Moving 2018: To, From and Why

More than one-out-of-every 10 Americans move annually, with an average 35.5 million relocating each year from 2010 to 2017, according to (a site for people moving either themselves or with a professional moving firm).  Just 11 percent of the U.S. population moved in 2017, the lowest percentage seen since the U.S. Census Bureau commenced tracking these data in 1948.  In that initial year, more than 20 percent of the U.S. population moved.

Where did people move to in 2017?  According to a study by (an online resource for movers including checklists, instructions, considerations and access to professional movers), those moving in the US did as follows:

  • 62 percent remained in the same county
  • 34 percent relocated to a different county
  • 4 percent of those moved came from abroad

Why do people move?  According to’s latest survey:

16.0% Relocate to a new or better home
11.5% Establish their own household
11.3% Other family reasons
9.9% New job or job transfer
8.3% Cheaper housing
7.6% Other housing reasons
7.3% To own their home instead of rent
5.5% Closer to work or easier commute
5.1% Change in marital status
5.0% Unspecified
3.0% Attend or leave college
2.8% Better neighborhood with less crime


The American Moving and Storage Association segmented the data for 3 million interstate moves as follows:

  • 7% Professional movers
  • 3% Consumer rented a truck
  • 0 Unassisted Consumer

On a state level, there are some states with a greater percentage of people departing and some with arriving.  The next table shows the top 10 states based on the percentages of outbound versus inbound movers.   All but one of these states, Kansas, had a job growth rate for the 12-months ending August 2018 less than the U.S. 1.59 percent level.  Alaska, which had the 2nd greatest level of departures, had the worse job-loss rate of the country at -0.94 percent.

The next table shows those states with the largest ratio of departures compared to arrivals.  While seven of the top-10 job growth states were included in this list, three were not:  Montana with a 1.31 percent job growth rate, South Dakota at 1.45 percent and Vermont (with the second worse job loss rate at -0.57 percent).  Obviously, jobs are important but there are other factors in play.

A study by 24/7 Wall St ranked the top 50 U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas based on the most people moving out from 2010 to 2017.  The data were taken from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program.  The top-10 are listed in the following table.

Access the review of where and how Americans move by clicking

To read the 24/7 Wall St report and also view the top 50 out-migration cities click

These numbers are all likely to change given the revamp of Federal Income Tax Laws at the end of 2017.  Expect some states to see a growth in departures and others declines.  As noted earlier, however, these is no single factor impacting where Americans move away from nor to – but job and family almost always top the list.



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