Every year, for various reasons, Americans move all across the country. The following article will cover insights and statistics about American moving trends and where people are moving to and from. 

Overall Migration Rate

The overall migration rate provides a comprehensive view of how many individuals or families are moving within a specific timeframe. According to an analysis of 2022 U.S. Census Bureau data published by Brookings, the overall migration within the United States was 8.7% (nearly 30 million people). This statistic gauges the fluidity of the US populations and helps identify trends in mobility. 

Short-Distance Moves

When you examine short-distance moves within the same area, you can start to see patterns in local relocations. This is especially true when you examine specific age groups. Here are some short-distance moving trends today:

  • Short-distance permanent moves within the same county for people ages 25-34 declined to a rate of approximately 8.2% (about 27 million people). 
  • Short-distance moves represented the majority of domestic moves within the United States at approximately 60%. 

This statistic helps identify factors influencing individuals’ decisions to stay close or move within their current community.

Long-Distance Moves

An increase in long-distance moves suggests broader shifts in relocation patterns. According to an analysis of 2022 U.S. Census Bureau data published by Brookings, there was a slight increase in long-distance moves. Around 4.9 million Americans made interstate moves.

“We are continuing to see the trend that Americans are moving to more affordable, lower-density areas across the country, with many heading to Southern states,” said United Van Lines Vice President of Corporate Communications Eily Cummings. “Movers are also becoming more strategic with their planning, as relocation continues to be driven by factors such as the price of housing, regional climates, urban planning and job growth.” (Business Facilities: National Movers Study 2023)

States Outbound and Inbound Migration

States experiencing high outbound migration rates signify regions where more people are leaving than arriving. Conversely, states with high inbound migration rates attract more newcomers than they lose.

Top 10 States and Territories That People Left

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, here are the top 10 states and territories that people left in 2022 and their net migration rates. These states had the lowest percentages of net migration as percentages of their populations, meaning more people moved out than in.

New York: -1.13%

Illinois: -0.88%

Louisiana: -0.84%

Puerto Rico: -0.82%

Hawaii: -0.66%

California: -0.56%

Alaska: -0.51%

Maryland: -0.35%

New Jersey: -0.27%

Oregon: -0.24%

This list closely correlates to the list of states with the highest annual average cost of living, according to data published by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. New York, Hawaii, California, Alaska, Maryland, and Oregon ranked among the top 10 most expensive states in 2022. Researchers have found that due to higher costs of living, people opt to move to more affordable states to live in. 

Top 10 States and Territories That People Moved To

These states had the highest percentages of net migration of their populations, meaning that more people moved in than moved away.

Florida: 2%

South Carolina: 1.79%

Montana: 1.59%

Idaho: 1.57%

Delaware: 1.4%

Tennessee: 1.27%

Arizona: 1.27%

South Dakota: 1.23%

North Carolina: 1.18%

Texas: 1.16%

Based on these statistics, the trend of higher costs of living stays true to people moving to lower costing states, among other factors that are likely to play such as work opportunities or personal preferences. 

General Moving Statistics

The following are general moving trends and statistics in the United States:

  • Americans move 11.7 times on average in their lifetime (Consumer Affairs, 2023)
  • Nearly as many people move for housing reasons (41.6%) as for family (26.5%) or work (16.1%) combined. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2023)
  • The U.S. moving services industry reached a market size of $22.5 billion in 2022. (Statista, 2023)
  • Roughly 7,000 moving companies currently operate in the U.S., using 50,000 moving trucks and employing approximately 122,600 workers. (Consumer Affairs, 2023)
  • Approximately 73.7% of the weight of goods was moved less than 250 miles from its origin to its destination in 2023. (Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 2023)

flatrate moving truck in nyc Key Moving Statistics   Where are Americans Moving Today?

