If it’s tough to tell sometimes if you’re coming or going, there is at least one well-known company that keeps close tabs on movement. United Van Lines, long in the business of moving people from point A to point B, issues an annual “migration study” that tracks where people are moving to, and moving from. In 2012, more folks were going than coming to Connecticut, by a ratio of 56 percent to 44 percent, putting the state squarely among the top 10 outward bound leaders. The pattern was similar throughout the Northeast. New Jersey (62 percent) displaced the outbound leader from last year, Illinois (60 percent) reclaiming the top spot for high-outbound migration that it held in 2010. In addition to New Jersey, New York (58 percent), Maine (56 percent) and Connecticut (56 percent) are also included.
Michigan (58 percent) and Wisconsin (55 percent) along with Illinois represented the Great Lakes region. Michigan fell to the No. 6 from the No. 4 spot it held in 2011. Previously, it had claimed the top outbound spot every year from 2006-2009. Kentucky (55 percent) joined West Virginia (58 percent) as the only Southern states to appear on the high outbound list. New Mexico (58 percent) was the only Western state to appear on the list. The top 10 outbound states for 2012 were:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
- New York
- New Mexico
That’s one list that states would prefer not to be included on. United has tracked migration patterns annually on a state-by-state basis since 1977. For 2012, the study is based on all household moves handled by United within the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C. United classifies states as "high inbound" if 55 percent or more of the moves are going into a state and "high outbound" if 55 percent or more moves were coming out of a state or "balanced" if the difference of inbound and outbound is negligible. The top-five inbound states of 2012 were 1) District of Columbia, 2) Oregon, 3) Nevada, 4) North Carolina and 5) South Carolina.
The Western United States is also represented on the high-inbound list with Oregon (61 percent) and Nevada (58 percent) both making the list. Oregon is number two for inbound migration for the third year in a row. Nevada returned to the high inbound traffic for the second consecutive year. The Carolinas each made the top five with North Carolina at 56 percent and South Carolina at 55 percent inbound moves.
Several states gained approximately the same number of residents as those that left. Those states include New Hampshire from the New England region, and the states of Louisiana, Iowa, Indiana, North Dakota, and Maryland. This is the fifth consecutive year the District of Columbia (64 percent) was the top moving destination in the United States. That trend may continue in 2013, what with members of Congress and the Cabinet coming and going.