Here’s what the latest statistics say about migration patterns in America.


Who’s moving where in our country? United Van Lines recently released the company’s 44th Annual National Migration Study that revealed that Americans in 2020 continued to move westward and southbound. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic factored into and accelerated many decisions to move. 


I was particularly interested in this article because I had an inkling that my state was near the top of the list. As it happens, Idaho had the highest percentage of inbound migration at 70% (among states experiencing more than 250 moves with United Van Lines). That marks the second consecutive year Idaho has topped the list. 


Outside of Idaho, the states with the highest inbound migration were South Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, and Arizona. In terms of outbound migration (i.e., where people were moving from), the top states were New York, Illinois, Connecticut, and California. Most of the people coming to our area are from California, Arizona, Texas, Washington, and Oregon. As you can see, most migrants from the westerly states are staying in their region but relocating to Idaho.


"Americans in 2020 continued to move westward and southbound."

What are the reasons behind these migration patterns? According to United Van Lines, 40% moved because of a new job or job transfer—which is significantly down from prior years—and 27% moved to be closer to family—which is significantly up from prior years. Data from March to October also revealed that the pandemic did indeed influence Americans’ decision to move. For those who cited the pandemic as an influence on their move, the top reasons were the health and wellbeing of themselves and their family (60%), the desire to be closer to family (59%), and changes in employment (57%). Basically, this means a lot of people figured since they were working from home, they could work anywhere and wanted a better quality of life. Of course, Idaho is a fabulous place to be. 


As I already alluded to above, United Van Lines’ data makes it clear that migration to western and southern states has been and continues to be a prevalent pattern. For retirement purposes, Montana and Delaware experienced more inbound migration than any other state, followed by Florida and South Carolina. The primary reason more people overall moved to Idaho is our favorable cost of living. I don’t know how long this favorable cost of living will last, but I do know Idaho is a great place to live!


If you’d like to take a deeper dive into this data, use this link to see United Van Lines’ interactive map. If you have questions about this topic, don't hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to help you.