Top State to State Migration Trends


Migration Trends in the United States

2024 is witnessing a surge in long-distance relocations, with factors like the pandemic, job prospects, family ties, and lifestyle choices driving people to seek new horizons. The rise of remote work and flexible living options is reshaping migration patterns, steering individuals from bustling cities to suburban or rural havens. In this guide, we’ll delve into the diverse demographics behind these shifts, from job hunters and retirees to digital nomads. Plus, for a seamless vehicle transition as you embark on this journey, explore our state-to-state car shipping services.

According to data from the United States Postal Service, a remarkable 3.3% increase in permanent address change requests, totaling over 10.2 million, was recorded between 2019 and 2020. This trend persisted through 2021, with a similar trajectory, showing only a minor dip compared to 2020. USPS data underscores the significant exodus from major urban centers and colder regions in favor of less congested, sunnier destinations. Our auto transportation company‘s records reflect this very trend. Let’s dive in.

What’s driving their relocation?

As revealed by the data presented in the 2021 annual national movers study by United Van Lines, the predominant motive for moving in the years leading up to last year was overwhelmingly work-related. While still holding the top spot, the inclination to move for work experienced a notable decline of almost 19% from 2019 to 2021. In contrast, relocating nearer to family witnessed a substantial surge in popularity, trailing behind work-related moves by a mere 0.7%. The choice to move closer to family has seen an impressive uptick of nearly 13% since 2015 when it lagged behind work-related relocations by more than 41%.

In the case of retirement and lifestyle moves, there were modest percentage increases in the past year, but both categories have seen notable growth of nearly 5% since 2015. The upward trajectory of retirement-related moves is expected to persist as the number of individuals reaching the age of 65 increases annually, as reported by the Administration for Community Living in May 2021. Moves driven by the cost of living saw a rise of 3.7%, while health-related relocations experienced a slight decrease.

Top 10 States People Are Leaving

New York

Leaving New York has become a growing trend. The state’s soaring cost of living and the ever-increasing burden of local, state, and federal taxes are primary factors contributing to this migration. Many professionals in the technology and banking sectors, previously office-bound, have embraced remote work during the pandemic, enabling them to relocate, potentially closer to extended family members. New York saw a net decrease of over 75 thousand households in the past year.


In 2021, California witnessed a net decline of more than 101 thousand households, despite its typically pleasant climate and thriving tech industry. The driving forces behind this exodus appear to be escalating housing costs, rising taxes, and the political landscape. Additionally, concerns about the increasing threat of wildfires and the continuously mounting cost of living have prompted many Californian families to seek new opportunities elsewhere, with Texas being a popular destination.


Pennsylvania’s loss of over 18 thousand households can be attributed directly to job losses resulting from the pandemic. The state’s occasionally unfavorable weather conditions have not helped either. Many families are seeking better employment prospects in neighboring states, while others are seizing the opportunity to relocate to warmer climates with a lower cost of living.


Opportunities for employment and improved housing options have been cited as the leading factors behind the population decline in Illinois, as reported by Nearly half of potential movers have also pointed to the tax rate as a significant reason for their departure. Issues like adverse weather conditions, heavy traffic, and crime further exacerbate the state’s declining population.


Retirement plans and work-related motives are cited as the driving forces behind the decline in Massachusetts’ population. The state experienced a net loss of 15,489 households in the past year. Despite recent strong GDP growth and a robust economy, the trend toward remote work has allowed families to move away from densely populated areas, opting for more suburban lifestyles outside Massachusetts.


Former residents of Washington are finding respite from the state’s escalating cost of living in places like Oregon and Idaho. Oregon offers a cost of living 7% cheaper, while Idaho boasts the lowest cost of living among western states. With the ongoing housing crisis and the ability for many to work remotely, it’s no surprise that Washington saw a decline of over 13 thousand families last year.


Indiana experienced an overall population loss of nearly 12 thousand families last year, primarily due to lower-than-average wages. Despite the state’s low cost of living, neighboring states offer better pay, attracting those seeking significant income increases. Another contributing factor is the state’s taxation of retirement income, prompting retired individuals on fixed incomes to explore better options elsewhere.


Once considered a swing state, Colorado’s political landscape has shifted leftward in recent years, prompting conservatives to migrate to states like Texas and Arizona. In total, 12,145 families left Colorado last year, with politics being just one factor. High living costs and unattainable real estate prices continue to drive prospective homebuyers away, while issues like traffic congestion, rising crime rates, and pollution further motivate residents to relocate.


