We’re not sure what’s more fun: Reporting on the annual migration study by United Van Lines or watching the spin/outrage/debate that follows after it is revealed that New Jersey — for the third consecutive year — has the highest outmigration rate of any state in the country.
According to United Van Lines’ 43rd annual National Migration Study, New Jersey had the highest percentage of outbound migration (70%) of any state in the country. It was followed by New York (67%), Illinois (67), Connecticut (63%) and California (59%).
What that means: Of all the moves United Van Lines did involving New Jersey, 70% were for people moving out — meaning only 30% were for people moving in.
The top inbound states were Idaho (70%), South Carolina (64%), Oregon (63%), South Dakota (62%) and Arizona (62%).
The results are not surprising, said Michael A. Stoll, an economist and professor in the department of public policy at UCLA.
“United Van Lines’ data makes it clear that migration to western and southern states, a prevalent pattern for the past several years, persisted in 2020,” he said.
That being said, Stoll is quick to point out that 2020 was unlike any other year in recent memory. Unlike any other year in the past century — or since the last pandemic — one could argue.
“We’re seeing that the COVID-19 pandemic has, without a doubt, accelerated broader moving trends, including retirement — driving top inbound regions as the baby boomer generation continues to reach that next phase of life,” he said.
The survey indicated 40% of Americans who moved did so for a new job or job transfer (down from prior years), and more than 1 in 4 (27%) moved to be closer to family (which is significantly up over prior years).
Data from March to October 2020 showed the COVID-19 pandemic influenced Americans’ decisions to move, too.
For customers who cited COVID-19 as an influence on their move in 2020, the top reasons associated with COVID-19 were concerns for personal and family health and well-being (60%) and the desire to be closer to family (59%).
It also found that 57% moved due to changes in employment status or work arrangement (including the ability to work remotely) and that 53% desired a lifestyle change or improvement of quality of life.
What does this all mean? We’re not sure.
After all, this is just one moving company — and it doesn’t take into account those who moved without a moving company. That’s why we’ll leave it for others to debate.
Here’s all we know: We’d rather be in New Jersey than Idaho.