According to the 2010 Atlas Van Lines Migration Patterns study, more Americans are on the move. In 2010, Atlas saw increases in the number of household moves, a possible sign that the economy is improving. Atlas' annual study has tracked the nation's moves since 1993.
For some states, outbound moves were high. Due to high unemployment, especially with declining manufacturing and automotive jobs, residents of the Rust Belt continue to relocate elsewhere. States adjacent to the Rust Belt saw a great increase in the number of inbound moves.
For the first time in two years, Kentucky joins its surrounding Mideast states — North Carolina, Maryland, and Washington D.C. — as inbound states. For the fifth 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.
Regardless of economic highs and lows, several states have remained constant in status for ten or more years. California, Kansas and South Carolina have been balanced, Indiana has been outbound, and Alaska and North Carolina have remained inbound.
As the year progressed, Atlas saw increases in the monthly totals of household moves. Summer months continued to see the highest number of moves per season. Overall, the total for 2010 was 74,541.
"Every year we look forward to sharing the results of the Atlas migration study — it is a great bellwether for the economic situation of the country," said Jack Griffin, president and COO of Atlas World Group. "The results are especially promising this year, as the number of moves has increased, with monthly numbers higher than last year's."
Here's a closer look at relocation patterns in 2010 as identified in the Atlas study:
Westward-Ho! Much of the West continues in a balanced state. For the first time in three years, Idaho moves from an outbound state to a balanced state, joining California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Montana, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona.
Déjà Vu For several states, economic ups and downs have had little influence on the number of residents moving in or out of that state. For ten or more years, six states — California, Alaska, North Carolina, Kansas, South Carolina, and Indiana — have remained constant in their inbound, outbound or balanced status in Atlas' annual study.
Silver Lining Despite high foreclosure rates and poor housing sales, a large pocket of southeastern states — including Florida, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina — saw no drastic increase in the number of outbound moves; in fact they remained balanced in their number of outbound and inbound moves. A reason for the balance could be these states' popularity as a retirement destination.
For full results of the migration survey and to view a map and annual histories for each state, visit www.atlasvanlines.com/migration-patterns/.
How status is determined 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).