Last year, ten thousand more families left Wisconsin than moved in. The pandemic fallout played a significant role in this decline, with job changes and proximity to family becoming more accessible in the current employment landscape. Additionally, the state’s high tax rates and harsh weather conditions contributed to the decision of many to relocate.


Michigan’s population decline, resulting in a net loss of nearly 11 thousand households last year, can be divided into three main categories: retirement, family, and employment opportunities. Despite nationwide labor shortages, many young families in the state perceive better working conditions across state lines, driving them to move away.

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Top 10 States People Are Moving To

Southern states, renowned for their low taxes and abundant sunshine, constitute the leading destinations for migration, as evidenced by the top ten recent population gainers.

10. Florida

Florida, too, has experienced a surge in population, driven by various factors. A survey conducted by The Tampa Bay Times highlighted the state’s attractiveness due to its favorable tax environment, affordable housing options, abundant sunshine, and relaxed COVID-19 restrictions. While Florida has long been a haven for retirees, it is increasingly drawing younger professionals who can work remotely and seek a blend of sandy beaches and tropical weather. AutoStar Transport Express data reveals a parallel trend, with a growing number of vehicles being delivered to Florida in recent years.

9. Texas

In 2021, Texas witnessed a significant influx of over 12,700 new residents, as per data from the United States Postal Service (USPS). This growth is consistent with the state’s ongoing appeal, attributed to several factors. Texas boasts a conservative political environment, low taxation, a robust and diverse economy, a reasonable cost of living, and a climate that many find favorable. Notably, Texas has also seen remarkable growth in the number of vehicles delivered to the state by AutoStar Transport Express, with a substantial increase of 83.2% between 2020 and 2022, reflecting a growing trend in population and economic activity.

8. North Carolina

North Carolina’s recent population increase can be attributed to a combination of factors, including employment opportunities, family considerations, and favorable weather conditions. The state’s diverse topography appeals to outdoor enthusiasts. It realized a net gain of 9,000 residents in 2021, many of whom are now enjoying the flexibility to choose their preferred places of residence. AutoStar Transport Express data suggests a corresponding increase in vehicle deliveries to North Carolina.

7. South Carolina

South Carolina has joined the ranks of states experiencing population growth, and its appeal mirrors that of Florida in some respects. Residents are drawn to green spaces, remote work opportunities, and a robust job market. The state welcomed over 10,000 new residents in the past year, reflecting its growing popularity. This increase in population is also reflected in the rise in vehicle deliveries to South Carolina by AutoStar Transport Express.

6. Georgia

With its myriad outdoor activities, tropical summers, mild winters, and affordability, Georgia gained over 5,000 residents in the past year. Low housing costs and a thriving job market are contributing factors to the state’s attractiveness. AutoStar Transport Express reports indicate a growing number of vehicles being delivered to Georgia, reflecting this population growth.

5. Maine

Maine attracted over 2,500 new families, particularly those seeking refuge from more expensive New England states. Its lower cost of living and relative tranquility provide a respite from crowded and costly regions. The pandemic further accelerated this trend, with remote work and new employment opportunities contributing to the influx. AutoStar Transport Express data also shows an increase in vehicle deliveries to Maine, aligning with the rise in population.

4. Tennessee

Tourism plays a significant role in Tennessee’s population growth, with over 4,500 families choosing the state as their new home. Tennessee offers a lifestyle akin to a perpetual vacation, characterized by its low cost of living, minimal taxes, expanding job opportunities, and natural beauty, all of which appeal to both retirees and young families. AutoStar Transport Express data shows a rise in vehicle deliveries to Tennessee in line with this trend.

3. Idaho

Idaho, adjacent to expensive West Coast states, offers a lower cost of living and proximity to water without the high coastal real estate prices. Booming job markets in agriculture and medicine have led to a population increase in and around Boise, with nearly 1,800 more households moving in than out last year. AutoStar Transport Express data also shows a rise in vehicle deliveries to Idaho, reflecting its growing appeal as a destination.

2. Delaware

Delaware, similar to Maine, has become a favored destination due to its favorable conditions. The state experienced growth of almost 2,200 families in the past year, driven by factors such as low taxes, affordable housing, a strong job market, and proximity to major financial hubs. AutoStar Transport Express data reveals a corresponding trend, with an increasing number of vehicles being delivered to Delaware.

