Idaho was the top moving destination in 2019, survey finds

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New Jersey led the nation with the most people moving out

Americans remained on the move in 2019, and United Van Lines, a nationwide moving company, says the highest percentage of consumers who moved chose Idaho.

That might be surprising until you realize that United’s annual ranking isn’t based on raw numbers. Instead, the company compares the percentage of those moving into a state against those moving out. When measured that way, Idaho leads the nation with an inbound migration of 67.4 percent. A lot more people chose to move to Idaho rather than leave.

For the second straight year, the survey found New Jersey led the nation with the highest percentage of residents who packed up and left, with an outbound migration of 68.5 percent.

If Idaho strikes you as an unusual choice, consider that baby boomers tended to move the most in 2019. People between the ages of 55 and 74 accounted for more than 45 percent of all inbound United Van Lines moves in 2019.

Boomers moved to a different drum

Boomers’ parents’ generation might have favored Florida as a retirement destination, but boomers have always done things differently. Oregon, at 65.7 percent inbound, was right behind  Idaho as the second most popular moving destination nationally, recording more than 2,800 total moves. 

In fact, destinations west of the Mississippi River placed high in the 2019 rankings, with Arizona seeing inbound traffic at 63.2 percent, Washington at 59.5 percent, and New Mexico at 43.9 percent. Each of those states placed in the top 10 in the 2019 rankings.

Some southeastern states -- including South Carolina and North Carolina -- were popular moving destinations last year. Twenty-four percent of the moves were because of retirement, but the majority -- 46 percent -- were the result of employment changes.

"Key factors like the baby boomer generation relocating upon reaching retirement age as well as states' economic performances and housing costs drove these 2019 moving patterns," said Michael Stoll, economist and professor in the Department of Public Policy at UCLA. "United Van Lines' study encompasses data consistent with the broader migration trends to western and southern regions that we've been seeing for several years now."

Not-so-popular destinations

Besides New Jersey, other states in the northeast were more likely to see residents leave than move in. New York recorded an outbound percentage of 63.1 percent, with Connecticut right behind at 63 percent.

California was an outlier in the West, with fewer people moving in than moving out. According to the survey, California’s outbound percentage was 56.9 percent

If you think you might be moving in 2020 it’s not too soon to start checking out moving companies. ConsumerAffairs has collected thousands of reviews of the best moving companies here.

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