The COVID-19 pandemic has been tricky on anyone planning to move. For some, lockdowns and closures delayed moving plans, while for others, the new work from home reality inspired them to finally move to their dream location.

Some families decided to move closer to relatives to ride out the pandemic with, and some stayed in town but moved to a bigger home to better accommodate working and schooling from home.

With moving statistics all over the map, let’s look at what moving trends are in store for each state in 2021.

Pandemic Moving Trends in 2020

According to the latest census, 31 million Americans moved in 2019. It’s still unclear how many people moved in 2020; however, these states reported the most growth.

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • North Carolina
  • Texas

Reasons for more people moving to these states vary, but they have a lot to do with the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, more affordable living and pandemic relief benefits were attractive factors.

People who lost work due to the pandemic also found themselves moving for a new job opportunity. City-dwellers reported moving so they could spread out more and feel safer away from the crowded cities.

All in all, lockdowns, closures, and new remote working situations made people feel less attached to their location and opened up moving opportunities that they didn’t consider before.

moving couple

2021 Moving Trends

How will the 2020 moving trends impact 2021? As the pandemic rages on, will more relocating occur, or will the vaccine rollout encourage people to stay put?

According to The Neighbor 2020-2021 American Migration Report, more people will reportingly move in 2021 than in 2020. The survey reveals that people aren’t moving because of the pandemic as much in 2021, but lifestyle changes due to the pandemic may actually be allowing them to move.

The number one reason people reported planning to move in 2021 is to have lower living expenses, which in many ways have been impacted by the pandemic thanks to renting prices being at an all-time low.

Homeownership will be up in 2021, especially as people trade out their apartment in the city for a home in the suburbs with more space to spread out.

More outdoor space, kitchen space, storage, and room to work from home will be important factors for house-hunters in 2021. A draw towards nature is also expected after months of being primarily indoors.

Most Americans move in the summer. It’s possible that the pandemic will change up that trend in 2021, but only time will tell.

Moving Trends by State

Let’s breakdown the state by state moving statistics and what is forecasted for 2021. You might be surprised by the states that are the most popular destinations right now.


More people moved into Alabama than moved out in 2020, and 50% of them were over the age of 55. The two biggest reasons for moving to Alabama are retirement and job opportunities.


Alaska’s population has been consistently dropping for the last few years, and that trend is expected to continue into 2021. In fact, the state is so desperate for new people that they are offering to pay people to move there through the Alaska Permanent Fund.


Arizona was the 7th most popular state that people moved to during the pandemic according to a survey, so it’s safe to assume that The Grand Canyon State will continue to see a large influx of new residents.


Arkansas also saw an uptick in residents moving in from out of state during the pandemic, which actually made the housing market much more competitive. It’s unclear yet whether the market will continue to rise or stabilize as pandemic related moving decreases in 2021.


California was hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and it is on every list of the top states that people are moving away from. The connection is likely not a coincidence since people want to live somewhere with fewer covid cases. Celebrities, in particular, are moving out of The Golden State, and that trend is not expected to slow down after the pandemic ends.


According to U-Haul’s migration report, movers were drawn to The Rocky Mountains in 2020. It was the sixth most popular state to move to; however, Colorado’s growth may not only be due to the pandemic. Denver has been on the list of top cities for millennials to move to for the past few years, so the state can expect more steady growth in 2021.


Connecticut has seen a lot of ups and downs in its population growth in the last few years. At the beginning of the pandemic, it was one of the top states that people were leaving. However, that shifted when the state got its COVID-19 cases under better control.

Over the last few months, Connecticut has had some of the lowest COVID-19 case numbers, which attracted movers looking to get away from suffering cities. This trend is expected to continue as the pandemic rages on in 2021; however, time will tell if people choose to stay in the state permanently after the pandemic or migrate back to city life when it’s safer.


Delaware made the Atlas Van Lines list of top states that people moved out of in 2020, which is a trend that’s continued for the last few years. Reports show that Delaware’s high taxes and low job opportunities are the main factors pushing people to leave, which is likely to continue in 2021.


Florida is at the top of migration lists every year, and 2020 was no different. However, 2020 saw more people moving from New York to Florida than years past. The Sunshine State will likely continue to see this high migration rate in 2021 and beyond, especially from retirees looking for a warmer climate.


More people moved to Georgia than left it in 2020, however, the overall numbers were not that different from years past. The state has had a balanced population rate for the past few years, which is predicted to repeat itself in 2021.


With the tourism and hospitality industries shut down for most of 2020, Hawaii saw tremendous job loss and population decrease last year. However, some younger generations who are stuck working remotely until further notice are making their way to Hawaii to enjoy island life. Unfortunately, that will still not make up for the population decrease, and the state is expected to continue struggling in 2021.


