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Here are the most popular states people are moving to — and leaving

South Dakota led the list of top states to move to, according to a yearly survey conducted by United Van Lines. States were ranked in the study by the proportion of people moving in versus those moving out, not the total number of new residents in each state.
South Dakota led the list of top states to move to, according to a yearly survey conducted by United Van Lines. States were ranked in the study by the proportion of people moving in versus those moving out, not the total number of new residents in each state. Flickr

Big coastal cities might get the spotlight when it comes to new people moving in, but the most popular states people are moving into tend to be in the Midwest and Pacific West, according to a moving company’s new survey.

A yearly survey conducted by United Van Lines indicated that the states people are moving to most are predominantly Midwestern or mountain states, with South Dakota leading the pack. More than 65 percent of United moving requests in South Dakota were inbound, and the state has climbed steadily in United’s survey since 1977.

States were ranked in the study by the proportion of people moving in versus those moving out, not the total number of new residents in each state. The study was also based on household moves done by United, which surveyed customers on the reasons for their move.

The other most popular states were, in order of popularity, Vermont, Oregon, Idaho, South Carolina, Washington, North Carolina, Nevada and Arizona. Though not a state, the District of Columbia also ranked highly as a moving destination on the 2016 list.

The state with the most people moving out was New Jersey, which for the fifth year in a row led the list of states people are leaving. Illinois, New York, Connecticut, Kansas and Kentucky also ranked on the list of outbound states.

The most popular reasons across the board for moving were job changes or retirement, though customers who moved south also indicated that being closer to family factored into their relocation.

According to a 2015 study, millennials are still the most likely to move, and often. But in a press release, UCLA professor Michael Stoll credited the trend in the United study to retirees’ choices to move when they leave their job.

“We are seeing more retirees than ever decide to relocate, and as a result, new retirement hubs are popping up in Western states,” Stoll said. “Interestingly enough, these retirees are leaving at such a fast pace that the movement of millennials to urban areas in the Midwest and Northeast is being overshadowed.”

States’ popularity might not just be limited to permanent moves: Idaho, which ranked fourth on the inbound list, also got a shoutout in a recent Vogue roundup of top travel destinations for the new year. Alongside countries like Jordan and Sri Lanka, Idaho’s Boise was praised as “one of America’s most desirable second-tier cities.”

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