2016 Migration Patterns
Based on 75,427 Interstate and Cross-Border Household Goods Relocations from January 1, 2016 through December 15, 2016.
(Click on individual state/province for 10-year historical data.)
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Where is America moving?
Since January 1993, Atlas Van Lines has reviewed and released data on the origins and destinations of interstate (between states) moves throughout the previous calendar year. The 2016 Migration Patterns study results provide a snapshot of relocation patterns. This year, 26 states registered as balanced—meaning that moves in and out of the states were roughly equal—15 as outbound, and 9 as inbound, in addition to Washington, D.C. Furthermore, the data showed the overall number of moves was down from 2015.
The 10 states with the highest percentage of inbound moves and outbound moves are included in order below.
- Idaho (63 percent)
- Oregon (62 percent)
- North Carolina (61 percent)
- Tennessee (60 percent)
- Alaska (59 percent)
- Washington (58 percent)
- Michigan (57.2 percent)
- Washington D.C. (57.1 percent)
- Florida (56 percent)
- New Hampshire (55.1 percent)
- Wyoming (63 percent)
- Nebraska (61 percent)
- Illinois (60 percent)
- Delaware (59.5 percent)
- Louisiana (59 percent)
- Connecticut (58.9 percent)
- New York (58.7 percent)
- West Virginia (58.6 percent)
- Indiana (58 percent)
- South Dakota (57.6 percent)
This is the first year Idaho has been the study’s inbound leader. Wyoming topped the outbound list back in 2012 as well.
In 2016, the total number of interstate and interprovincial moves reached 75,427, down from 77,705 in 2015. For the fifth consecutive year, the states with the highest number of total moves were California (14,995), Texas (11,973) and Florida (10,231).
Other migration trends:
The Northeastern states saw four major changes from 2015 to 2016, with New Hampshire shifting from balanced to inbound and New Jersey from outbound to balanced. After spending 2015 as inbound, Rhode Island and Maine both became balanced in 2016. New Hampshire was the only inbound state in the region this year. New York has been outbound for more than 14 years.
The Southern region experienced three changes. Alabama shifted from inbound to balanced, and Texas shifted from inbound to balanced. Before this year, Texas had registered as inbound for more than a decade. Washington, D.C. changed from balanced to inbound.
In 2016, the Midwest registered three new balanced states, with Minnesota and Wisconsin both moving from outbound to balanced. For the first time since 2010, North Dakota shifted from inbound to balanced. Kansas went from balanced to outbound, and Michigan from balanced to inbound. Michigan was the only inbound state in the Midwest this year, a classification it hasn’t experienced in more than 10 years. In 2016, the region had its least amount of outbound states in recent years.
While the Western states experienced no classification changes from 2015 to 2016, the region did have the state with the highest percentage of inbound moves in the country, with Idaho registering 63 percent of moves entering the state. The region also registered Wyoming with the highest percentage of outbound moves in the U.S., with 63 percent of moves exiting the state.
Three of the Canadian provinces registered changes from 2015 to 2016, with Newfoundland and Labrador moving from balanced to inbound. Nova Scotia shifted from balanced to outbound, and Prince Edward moved from balanced to inbound in 2016.
How is a state classified?
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.