HOUSTON, TX – People come and go for a variety of reasons: Job change. Retirement. A close family member falls ill. In Texas, residents most often come for family and leave for jobs. That’s according to the 42nd annual “National Movers Study,” conducted by United Van Lines and published this week. The study tracked its customers’ state-to-state migration patterns in 2018.

Here’s what they found for Texas:


  • Retirement: 15 percent
  • Health: 6 percent
  • Family: 36 percent
  • Lifestyle: 8 percent
  • Job: 45 percent


  • Retirement: 17 percent
  • Health: 4 percent
  • Family: 17 percent
  • Lifestyle: 7 percent
  • Job: 64 percent

Interestingly, more residents left New Jersey than any other state last year, the study found. More than 66 percent of movers in The Garden State headed elsewhere. That was a common thread in the Northeast, the study found, with Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts all in the top 10 outbound states. Several states in the Midwest also appeared near the top of the list.

  • New Jersey, 66.8 percent
  • Illinois, 65.9 percent
  • Connecticut, 62 percent
  • New York, 61.5 percent
  • Kansas, 58.7 percent
  • Ohio, 56.5 percent
  • Massachusetts, 55.7 percent
  • Iowa, 55.5 percent
  • Montana, 55 percent
  • Michigan, 55 percent

Meanwhile, Vermont saw the highest percentage of inbound migration at 72.6 percent, and
states in the West also proved to be popular destinations. Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, and Washington all appeared in the top 10 for states with the highest inbound proportion.

“Unlike a few decades ago, retirees are leaving California, instead choosing other states in the Pacific West and Mountain West,” said Michael Stoll, economist, and professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, according to a release. “We’re also seeing young professionals migrating to vibrant, metropolitan economies, like Washington, D.C., and Seattle.”

Stoll said the data aligns well with longer-term migration patterns to the South and West, which have historically been driven by factors such as job growth, lower costs of living, state budget challenges and more temperate climates.