Atlas® World Group International, the top international origins and destinations for 2021 included the following:
Top 10 Origins (Outside of the U.S.) Top 10 Destinations (Outside of the U.S.)
Saudi Arabia Germany
United Kingdom France
Italy China
China Japan
France Saudi Arabia
Singapore Australia
South Africa Belgium
Colombia Ukraine
Philippines Mexico
Hong Kong India

The year’s total number of interstate and cross-border moves in North America saw a 16.3% increase from 2020. Atlas World Group International saw an 8.5% decrease in international household goods moves in 2021, showcasing the continued impacts of COVID-19 on international migration.

Canadian Provinces
According to data reflecting U.S. interstate and cross-border moves, three Canadian provinces recorded a change from 2020 to 2021, with British Columbia, Newfoundland & Labrador and New Brunswick changing from balanced to inbound. 
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 do not 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 2021.

To view the full results of the 2021 Migration Patterns Study, along with a nationwide map, regional trends and historical data, visit the Migration Patterns page on the Atlas website. 

About Atlas® Van Lines
Atlas® Van Lines, Inc., a national moving company, is the largest subsidiary of Atlas® World Group, Inc., an Evansville, Indiana based company. Atlas World Group companies employ nearly 800 people throughout North America. Over 400 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