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Who’s Moving to the South?

See moving trends for Southern states

by James Grosz ConsumerAffairs Research Team
whos moving to the south

Interstate migration trends in the South are largely regional. The neighboring regions, mainly the Northeast and the West, are large contributors of movers to the South. People also move from state to state within the region. In helping more than 120,000 people move, we’ve discovered that Americans move for many reasons, including better housing, being closer to family and starting new jobs. We analyzed these moving trends among prospective movers and used the U.S. Census Bureau’s definition of South to figure out what states are driving people to move to the region. See who’s moving into your state, or find out if you’re in good company in making the move from another part of the country to the South.

How did we do it?

These charts were created using voluntary user data collected from the Matching Tool application on our Moving Companies Buyers Guide. Prospective movers’ origins and destinations were then analyzed to determine domestic migration trends. We included moving data for all 16 states in the South in the study, as well as from major cities that had enough data to support reliable conclusions. We referred to the U.S. Census Bureau in determining how to define the four regions of the United States.

State-by-state breakdown

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost 38 percent of the U.S. population lives in the South. The 2017 U.S. Migration Report compiled by the North American Moving Company shows that the Southern states have had more inbound moves than the other regions.

1. Alabama

Alabama gets most of its movers from within the Southern region. Texas is the leading contributor of movers to Alabama, with California trailing not far behind. Other sources of movers are Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Louisiana.

Jefferson County

Jefferson County is home to Birmingham, the seat of Jefferson County and the most populous city in Alabama. This county receives a significantly large portion of movers from Florida. It also gets more movers from New York, Tennessee and Texas but fewer movers from California.

2.  Arkansas

The largest numbers of movers to Arkansas come from California and Texas. Florida also contributes a significant portion of movers to Arkansas.

3.  Delaware

Delaware gets the bulk of its movers from the Northeast because of its proximity to the region. Prospective movers to Delaware primarily come from Pennsylvania and New Jersey. New York and Maryland also contribute significant numbers of movers to Delaware. A notable number of Californians are also moving to Delaware

4.  Florida

The largest group of movers to Florida come from New York. A notable portion of movers include people from California and New Jersey. Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Rhode Island are outliers. Interestingly, a significant volume of internal migrations appears to be taking place as Floridians move from one place to another within their state.

Jacksonville

Jacksonville gets a considerable proportion of movers from within Florida than any of the major cities or the whole of the state. The largest portion of movers to Jacksonville are Floridians themselves, indicating that Jacksonville is a primary destination for state residents.

Miami

In contrast to Jacksonville, Miami gets a large portion of movers from nearby regions. Compared to the entire state of Florida, a large number of movers to Miami come from the West, mainly California, and a smaller proportion from Southern states. The proportion of Massachusetts movers to Miami is almost twice the proportion of people moving to all of Florida. This qualifies Massachusetts as an outlier.

Tampa

Tampa has a significantly smaller proportion of movers from California compared to the entirety of Florida. Its share of Western movers is also higher than that of the entire state due to more movers from other Western states like Washington and Colorado.

Orlando

The inbound movers of Orlando are made up of more Westerners and fewer Southerners compared to the entirety of Florida where intrastate movement is prevalent. Significantly, California is a major contributor of movers to Orlando in contrast to the overall state trend.

5.  Georgia

Georgia gets the majority of its movers from its fellow Southern states. Georgia gets the highest number of movers from California, followed by Florida

Atlanta

In contrast to the statewide trend, Atlanta gets a substantial proportion of movers from the Northeast and a smaller share of Southern movers. Atlanta also has a higher percentage of potential movers from New York than the entirety of Georgia.

6.  Kentucky

The largest group of movers to Kentucky are Californians. The Southern states, mainly Texas, Georgia and Florida, also contribute a large portion of prospective movers. A fair number of people from nearby Ohio, Illinois and Indiana are also moving to Kentucky. In this case, Indiana is an outlier.

7.  Louisiana

A majority of movers come from the Southern region. Due to its proximity and large population, Texas is the biggest contributor of movers to Louisiana. While it’s not located in the South, California is the second highest contributor of movers to Louisiana.

New Orleans

Compared to the entirety of Louisiana, New Orleans gets a significantly higher number of movers from the Northeast rather than the South. While Texan movers to New Orleans decreased, New York movers increased.

