Where are They Going?

It’s 2018 and there’s an ever so interesting pattern of Americans relocating across the nation.  The ideals of living close to aging relatives and keeping the same job for 20+ years has vanished, making room for modernized moving habits. Who is moving exactly? Where are they moving to and why? The top states will be further evaluated in the context – the reasons may surprise you.

With a strengthening economy, the housing crisis of 2007 years in the past, millennials making a breakthrough in the job market, a new wave in geographic mobility takes over the more confident market. Statistics show, that now more than ever people are moving. Whether it be to explore life away from home an attend an out-of-state university, relocation for a job, entering into a completely different job market, differences in local economies, or just plane old preference and quality of life. Believe it or not, Americans are likely to move more than 11 times in their lifetime [1]. To focus more demographically, in recent years 17.3% of those that are moving to another state are under the age of 18. For those 65 years and older can account for 6.7% of out of state moves…helloooo Florida! The median age of movers from different states you ask? Around 28 years old [2]. To put this into perspective, in the state of California, in the year 2012 alone, approximately 493,641 people moved from other states to California. While that number may be alarming for a single state, the total moving out of California in 2012 was about 748,252 people. While those numbers solely reflect one state’s newcomers and leavers, data sources reveal that nearly 7.1 million Americans relocated to a different state within the U.S. during that year. So where are they going?

It’s obvious that different people have different reasons for moving. More often than not, the cost of living has a huge impact on these decisions. Texas, despite it being our second largest state in the U.S. (you forgot about Alaska, didn’t you) has a relatively lower cost of living from, let’s say Illinois. Data reveals that it is 21.51% cheaper to live in Houston, Texas than it is in the suburbs of Illinois [3]. In 2015, Texas experienced a 7.8% bump in population [4]. With this in mind, prices have begun to rise incrementally in various cities to make way for economic adjustment. Similarly, Jacksonville, Florida has experienced a 5% increase in migration, primarily from those in more expensive states just north of the Floridian paradise – New York and New Jersey.  More recent findings, from 2016, uncover the top states subject to domestic migration. The fastest growing states are as follows (listed in ascending order to highest population growth): Arizona (1.66%^), Colorado (1.68%^), Oregon (1.71%^), Washington (1.78%^),  Florida (1.82%^), Idaho (1.83%^), Nevada (1.95%^), Utah (2.03%^) [5]. Why these locations in particular? Beautiful views, nice weather, low taxation (if any), job growth, and housing opportunities.

On the contrary, these eight states are seeing a loss in population, despite some of them being prime tourist destinations: New York (-.01%), Mississippi (-.02%), Pennsylvania (-.06%),  Wyoming (-.18%), Connecticut (-.23%), Vermont (-.24%), Illinois (-.29%), and finally, West Virginia (-.54%) – that’s 10,000 people!

While natural growth, such as birth rate, accounts for nearly 55% of the national population increase, for the eight states detailed above, domestic migration was the largest contributing factor to population growth.  In sum, migration is responsible for 76% of all new state residents among the eight fastest-growing.

Let’s break things down a bit from a comparison standpoint. What is it that West Virginia (experiencing negative growth) lacks that states like Utah (the state with the most positive growth in population) possesses.

West Virginia:

  • 1 year population growth rate: -.54%
  • Has a relatively high death rate due to an older population
  • One of the lowest birth rates in the country
  • Unemployment rate is one of the highest at 5.4%
  • 17.9% of the state lives in poverty


  • 1 year population growth: 2.03%^
  • Has the largest average family size
  • Has the lowest death rate in the country due to a younger overall population
  • 3.1% unemployment rate
  • Beautiful scenery  and relatively low cost of living

Where are you headed? Should you be interested in moving within California, our residential experts are here to help. Moving out of the Golden State elsewhere? No problem, our relocation connections and nation-wide network are just a phone call away. Contact your preferred agent today!




[1] https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-many-times-the-average-person-moves/

[2] http://www.governing.com/gov-data/residents-moving-to-new-state-demographics-population-statistics.html

[3] https://www.bankrate.com/calculators/savings/moving-cost-of-living-calculator.aspx

[4] https://www.forbes.com/sites/karstenstrauss/2017/06/21/10-cities-americans-are-moving-to-and-where-they-are-moving-from/#4aac738a41b8

[5] https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/economy/2018/01/15/fastest-growing-and-shrinking-states-closer-look/1019429001/