The decade-long trend of more U.S. residents moving to a new state continued last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
About 41 million people in the U.S. moved in 2022, and almost 20%, or 8.2 million people, moved to a new state. In 2021, only 7.9 million relocated in a new state.
Most of that state-to-state movement between 2021 and 2022 involved the most populated states, which is to be expected, says Mehreen S. Ismail, a survey statistician at the U.S. Census Bureau.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey found that the highest number of moves were from California to Texas (102,442) and from New York to Florida (91,201).
But some people moved in the opposite direction. Texas had the highest retention rate, but most who did leave Texas headed for California (42,479) and Florida (38,207).
The West and the South continue to have the highest net population gains from moves, the ACS study found.
“The top flows … were pretty expected, because they did tend to be the larger states, and also people moving between states that neighbor each other, for example: From New York to New Jersey was a large flow,” says Ismail.
Another big neighbor grab was Florida to Georgia.
“Something that did pop out, though, in another part of the analysis,” Ismail says, “was that the District of Columbia had one of the highest migration rates, and the District of Columbia had one of the highest immigration rates.”
That means that the first full year after the-Covid 19 pandemic had a lot of home turnover both coming and going in the nation’s capital. Of those who moved, comers were 44.3% in 2022, while goers were 46.6%.
Likewise, neighboring Maryland sent 13,093 new residents to D.C., but that many plus 4,677 more left D.C. for Maryland and Virginia, study respondents reported.
“So, to see some of these relative numbers can give a different picture of what migration is really looking like,” says Ismail.
Meanwhile, United Van Lines’ and U-Haul’s annual survey of its customers found that retiring baby boomers and early Gen Xers drove migration to Eastern states this year.
The biggest share of their customers left big population centers in New Jersey, Illinois and New York (#3) for the roomier states of Vermont, Oregon and Rhode Island.
Sunshine seekers trended toward the Carolinas, Alabama and New Mexico, in the moving companies’ study. Falling out of grace and new to the top 10 outbound states were Wyoming and Pennsylvania.
Most customers were moving for new jobs or company transfers, but not all of them.
Delaware and New Mexico were new-home destinations for a lot of their customers who were retiring.
Current Population Survey
Bigger homes and better neighborhoods remained the biggest reason to move, more often locally and in-state, writes Kristin Kerns-D’Amore, another Census Bureau survey statistician.
But those reasons fell a few percentage points in the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement.
One of the big gainers for why people moved was marriage, divorce and other changes in marital status, Kerns-D’Amore writes.
That may have been a result of people resuming plans that the pandemic put on hold, she writes.
A greater share of movers last year also came back from abroad, that survey found.
Linda Hildebrand is a longtime newspaper editor and consumer reporter.