Why Many Americans Are Leaving Big Cities Behind for Places Like South Carolina, Vermont

by Samantha Whidden
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A recent study has revealed that more Americans are leaving big cities behind for places like South Carolina, Florida, and surprisingly, Vermont. 

According to The Hill, moving company United Van Lines found in its latest study that Americans are moving to southern states. Such states are South Carolina, Alabama, and Florida. The study also discovered that more people are likely choosing to move close to family. And less for a new job or job transfer. Out of all the consumers who moved with United Van Lines last year, only 32% stated they moved for job purposes. This is due to remote work continuing to be a new normal for many Americans. 

United Van Lines stated that the majority of Americans choosing to use its services headed to South Carolina, West Virginia, Alabama, and Tennessee. However, Vermont and South Dakota were number one and number two for the states with the highest influx of newcomers. Meanwhile, New Jersey was named the number one most popular state to move away from. This is the fourth year in a row that the Garden State has earned number one. New York, Connecticut, California, and Illinois followed behind Jersey as the states experienced exoduses in 2021. 

United Van Lines’ survey further reveals that only 32.5% of Americans using its service did so for a new job or job transfer. This is a major drop from the previous surveys. The percentage for those moving due to new jobs or job transfers was 51% in 2019. 

Meanwhile, more than 31% of Americans moved last year to be closer to family. In 2019, only slightly more than 23% of people moved for family. 

Economists Weigh in on Why Americans Are Leaving Cities

Following the release of United Van Lines’ latest survey, Michale A. Stoll, an economist and professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, issued a statement about the findings. “This new data from United Van Lines is indicative of COVID-19’s impact on domestic migration patterns. With 2021 bringing an acceleration of moves to smaller, mid-size towns, and cities. 

Stoll also said that the data is showing this not only occurred because of Americans’ desire to leave high-density areas due to the risk of infection. But also due to the transformation of how everyone is able to work. With more flexibility to work remotely. United Van Lines Spokesperson, Eily Cummings, then declared that the moving company doesn’t expect these trends to wind down soon. And the company anticipates seeing more people moving close to e family. At least for the first half of 2022. 

Here are the top inbound states of 2021 from United Van Lines’ survey were: 

  1. Vermont 
  2. South Dakota 
  3. South Carolina 
  4. West Virginia 
  5. Florida 
  6. Alabama
  7. Tennessee
  8. Oregon
  9.  Idaho
  10. Rhode Island 

The top outbound states for 2021from United Van Lines’ survey were:  

  1. New Jersey
  2.  Illinois
  3.  New York  
  4. Connecticut
  5.  California
  6.  Michigan 
  7.  Massachusetts 
  8. Louisiana 
  9. Ohio
  10. Nebraska 
Outsider.com