Average Monthly Rent in the Top 20 Cities in the US

According to RentHop, an analysis of rental prices reveals the finances of housing in the nation’s top 20 cities. Here’s a breakdown of the average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in each city per month:

U.S. Cities Average Rent per Month For a 2 Bedroom ($)
New York City, NY $4,995
Los Angeles, CA $3,199
Chicago, IL $2,100
Houston, TX $1,766
Phoenix, AZ $1,600
Philadelphia, PA $1,742
San Antonio, TX $1,395
San Diego, CA $2,950
Dallas, TX $2,250
San Jose, CA $2,900
Austin, TX $1,895
Jacksonville, FL $1,440
San Francisco, CA $3,895
Columbus, OH $1,295
Fort Worth, TX $1,500
Indianapolis, IN $1,250
Charlotte, NC $1,590
Seattle, WA $2,400
Denver, CO $2,200
Washington, D.C. $3,599


How Covid-19 Reshaped American Moving Patterns

The aftermath of COVID-19 has significantly altered the landscape of American migration patterns, with impacts on urban, suburban, and rural areas. According to a Stateline analysis of postal change-of-address forms, the first year of the pandemic saw a surge in moves out of densely populated city centers, followed by a slowdown in the subsequent year.

Immediate Impact of Covid

Shortly following the Covid pandemic, permanent moves across America spiked by 15% in March of 2020 compared to the same month in 2019. Due to noticeable increases in moves out of populated cities such as Brooklyn, Chicago, and Los Angeles shows that Americans were leaving highly populated areas with a higher cost of living. 

Where Did Everyone Go?

Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas witnessed an influx of out-of-state movers seeking spacious and affordable homes. Sun Belt regions with new housing developments reported higher inbound moves compared to outbound moves. People increasingly favored residential areas and suburbs within metro areas over central, dense neighborhoods. The pandemic accelerated an emphasis on remote work opportunities making commuting in relocation decisions almost obsolete. Urban areas like New York City and San Francisco have been slow to recover pre-pandemic moving patterns, possibly due to their high costs and reliance on public transportation. Recent data indicates a potential reversal of moving trends, with increased demand for rental apartments in urban areas, particularly among affluent, childless young adults working remotely.

Below is a table of the top 20 US States people lived in pre-Covid and post-Covid:

Rank Most Popular Pre-Covid Most Popular Post-Covid
1 California Texas
2 Illinois Florida
3 New York Tennessee
4 Texas North Carolina
5 Florida Arizona
6 Virginia Georgia
7 Washington Nevada
8 North Carolina Utah
9 Arizona Idaho
10 Georgia South Carolina
11 New Jersey Montana
12 Pennsylvania Wyoming
13 Ohio Arkansas
14 Massachusetts Alabama
15 Michigan Kentucky
16 Maryland Oklahoma
17 Colorado Mississippi
18 Connecticut New Hampshire
19 Minnesota West Virginia
20 Oregon Alaska

(Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)

General Moving Statistics – How People Move

When it comes to how people move, there are some common moving trends and patterns that can be useful to know in order to make your moving experience more smooth and efficient. These trends have to do with the move itself. For example, according to Architectural Digest Summer is typically the most common season of the year to move. Nearly 45% of annual moves take place between May and August. This information can be helpful to know because a busier moving season can result in higher moving costs and higher demand for movers. 

The most common dates to move are June 1st and 30th, with September 1st and 30th coming in slightly behind. Mondays are the most common day during the week to move, with 19% of moves taking place on Mondays. Here are the following days and their move percentages:

  • Monday 19%
  • Tuesday 12%
  • Wednesday 16%
  • Thursday 13%
  • Friday 17%
  • Saturday 15%
  • Sunday 8%

MoveBuddah conducted a survey of 15,000 people in the U.S. asking “If you have moved or were to move homes, how would you move?” The response is as follows:

  • Move Yourself, but Use a Moving Container: 15.7%
  • Hire Full Service Professional Movers: 22.7%
  • Move Yourself, but Rent a Moving Truck: 37.5%
  • DIY-Only Move (No rentals or pro-services): 24.1%

In decisions as large as policymaking, to individual moving stories, understanding the moving trends can help guide decisions. The statistics prove that about 8.7% of the population moves within the United States annually. Local relocations are the most popular, especially within the 25-34 age range. A small increase in long-distance moves suggests a pull towards outbound migration from higher cost of living states. Data-driven decision-making, strategic planning, and resource allocation are all things that influence moving trends and patterns.