Outbound moves dominate inbound activity, van line reports


Delaware had the nation’s fourth-highest rate of outbound moves, according to an annual report from Atlas Van Lines.

The 2016 Atlas Van Lines Migration Patterns study found that 11 U.S. states, along with the nation’s capital, experienced a shift in migration status in 2016.

Delaware has seen far more outbound than inbound moves in the past decade. (See chart at left).

The study found that 26 states registered as balanced—meaning that moves in and out of the states were roughly equal—15 as outbound, and 9 as inbound, in addition to Washington, D.C.


The data showed the overall number of moves was down from 2015. The company has conducted the study since 1993.

Delaware continues to see population growth. However, the Atlas data could suggest that corporate relocaitons into the state are becoming less common and others coming into the state are using regional movers or renting their own trucks or trailers.

The 10 states with the highest percentage of inbound moves and outbound moves are included in order below. This is the first year Idaho has been the study’s inbound leader. Wyoming topped the outbound list back in 2012 as well.

Inbound Outbound

  1. Idaho (63 percent) 1. Wyoming (63 percent)
  2. Oregon (62 percent) 2. Nebraska (61 percent)
  3. North Carolina (61 percent) 3. Illinois (60 percent)
  4. Tennessee (60 percent) 4. Delaware (59.5 percent)
  5. Alaska (59 percent) 5. Louisiana (59 percent)
  6. Washington (58 percent) 6. Connecticut (58.9 percent)
  7. Michigan (57.2 percent) 7. New York (58.7 percent)
  8. Washington D.C. (57.1 percent) 8. West Virginia (58.6 percent)
  9. Florida (56 percent) 9. Indiana (58 percent)
  10. New Hampshire (55.1 percent) 10. South Dakota (57.6 percent)

Former inbound states Alabama, Maine, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Texas became balanced in 2016. After spending 2015 as balanced states, Michigan, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C. became inbound while Kansas shifted to outbound. In addition, Minnesota, New Jersey and Wisconsin changed from outbound to balanced in 2016.

In 2016, the total number of interstate and interprovincial moves reached 75,427, down from 77,705 in 2015. For the fifth consecutive year, the states with the highest number of total moves were California (14,995), Texas (11,973) and Florida (10,231).

“The moving industry as a whole has contracted annually over the last five years, but we have been fortunate to see a consistent increase in moves during that time until this year,” said Jack Griffin, CEO and vice chairman of Atlas World Group. “We are cautiously optimistic that we will see an uptick in 2017 for all types of moves, but we are aware of the economic headwinds that lie ahead of us.”



The Northeastern states saw four major changes from 2015 to 2016, with New Hampshire shifting from balanced to inbound and New Jersey from outbound to balanced. After spending 2015 as inbound, Rhode Island and Maine both became balanced in 2016. New Hampshire was the only inbound state in the region this year. New York has been outbound for more than 14 years.


The Southern region experienced three changes. Alabama shifted from inbound to balanced, and Texas shifted from inbound to balanced. Before this year, Texas had registered as inbound for more than a decade. Washington, D.C. changed from balanced to inbound.


In 2016, the Midwest registered three new balanced states, with Minnesota and Wisconsin both moving from outbound to balanced. For the first time since 2010, North Dakota shifted from inbound to balanced. Kansas went from balanced to outbound, and Michigan from balanced to inbound. Michigan was the only inbound state in the Midwest this year, a classification it hasn’t experienced in more than 10 years. In 2016, the region had its least amount of outbound states in recent years.

While the Western states experienced no classification changes from 2015 to 2016, the region did have the state withthehighest percentage of inbound moves in the country, with Idaho registering 63 percent of moves entering the state. The region also registered Wyoming with the highest percentage of outbound moves in the U.S., with 63 percent of moves exiting the state.

To view the full results of the 2016 migration patterns, along with a nationwide map and annual histories for each state, visithttp://atlasvanlines.com/migration-patterns/.

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