4 Charts Show Which U.S. States Are Booming


It's 2014 and some states are more popular than others. It happens. We all think we live in the coolest state (ahem, New York) and we're absolutely sure that everyone else wants to live here, too. But now, there's definitive proof of just which states people in the United States are moving to, and guess what? It isn't New York.

Atlas Van Lines's annual migration patterns report shows, with gritty detail, which U.S. states were booming in 2013, and which states people were fleeing from in droves. Atlas compares the total inbound shipments moving into a state with the total shipments moving out, and calculates which way the scales tip. The results paint a pretty neat picture of which parts of the U.S. are popular, and which parts are definitely not.

Source: Atlas Van Lines

States in the Northwest, and a few in the South, were quite popular in 2013. The blue states all saw inbound shipments make up at least 55% of total shipments. The yellow states – most of which are in the Northeast – had outbound shipments make up more than 55% of total shipments.

This map pretty clearly shows the damage done to the Rust Belt in recent years. Americans are leaving the region faster than they're moving in. 

So which states specifically were the most and least popular in 2013? Atlas Van Lines has the clear winners (and losers):

Source: Atlas Van Lines

Unsurprisingly, North Dakota tops the list of highest percentage of inbound traffic. Almost 70% of its shipments in 2013 were inbound. North Carolina and Texas come in at second and third, respectively, proving once again that there are actually living human beings that choose to live in Texas. Connecticut finds itself just ahead of New York and Indiana for states with the most outbound traffic, at 60%. Your Ivy League school can't save you now.

But Connecticut's miserable 2013 doesn't hold a candle to the clinic New York has put on in terms of outbound traffic this past decade. The state has seen 10 straight years of outbound shipments accounting for 55% or more of its totals – 59% of New York's traffic has been outbound since a decade ago.

Have any states seen 10 years of heavy inbound shipments? Only one: North Carolina. Take a look at North Carolina's decade compared to New York and North Dakota: 

Source: Atlas Van Lines

Three states that tell three different stories. New York has seen consistent outbound traffic, North Carolina has seen steady (and impressive) inbound traffic. North Dakota saw inbound traffic in the beginning of the decade, with a bit of a dip in the middle, and a boom during most recent years thanks to the oil boom the state. It's also interesting that even with 10 straight years of outbound traffic, New York's inbound shipments in 2013 were 10 times that of North Dakota's. But it's all about the percentage. According to Atlas Van Lines, North Dakota had barely over 100 people leave last year, while New York had 3,600. 

Source: Atlas Van Lines

We know that millennials are moving to cities at a brisk pace, and there's one city in particular that's the most popular: our nation's capital. Washington, D.C., is up there with North Carolina as the most popular destination for moving Americans over the past 10 years.

So what does this mean? The landscape of the U.S. is on its way to looking pretty different. Americans are being born every 8 seconds. But the population distributions among states are changing, and there are clear winners and losers. Here's hoping the Northeast can make a comeback in the next 10 years. Because, aside from this Atlas Vans migration data, we all know the Northeast is the best, right?