8.   Maryland

California, more than any other state, contributes a notably higher number of movers to Maryland, with Florida and New York coming in as the next biggest contributors of movers. Surprisingly, Maryland’s bordering states Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia provide relatively small numbers of movers to Maryland. However, its other nearby neighbor Washington D.C. provides an inordinate number of movers to Maryland, qualifying it to be an outlier.

Baltimore

In contrast to the entirety of Maryland, Baltimore sees more New Yorkers than Californians move in, making New York an outlier. Overall, the city has more movers from the Northeast than the West.

9.  Mississippi

The Southern states are the biggest contributors of movers to Mississippi. Nearby Texas has the most number of movers. Significant numbers also come from Illinois and Tennessee. Unlike with other states, Florida, New York and California contribute negligible numbers of movers to Mississippi.

10.  North Carolina

California is the largest source of movers to North Carolina. New York and Florida come in close second and third, respectively. North Carolina sees very little movement from its neighboring states. North Carolina gets noticeably more movers from Northeastern states, unlike many other states in the South. Connecticut and New Hampshire qualify as outliers.

Charlotte

Compared to the whole of North Carolina, Charlotte gets a larger proportion of its movers from large states like California, New York, and especially Texas. Like the rest of North Carolina, Connecticut is an outlier.

Raleigh

Raleigh’s movers mix is more Southern than the rest of North Carolina’s. The city gets a significantly higher proportion of potential movers from Maryland than does the entire state of North Carolina.

11.  Oklahoma

California contributes the biggest number of movers to Oklahoma, followed by Texas. Florida and Georgia also provide a modest volume of movers to Oklahoma.

Tulsa County

Home to the city of Tulsa, Tulsa County has a relatively similar mix of regional and state movers as the entirety of Oklahoma. Unlike Oklahoma, however, the county has a slightly higher proportion of movers from California.

12.  South Carolina

Florida and California are the largest contributors of movers to South Carolina. New York and Virginia movers also make up a significant portion of inbound migration to South Carolina. Compared to the movers to surrounding states, more movers to South Carolina come from the Northeast, with Connecticut and Delaware being outliers.

13.  Tennessee

Movers to Tennessee come from various regions. From the West, California is the largest source of prospective movers to Tennessee. From the South, Florida comes in as the second biggest contributor of movers. Illinois, from the Midwest, also contributes a significant number of movers to Tennessee.

Nashville

Compared to Tennessee as a whole, Nashville receives more Western movers than Southern movers. More Californians and fewer Floridians are moving into Tennessee.

14.  Texas

California contributes a vast majority of movers to Texas. Florida and New York also add to the pool of movers. Internal migration is prevalent in the state because of its size. Outliers include New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming and Washington, D.C. Among other Southern states, Texas gets the most noticeable number of prospective movers from outside the 50 states, mainly Puerto Rico.

Houston

Compared to the whole of Texas, Houston receives more Northeastern movers and less Western movers, with far more New Yorkers and far fewer Californians. This makes New York the biggest source of movers.

San Antonio

Compared to the entirety of Texas, Austin gets fewer Midwesterners and Westerners and more Southerners. Accordingly, fewer Californians and more Floridians are moving into Austin.

Dallas

In relation to the state of Texas, Dallas has more Westerners than Midwesterners moving in. Proportionately, the number of movers from California is larger than that of the entire state.

Austin

Austin gets more Westerners and Midwesterners and fewer Southerners. The city also receives more Californians and New Yorkers.

15.  Virginia

Despite its proximity to the Northeast, Virginia gets movers mainly from the South, with Florida and Texas as the major sources of movers. Notwithstanding this trend, California is still the biggest contributor of movers to Virginia.

Richmond

Even as Southern movers dominate the whole state of Virginia, Richmond gets far more movers from the Northeast and less from the West. The proportion of movers from New York to Richmond is larger than that of the entirety of Virginia. Compared to Virginia, Californians make up a smaller proportion of movers going to Richmond, while Texans make up a larger proportion.

16.  West Virginia

West Virginia gets most of the movers from the South, but nearby Pennsylvania contributes the largest number of movers. Maryland and Florida also provide a big portion of movers to West Virginia.

Conclusion

Overall, Californians, Floridians, Texans and New Yorkers dominate the movers pool in the South. Moving trends also indicate that people want to move to nearby states, except for Californians and Floridians who are located at opposite ends of the country.

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by James Grosz ConsumerAffairs Research Team

James is a junior data scientist on the ConsumerAffairs Research Team. When he's not combing through data, James enjoys coding games and playing with his cat Simba.