Why families are fleeing certain states and moving to others

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Jacksonville, Florida, USA – April 28, 2013: Traffic on Interstate-95 drives past the Welcome to Florida sign en route to Jacksonville and beyond. (iStock)

Why families are fleeing certain states and moving to others

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Americans were on the move last year as the pandemic waned, with 36 million people changing addresses mostly in search of new jobs or to be closer to family, data show.

The numbers are almost evenly split, showing 64% changing their addresses for a new job or to reunite with family members, the latest United Van Lines study showed. And while employment was at the top of the list, this reason has declined 19% over the past two years, while being closer to family jumped 13%.


The next biggest reason for moving was retirement at 18%, followed by a lifestyle change (14%), health reasons (6%), and cost of living (7%).

“This new data from United Van Lines is indicative of COVID-19’s impact on domestic migration patterns, with 2021 bringing an acceleration of moves to smaller, mid-sized towns and cities,” said economist Michael A. Stoll with the University of California, Los Angeles.

“We’re seeing this not only occur because of Americans’ desire to leave high-density areas due to risk of infection, but also due to the transformation of how we’re able to work, with more flexibility to work remote,” he said.

But when it comes to businesses, the cost factor is rated first for those that moved between 2020 and 2022. As expected, California, with its high costs and extensive regulations, lost the most companies. Ninety-four corporations, including Tesla, Chevron, and Hewlett Packard, left the Golden State, mostly for a better profit margin, a BuildRemote study showed.

The states that lost the most residents are California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, according to the United States Postal Service change of address data for 2021. California lost 101,000 households, while runner-up New York saw 75,000 families leave. These two states have traditionally been the most expensive in the nation while also having the dubious honor of being leaders in crime and homelessness.

The traditionally low-cost southern states received the greatest influx of new residents, the USPS said. The leaders were Texas, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia — all Sunbelt states where families could escape the freezing temperatures from four of the five exodus states.

Interestingly, states receiving the most incoming families were all blue, while those that gained residents are red, with the exception of Georgia, a swing state.


Moody Analytics economist Adam Kamins suggested that people aren’t necessarily moving because of politics but rather wanting a better quality of life.

“So the biggest reason why people are moving to red states has to do with the fact that red states generally are cheaper,” Kamins told Yahoo Finance. “There’s more plentiful land. Housing costs are a lot lower, so they can get a bigger house. … It might mean warmer weather. It might mean parts of the Mountain West, just better scenery than you might get on parts of the East Coast. That is the single biggest set of factors, more than any one policy that’s driving it.”

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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