BAM Key Details: 

  • On January 2, 2024, United Van Lines (UVL) released their 47th Annual National Movers Study, showing where (and why) Americans moved in 2023 and highlighting the states with the highest shares of inbound and outbound moves. 
  • The 2023 study shows the highest numbers of Americans moving eastbound and southbound to less expensive metros as Western states top the outbound list. 
  • The 2023 U-Haul Growth Index also highlights the top 10 states for growth, based on the largest numbers of movers in one-way U-Haul equipment rentals. For the third consecutive year, Texas ranked at #1, netting the largest number of movers. 

The U-Haul Growth Index for 2023 highlights the top 10 states for growth, based on the largest numbers of movers headed to those states using one-way U-Haul equipment rentals. 

Texas topped the list, with Florida close behind—both holding their spots for the third consecutive year—followed by North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. 

Meanwhile, United Van Lines has released its 47th Annual National Movers Study, with insights based on the company’s exclusive data for customers’ state-to-state migration patterns. 

The study reveals which states and regions had the highest numbers for inbound and outbound moves in 2023. And the West topped the outbound list as Americans moved south and east to less expensive metros with comparable amenities. 

Read on for the highlights.

2023 U-Haul Growth Index puts Texas and Florida at the top—for the third straight year

In 2023, Texas had the largest number of inbound movers with one-way U-Haul equipment rentals, marking the third straight year it has topped the list of leading growth states in the U.S. 

U-Haul bases its growth ranking on over 2.5 million one-way equipment rental transactions made every year across the U.S. and Canada—specifically each state’s annual net gain (or loss) of one-way equipment from customer transactions. 

U-Haul’s top 10 states for growth in 2023

  1. Texas
  2. Florida
  3. North Carolina
  4. South Carolina
  5. Tennessee
  6. Idaho
  7. Washington
  8. Arizona
  9. Colorado
  10. Virginia

Texas has ranked at #1 for six out of the past eight years, topping the list from 2016 to 2018 and from 2021 to 2023. For that eight-year stretch, it’s ranked no lower than #2. 

Florida has been in the top four for nine years straight, taking the number one spot in 2019. 

The biggest year-over-year climbers in U-Haul Growth rankings for 2023:

  1. Arkansas (+26 spots)
  2. Wyoming (+19)
  3. Vermont (+18)
  4. Washington (+16)
  5. Delaware (+12)
  6. South Dakota (+12)

The biggest year-over-year sliders in U-Haul Growth rankings for 2023:

  1. Oregon (-15 spots)
  2. Connecticut (-14)
  3. Pennsylvania (-14)
  4. Ohio (-14)
  5. Missouri (-13)
  6. Indiana (-13)

For the fourth consecutive year, California has seen the largest net loss of one-way inbound movers according to U-Haul rental data. 

U-Haul’s bottom five states for growth in 2023

  1. California
  2. Michigan
  3. New Jersey
  4. Illinois
  5. Massachusetts
  6. New York

While one-way transactions in 2023 remained below the record-breaking levels we witnessed immediately following the pandemic, we continued to see many of the same geographical trends from U-Haul customers moving between states.

Migration to states in the Southeast and Southwest is still very pronounced. Demand for one-way equipment out of certain markets in the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast mirrors what we have seen during recent moving cycles. Wherever DIY customers go, and whatever mobility and self-storage needs they have in 2024, U-Haul will be there with solutions.

John "J.T." Taylor

U-Haul International president

Read the full report for more information.

Vermont tops the UVL list of inbound states as New Jersey ranks #1 for outbound moves

For the third straight year, more Americans moved to Vermont than any other state, with 65.5% of total moves in 2023 being inbound. About 34.5% were outbound. 

Of the top reasons for moving to Vermont, the most popular (29%) was moving closer to family, followed by lifestyle change (20%). 

Several states in the Southeast region saw a continued increase in popularity among movers, including— 

  • South Carolina (63%)
  • North Carolina (60%) 
  • Alabama (60%)

Two states rose in popularity in 2023 and joined the top ten:

  • Arkansas—moving from #18 (2022) to #4 (2023)
  • West Virginia—moving from #13 to #10

The top inbound states of 2023

  1. Vermont (65% of total moves were inbound)
  2. Washington, D.C. (63%)
  3. South Carolina (63%)
  4. Arkansas (60%)
  5. Rhode Island (60%)
  6. North Carolina (60%)
  7. South Dakota (60%)
  8. Alabama (60%)
  9. New Mexico (60%)
  10. West Virginia (58%)

On the flipside, for the sixth year in a row, more Americans moved out of New Jersey than from any other state. Retirement was the top motivator, accounting for 27% of these outbound moves. 

The outbound trend also continued in the Midwest and West regions, with Illinois, Michigan, and California all included among the top 10 states with high shares of outbound moves in 2023. 

Two newcomers to the list saw significant drops in their inbound ranking in 2023 and joined the top 10 outbound states: 

  • North Dakota—moving from #18 (2022) to #3 on the list
  • Kansas—moving from #14 to #8. 

The top outbound states of 2023

  1. New Jersey (65% of total moves were outbound)
  2. Illinois (61%)
  3. North Dakota (61%)
  4. New York (60%)
  5. Michigan (58%)
  6. California (58%)
  7. Massachusetts (57%)
  8. Kansas (55%)

And for the first time in over a decade, the study’s results list fewer than 10 outbound states. 

The study also revealed an increase in the number of states with less than 55% of recorded moves by United Van Lines as affordability constraints caused fewer Americans to relocate in 2023, compared to the year before. 

Several states also had close to the same shares of residents moving inbound and outbound. For example: 

  • Nebraska (46.8% inbound / 53.2% outbound)
  • Utah (50.2% inbound / 49.8% outbound)

Metros areas with more outbound than inbound moves in 2023 tended to see less growth in their working-age population. 

The study highlighted the primary reasons for interstate moves to shed light on migration patterns. The leading motivator in 2023 was a career change, with 29% of interstate movers relocating for a new job or for a company transfer. 

Among other reasons for moving across state lines, wanting to live closer to family (27%) and retirement (14%) declined from the year before as movers increasingly prioritized affordable housing and locations with a lower cost of living. Movers in 2023 tended to relocate to take advantage of lower living and housing costs in more affordable metros with less competition in the housing market.

In fact, speaking of the current market, housing affordability is the top consideration for both buyers and sellers planning to move from one state to another. 

Of the 50 largest U.S. metros by population, the top markets for net inbound moves by United Van Lines included Charlotte, NC, and Indianapolis, IN. 

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. 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.

Eily Cummings

United Van Lines Vice President of Corporate Communications

Read the full report for more information.