Where are Americans Moving?

Despite the 2020 pandemic, this year Americans are following similar moving trends as prior years. Millions of Americans are moving either to start a new job or to move home. Whether you’re looking to move or not, it can help to know where Americans are moving. The following historical U.S. migration study details the states with the most outbound and inbound cross country moves.

Key Takeaways from 2020 Migration Report

  • People are fleeing California for Texas and Idaho
  • Illinois, New York, and New Jersey are the three states with the most outbound moves.
  • The top five inbound states in 2020 are Idaho, Arizona, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina, with Tennessee overtaking South Carolina from the 2019 results.
  • Florida, Texas, and Colorado round out the top eight states for inbound moves.
  • Despite pandemic, people continued to move at rates comparable to 2019.


Additional Takeaways

Northeastern States Take Lead in Outbound Migration

Northeastern states make up four out of the seven states with the most outbound moves, and none of them make the top eight for inbound moves. New York led the way, followed by New Jersey and Maryland. But California edged out Maryland for fourth place on the outbound list. Pennsylvania and Michigan also made the list, and both states have made the top 10 fairly consistently for the past few years. Maryland has made the list for outbound moves since 2015, and it has ranked between second and fifth places. In 2020, it took fifth place.

Southern States: Sunbelt Migration Trend Continues

States in the south consistently rank well in the list of inbound moves. On average, states throughout the southeast, south and southwest continue to see their populations grow as more individuals relocate there than leave the region.

Arizona and South Carolina have been in the top five inbound states since 2015. Meanwhile, North Carolina and Tennessee have always been on the list but reached the top five in 2016. While Tennessee usually sat in fifth place or so, it is now in third place for inbound moves.

Midwestern states: Second to North East in Outbound Migration

States in the Midwest tend to rank on the outbound list along with Northeastern states. Michigan has made the top 10 since the 2015 study. It has steadily climbed to the top five, taking fourth place in 2020.

Illinois has also been in the top 10 consistently over the past few years. However, it only comes in ninth place for outbound moves in the 2020 list. The state sits at around 30 to 35% of individuals migrating out of the state throughout the years.

Western states Still a Draw for Inbound Moves With Some Exceptions

In general, people are consistently moving to Western states. Idaho has made the top 10 each year since 2015. Colorado has been in the top 10 or close to it for each of those years. Most years, Idaho has come out on top for the most inbound moves, and 2020 is no exception. The state has consistently reached about 65 percentage points for inbound moves.

Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have made the top inbound list in years past, but they didn’t make the cut for 2020.

Our Methodology

For this report, we reviewed data for household moves in and out of the states. We focused on states with a high proportion of inbound or outbound moves, and we set an absolute value of 400 or greater. By setting that value, we took out smaller states that may have had fewer moves but a larger proportion, skewing the data.

Migration Map 2020