1. Nevada

Nevada welcomed over 3,100 new families in 2021, many of whom came from more humid regions. The state’s climate, proximity to adventure in neighboring states, and affordability make it a magnet for retirees while attracting a younger demographic. AutoStar Transport Express data indicates a growing number of vehicles being delivered to Nevada, reflecting its increasing popularity as a destination.

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What are the primary factors influencing relocation decisions in 2023?

The dynamics of people’s movement and relocation choices in 2023 are shaped by a multitude of factors. These include employment opportunities, the pursuit of a more temperate climate, and the quest for a cost-effective lifestyle. Here are some of the prevailing motivations for relocation in the United States:

  • Employment: Many individuals relocate to seize job prospects or to reduce their commuting distance to work. With the increasing prevalence of remote work arrangements, people are also choosing to move freely as they are no longer bound to a specific work location.
  • Family: The desire to be closer to family members, especially aging parents or children and grandchildren, remains a significant driver for relocation. In a survey conducted by United Van Lines in 2021, approximately 31.8% of respondents indicated that they were moving primarily to be nearer to family.
  • Lifestyle Preferences: Favorable climates, recreational opportunities, and distinctive cultural and social environments are influential factors guiding relocation decisions for many individuals.
  • Housing: The pursuit of affordable housing is a compelling motivator for relocation. People often cite the high cost of living in one state as a reason for departure and the affordability of living in another state as a reason for relocation. Additionally, many individuals move to access larger or more appealing homes.
  • Education: Families and students are motivated to move by their aspirations for school districts with stellar reputations, proximity to specific educational institutions, or universities renowned for their programs.
  • Retirement: Older adults preparing for retirement are drawn to retirement communities and locations boasting warm and inviting climates. Some retirees, known as “snowbirds,” opt for seasonal relocation between different areas to escape inclement weather.

Regardless of your specific motivation for relocating, AutoStar Transport Express stands ready to facilitate a smoother transition. Our relocation services connect you with the most suitable vehicle carrier and accommodate your schedule to ensure a seamless move. Additionally, we have prepared a practical guide to assist you in your preparations and address common queries related to your relocation.

What do the demographics of individuals on the move reveal?

Migration patterns in the United States do not adhere to a specific demographic profile. People from diverse age groups, racial backgrounds, and income brackets embark on journeys driven by a multitude of factors, such as career prospects, familial considerations, and personal lifestyle preferences.

Nonetheless, some discernible demographic trends emerge. For instance, younger individuals often relocate in pursuit of job opportunities, while their older counterparts frequently choose to move for retirement or to be closer to family members.

Regarding income levels, individuals situated at both ends of the earnings spectrum exhibit a higher propensity to relocate. Those with lower incomes may opt to move to areas offering more affordable living costs or better job prospects, whereas higher-earning individuals may seek out regions renowned for prestigious educational institutions, an abundance of leisure activities, and an overall superior quality of life.

Evolution of Migration Trends in the United States

The advent of remote work has significantly reshaped migration trends, not only within the United States but also on a global scale. The proliferation of online communication and collaboration tools has granted individuals greater flexibility to work remotely, whether on a full-time or part-time basis. Consequently, a burgeoning number of people have seized the opportunity to reside and work from virtually anywhere, leading to a notable shift away from urban centers in favor of suburban or rural locales.

This transformative phenomenon has given rise to a distinct category of professionals known as “digital nomads.” These individuals leverage their remote work capabilities to inhabit various locations for shorter durations. In 2019, the digital nomad community comprised approximately 7.9 million members, a figure that expanded to 10.9 million in 2020 and surged to 15.5 million in 2021.

Several factors propel this trend, including the pursuit of a more affordable cost of living, increased living space, and an enhanced quality of life. Many are drawn to areas that foster a strong sense of community and provide access to outdoor recreational opportunities. Consequently, the recent surge in digital nomadism has catalyzed the transformation observed in migration and relocation trends across the nation.

Mark Dugger

Mark Dugger

Born and raised in Southern California, grew up in an athletic environment where he excelled at football, baseball, wrestling, golf, skiing, and water skiing. He chose computers as his professional calling, accepting the position of Systems Officer for a prominent cruise line. For the next ten years, he would circle the globe multiple times, visiting over 100 countries. Mark joined AutoStar Transport Express just 1 year after it was created. He is one of the pillars the company was built on. He started off as a coordinator, he excelled though the years with his hard work and dedication. His job performance not only grew his career but our company and as a whole. Mark now holds the position of operations manager overseeing the engine that makes our company run.
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