Idaho saw more inbound movers than any other state in 2020. The Gem State has steadily lured outdoor enthusiasts for the last few years, but the pandemic saw an even greater uptick in people moving to more scenic areas, which is expected to continue in 2021.


On the flip side, Illinois is experiencing a negative migration rate. While the pandemic may be at play in the 2020 numbers, the state has struggled to keep residents since the 1970s. With the end of the pandemic nowhere in sight, it will take a few years for Illinois to make up their migration deficit, so 2021 trends are not looking positive.


Indiana’s exodus is not as extreme as other states, but in 2020 more people still left the state than moved to it. It’s unclear yet what will happen in 2021, but any state experiencing an exodus is not predicted to see a change until the pandemic is over.


On U-Haul’s migration report, Iowa was almost square in the middle at spot 24 for the most moved to states. This mean’s that its migration rates have remained balanced, and they are expected to stay that way in the new year.


Kansas is another state that’s paying people to settle down there, especially in more rural areas. This is likely part of a revitalization program to attract younger hopeful homeowners to smaller communities. Time will tell if the payment incentives work but at the moment things are not looking good enough in Kansas to turn around in 2021.


More people are currently leaving Kentucky than moving there; however, the housing market is extremely affordable right now. Will this draw more people back? It’s hard to say at this moment, but lower living expenses is one of the top reasons people state for moving in 2021, which could definitely be in Kentucky’s favor.


At spot number 44 on the U-Haul migration list, Louisiana is losing an alarming number of residents. The Bayou State did not fare well in 2020 between multiple tornados and high COVID-19 numbers, not to mention the fact that the state’s tourism industry suffered significantly.

Things are not predicted to turn around for Louisiana in 2021 so the state will likely see many more residents moving away.


While some cities in Maine, like South Portland, are experiencing a housing boom, overall the state has balanced migration rates. No major predictions outside of the norm have been made in Maine for 2021, which could actually be a blessing during a time of such uncertainty.


More people have left Maryland than moved to it for the last few years, with a job change being cited as the number one reason to relocate. This trend is expected to continue in 2021.


The Bay State was the fourth-highest on lists of states that people moved out of in 2020, only doing better than New Jersey, Illinois, and California. With the country in so much economic turmoil for the foreseeable future, the state will likely not see a trend reversal in 2021.


Michigan is another state that’s losing more residents than it’s currently gaining, which is a trend that’s persisted for the last few years. Recent surveys show that moving for a new job and retirement are the top two reasons people are leaving The Mitten, which is not expected to reverse in 2021 since the state’s employment rates are not improving.


Minnesota is a balanced state, meaning that it’s neither losing nor gaining residents at a noticeable rate. Perhaps Minnesota can attribute its steady population to the fact that Minnesotans love living there, despite the frigid temperatures.


Mississippi is another balanced state; however, a report from 2018 showed that the state was losing most of its millennial population. The trend away from big cities in 2020 may turn things around for The Magnolia State in 2021, but at this point, it’s too early to tell.


There might be something to the “midwestern” hospitality stereotype because Missouri ranked in the top ten of states with the most amount of inbound movers on the U-Haul report. However, other reports call Missouri a balanced state, so it likely won’t see any explosive growth in 2021.


Montana’s inbound migration rate was at 65% in 2020 while its outbound rate was at 35%, which sets it up for a stable 2021 as long as the economy doesn’t worsen under the pandemic.


The Cornhuskers State inbound and outbound migration rates have been almost dead even for the past few years, making it one of the most balanced states in the country. No major change is predicted for 2021.


Nevada’s low cost of living is a major lure to new residents; however, its cosmopolitan areas like Las Vegas and Reno suffered without regular tourism in 2020. These two factors seem to cancel each other out, as it seems no major predictions are made for Nevada in 2021.


New Hampshire’s inbound migration rate actually grew in 2020 over 2019, but it’s still a smaller percentage than the number of people leaving the state. Since this has been a steady trend for the last few years, it’s unlikely to change in 2021.


The Garden State experienced a mass exodus in 2020 that doesn’t appear to be halting in 2021. Along with being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, high taxes and people moving away for retirement are to blame.


New Mexico boasts some of the lowest housing prices in the country, and its job market is fairly stable. However, moving trends are predicted to remain steady and neither boom nor decline much in 2021.


With New York City as the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state as a whole experienced the worst migration rates in the country in 2020. Experts say it will take years for New York to recover, which means things are not looking positive for 2021.

However, housing in the city is at an all-time low, so there could still be some brave enough to move just to snatch up a good apartment despite the rising COVID-19 numbers.


