Where Did Americans Move in 2023?

Data from three major moving companies illustrate which states are gaining and losing the most residents.

Three moving companies have released data showing the states where Americans predominantly moved in 2023.

Generally speaking, the data indicate that northern states collectively had the most outbound moves and southern states experienced the most inbound moves, although there were some exceptions.

United Van Lines

United Van Lines said in its 2023 National Movers Study that these were the top 10 inbound states for moves last year:

  1. Vermont 
  2. Washington, D.C. 
  3. South Carolina 
  4. Arkansas 
  5. Rhode Island 
  6. North Carolina 
  7. South Dakota 
  8. Alabama 
  9. New Mexico 
  10. West Virginia

The top outbound states were:

  1. New Jersey
  2. Illinois
  3. North Dakota
  4. New York
  5. Michigan
  6. California
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Kansas

Vermont has been the top inbound state for three consecutive years per the company’s data. The primary reason customers cited for relocating here was to be closer to family.

32.8% of United Van Lines customers reported that they relocated to Washington, DC because of a new job or transfer, and odds are that some of these individuals were federal employees.

Washington, DC, and the surrounding areas are home to the largest concentration of federal employees in the country. Over 390,000 federal employees are in the Washington-Baltimore-Arlington locality pay area.

The company also said that it has found that relocations to and from the DC region cycle in conjunction with a presidential election and expects that trend to continue in 2024.

For outbound moves, New Jersey has been the top state for six consecutive years. 65% of the company’s New Jersey moves were outbound. Retirement was the top reason cited for relocating.

“We are continuing to see the trend that Americans are moving to more affordable, lower-density areas across the country, with many heading to Southern states,” United Van Lines Vice President of Corporate Communications Eily Cummings said. “Movers are also becoming more strategic with their planning, as relocation continues to be driven by factors such as the price of housing, regional climates, urban planning and job growth.”  

Allied Van Lines

Allied Van Lines reported in its 2023 US Migration Report some differences in the top inbound and outbound states compared to United Van Lines.

The top inbound states in 2023 were:

  1. South Carolina
  2. Arizona
  3. Tennessee
  4. North Carolina
  5. Florida

The top outbound states were:

  1. Illinois
  2. California
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. Michigan
  5. Washington

The company said that the trend to move to southern states like South Carolina and Arizona is driven by a lower cost of living and better job prospects while the outbound moves from states like Illinois and California “suggest ongoing challenges related to living costs and economic factors.”

Allied Van Lines reported that interstate moves have declined significantly over the last two years. It said this was likely due to higher mortgage rates causing more people to be reluctant to move. The company said that rising home and rental prices as well as high inflation were likely contributing factors as well.


U-Haul is the third company to report moving data for 2023.

The top inbound states for its customers were:

  1. Texas
  2. Florida
  3. North Carolina
  4. South Carolina
  5. Tennessee
  6. Idaho
  7. Washington
  8. Arizona
  9. Colorado
  10. Virginia

It was the third year in a row that Texas and Florida came out on top. Texas has been the top inbound state for six of the last eight years.

The top outbound states were:

  1. California
  2. Michigan
  3. New Jersey
  4. Illinois
  5. Massachusetts

U-Haul said that California has been the top outbound state for its customers for four consecutive years.

U-Haul International president John “J.T.” Taylor said, “Migration to states in the Southeast and Southwest is still very pronounced. Demand for one-way equipment out of certain markets in the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast mirrors what we have seen during recent moving cycles.”

State Population Changes

Data from the Census Bureau reflect Americans’ migration patterns reported by these moving companies. The top inbound states have gained population in the last three years whereas the states reported as having the most outbound moves have declined in population.

From 2020 to 2023, among the states that were reported as having the most inbound moves, the population in Texas grew by 4.34%, Florida by 4.72%, South Carolina by 4.7%, and North Carolina by 3.65%.

Among states that have the most reported outbound moves, it’s no surprise that the populations declined over the same period. California’s population shrank by 1.36%, Illinois by 1.88%, and New York by 2.65%.

The state with the largest population growth from 2020-2023 was Idaho, and the state with the biggest decline was New York.

Regionally, the population data reflect the migration trends out of the northeast and midwest to the south. From 2020 to 2023, the northeast and midwest populations declined by 0.78% and 0.09%, respectively, while the south grew by 2.89%.

Some states bucked the trend though. Delaware grew by 4% and Louisiana and Mississippi both had population decreases of 1.68% and 0.63%, respectively.

Change in State Population 2020-2023

District of Columbia1.21%
New Hampshire1.69%
New Jersey0.20%
New Mexico-0.19%
New York-2.65%
North Carolina3.65%
North Dakota0.56%
Rhode Island-0.04%
South Carolina4.70%
South Dakota3.54%
West Virginia-1.20%
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.