Where is America moving? 2011 Migration Patterns

Atlas Van Lines had posted the 2011 Migration Patterns. Based on 80,289 Interstate and Cross-Border Household Goods Relocations from January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011.


Article on Atlas Van Lines or download the PDF file.

Where is America moving?


As it does every January, Atlas Van Lines reviews data on the origins and destinations of interstate moves during the last 12 months. The 2011 Migration Patterns study results provide a snapshot of relocation patterns, showing an overall increase in the number of moves over last year.


Southwestern and Mid-Atlantic coastal states were popular destinations in 2011. The Midwest continues to lose residents, but Michigan became a balanced state after six consecutive years of steady outbound moves. For the sixth year in a row, Washington, D.C. had the highest percentage of inbound moves, while Ohio came out the clear leader in the highest percentage of outbound moves.

Other migration trends:


Northern States

With the exception of New Hampshire, which went from an inbound to a balanced state, and Massachusetts, Connecticut and West Virginia, which transformed from balanced to outbound states, the Northern States saw relatively few changes in moving patterns from 2010 to 2011.


Southern States

The Southeast remains balanced with the exception of Louisiana, which switched from a balanced state to an outbound one in 2011. Southwest states Texas and New Mexico continue to be inbound states, as well as Mid-Atlantic states Virginia and North Carolina. After becoming a newly inbound state in 2010, Kentucky is now balanced.


Midwestern States

Again seeing the majority of its states with more outbound than inbound moves, the Midwest region only has three balanced states – Iowa, South Dakota and Michigan. Despite uncertain economic conditions, Michigan became a balanced state following a six-year streak as an outbound state. Wisconsin, Nebraska and Kansas finished 2011 as outbound states – all of which were previously classified as balanced states for seven, nine and 10 years in a row, respectively.


Western States

The annual study shows that the majority of the Western states remain balanced with only two states changing status. Utah is now an outbound state and Wyoming is now balanced.


How is a state classified?


Each state/province has a threshold value, which is the total number of shipments multiplied by 0.55 (for example, in a state with 100 moves, at least 55 of them would have to be outgoing to classify the state as outbound). A state/province is considered:

  • Outbound when outbound shipments exceed the threshold.
  • Inbound when inbound shipments exceed the threshold.


All other states are classified as balanced. Shipments noted for Canada are cross-border-to the United States or from the United States (not inter-provincial).