North Carolina experienced a population boom in 2020 and was the third most popular state to relocate to just behind Idaho and Washington. The allure makes sense since North Carolina offers mountains, beaches, and a moderate climate.

It also boasts plenty of small towns that appeal to older generations and bigger hipster cities like Asheville that draw in younger populations. North Carolina will continue to see this boom in 2021 and keep its top spot on moving lists.


North Dakota has continuously lost more residents than it gained in the last ten years; however, more people moved there last year than any other year in the last decade. While The Flickertail State could continue to see the numbers swing in its favor, it likely won’t be enough in 2021 to overtake its deficit of people leaving the state.


Ohio’s inbound and outbound rates were almost perfectly balanced in 2020, as they have been for the last few years. While the state consistently experiences slow growth, it can at least brag about its stability, which will likely remain the same in 2021.


The Sooner State has consistently lost more movers than it gained over the last ten years. The city of Tulsa offers $10,000 to anyone who moves there from outside of Oklahoma and lives there for at least a year. The state’s moving rate seems to have improved since the Tulsa program rolled out in 2018, but it will likely not make a huge difference in 2021, and the state will remain balanced.


Oregon boasts pretty balanced inbound and outbound moving rates year after year; however, it was one of the top places to move for pandemic related reasons in 2020. What happens in 2021 will likely depend on what happens with the pandemic, but if people find themselves working from home for most of the year again, chances are they will continue to flock to Oregon for the beautiful nature and laid-back culture.


The Coal State experienced a significant exodus in 2020, which is likely due to its proximity to New York and the high number of COVID-19 cases through the pandemic. Since things have not improved much with the virus, it’s likely that Pennsylvania will continue to lose more residents than it gains in 2021.


Rhode Island has been an almost perfectly balanced state for the last few years when it comes to people moving in and out. However, it did experience an upswing in people relocating there when the pandemic hit. The state boasts beautiful scenery and quaint towns that gave people a chance to escape from neighboring states like New York that were suffering much more from COVID-19.

The future for migration to Rhode Island will also be determined by the pandemic, so it’s hard to say what will happen in 2021 at this point.


Just like its sister state North Carolina, South Carolina has seen a major boom in the last few years, and 2020 was no exception. It’s expected to see more growth in 2021 as its beaches and friendly culture attract those looking for a new life amidst the pandemic.


South Dakota is a mostly balanced state; however, more people have left the state than settled down there in the last few years. It’s a little too early to call, but chances are that that trend will continue in 2021.


The Volunteer State saw a major boom in 2020 and was the top state on the U-Haul migration report. It’s unknown if it will be able to keep up this rate of growth in 2021, but the state’s popularity is not dimming. With affordable housing, multiple big cities, and stunning scenery including the Smokey Mountains, it will likely keep a top spot as one of the most desirable states to live in.


Texas was also high on the list of states that saw a population boom in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, this rate has been consistent over the last few years. Since reasons for moving to the Lone Star State include things isolated from the pandemic like affordable housing, a thriving job market, and no state income tax, it will continue to see rapid growth in 2021.


Utah’s inbound and outbound rates did not change much in 2020 and it remains a balanced state. Like other balanced states, the slow growth is a testament to its stability, and it will likely continue at a slow rate in 2021.


For the last ten years, Vermont has consistently seen around a 60-65% inbound rate and around a 35-40% outbound rate. While this appears to be quick growth, the consistency of the numbers still classifies Vermont as a balanced state, and that is unlikely to change in 2021.


Virginia is another balanced state that didn’t see much change in 2020. While the state has a lot to offer, like beautiful scenery and culture enriched in history, it will likely not see much change in moving trends in 2021.


While the Pacific Northwest has seen a residential boom in the last few years, Washington’s inbound and outbound rates have remained stable. However, it was hit extremely hard by COVID-19 and saw an exodus in 2020. It’s unlikely that it will recover until the pandemic ends, so moving trends in 2021 still remain unclear.


The Mountain State has been consistently losing population for the last decade, so its numbers were not impacted by the pandemic that much. At this point, there is no anticipated change for the state in 2021.


Wisconsin is another balanced state that gains the same amount of residents that it loses year over year. It’s too early to call what will happen in 2021, but there’s nothing in the cards that says this year will be any different from past years.


Wyoming has seen a consistent steady rate of movers in the last few years. Since it boasts several thriving industries and a great job market, it will likely see substantial growth in 2021 as well.

Moving Across the Country in 2021

It’s normal to reevaluate your life and decide you want a fresh start somewhere new. Hopefully, these moving trends can help you determine the perfect location for you.

If you’re planning a big cross-country move in 2021, shipping your car may be the best option. It’s convenient, fast, and saves you time and money.

Contact us today for a free estimate to ship your car, and check out the blog for more moving resources.


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