Every Major Moving Report of 2017 Analyzed: Where Is Everybody Going?


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Migration reports are out in full force, including the famous United Van Lines yearly report.

But while United handles more moves annually than any other mover network in the country, their numbers are not definitive across the industry board.

North American, Atlas and Allied all see slightly – and in some cases, wildly – different results in their migration study results. Not a surprise, because as a Full Service move provider, United handles a somewhat different clientele compared to companies like ABF, U-Haul and PODS – companies whose numbers might look a lot different. Then there’s that little thing called the Census.

Yep, the state-to-state migration numbers for 2017 are out – and folks, we have new inbound state championsHere are the results:

United Van Lines

Vermont Takes United 2017 Inbound Crown

In 2015 they came in at third on the inbound rankings. In 2016 they inched their way up to number two. Now, this tiny state known mainly for skiing and maple syrup has captured the coveted top inbound spot on United’s 2017 National Movers Study.

Yes, the champagne is indeed flowing like syrup in Stowe, Killington and Montpelier as Vermont looks back on a year that saw a whopping 68% of their interstate moves coming in. 


According to United’s survey, “family” was the most common reason respondents gave for relocating to the Green Mountain State. Retirement, lifestyle and job also figured fairly evenly into the equation.

On the other hand, a full 75% of people moving out of state gave employment as their reason. This helps explain why half of all outbounders fell into the Under-35 age category – and another 25% were between 35 and 45 – while 40% of those moving into the state were 65 or older.

Those mountains may be green, but with those unemployment numbers, it looks like the valleys are starting to turn gray.

But before we start replacing all those ski lifts with wheelchair-friendly escalators, let’s take a step back and look a little closer at where the stats behind Vermont’s inbound crown come from. Keep in mind we don’t know how many moves Vermont actually saw by their report. (68% can be broken down to 17 inbound moves and 8 outbound moves – which hardly amounts to a mass migration to this land of wooden bridges and Bernie Sanders.)


1. Vermont
2. Oregon
3. Idaho
4. Nevada
5. South Dakota
6. Washington
7. South Carolina
8. North Carolina
9. Colorado
10. Alabama

This past year saw some familiar names on United’s Top Ten Inbound States list. Oregon, Nevada and North Carolina are all there, as they have been every year since 2011. Washington, Idaho, South Dakota, South Carolina and Arizona are also back after making 2016’s inbound list. Newcomers include Alabama and Colorado. Meanwhile, Florida has dropped off the inbound list after a strong three-year run.

This past year’s top inbound states are also fairly spread out around the country. The same cannot be said about United’s outbound states.


1. Illinois
2. New Jersey
3. New York
4. Connecticut
5. Kansas
6. Massachusetts
7. Ohio
8. Kentucky
9. Utah
10. Wisconsin

As with the previous few years, the major exodus seems to be coming out of the Northeast and the Midwest, with Utah adding a little “outbound yellow” to the otherwise blue western region on United’s interactive migration map.

Perennial outbound states New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois have been the most unfortunate ones; we’d have to go back to 2010 to see any of them as balanced. (New York and Connecticut were both spared the shame that year).

North American Moving Services


Arizona Takes North Americans 2017 Inbound Crown

North American’s inbound champ is Arizona, with 67% of their interstate moves coming into the Grand Canyon State. Other top inbounders not on United’s list include Tennessee, Florida, Georgia and Texas – all south and southeast states. (Those North American drivers must really love the south.)


  1. Arizona
  2. Idaho
  3. North Carolina
  4. South Carolina
  5. Tennessee


  1. Illinois
  2. Connecticut
  3. New Jersey
  4. California
  5. Michigan

Like United, North American has Illinois, New Jersey and Connecticut at the top of their outbound list (with New York a notable #8). But the rest of their top outbounders – California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Maryland (#4-8 on the map) aren’t even on United’s radar.

Interestingly, North American’s #10 outbounder is Washington, which ranks #6 on United’s inbound list.

In accounting for these discrepancies, it is worth noting what North American says of their report’s methodology:

We define the top inbound and outbound states as those that have the highest proportion of moves where the absolute value difference of inbound and outbound moves is greater than or equal to 400. This weeds out states that had a small number of moves but would have a high ratio of inbound/outbound moves.”

This may explain why United’s 2017 champ Vermont and #5 South Dakota (United’s #1 in 2016 by the way) aren’t anywhere on North American’s Top Ten.

Atlas Van Lines


Washington Takes Atlas 2017 Inbound Crown

Atlas Van Lines offers some relative surprises too. Idaho, Washington and Nevada as their top three inbounders may not raise any eyebrows. But Alaska, Maine and New Hampshire at #5, #6 and #10? Oregon is a familiar name, but seeing them at #8 seems in contrast to their recent United Van Lines inbound championships.

Atlas’s top outbounder, meanwhile, is Illinois (same as both United and North American – those Fighting Illini have a real stranglehold on that top spot!). And their #2, West Virginia, was a strong outbounder for United for six years straight before balancing out in 2017.

But Nebraska at #3? Nebraska has been balanced for United since 2001! And #4 outbounder South Dakota has been an inbound darling for United the past three years.

Rounding out the Atlas top outbound list are Hawaii, Indiana, Delaware and Louisiana, all of them somewhat surprising since three of them have spent the last ten years on United’s “balanced” register. Only Indiana has managed to make a blip on United’s outbound radar in that time frame.


  1. Idaho
  2. Washington
  3. Nevada
  4. Tennessee
  5. Alaska
  6. Maine
  7. North Carolina
  8. Oregon
  9. Alabama
  10. New Hampshire


  1. Illinois
  2. West Virginia
  3. Nebraska
  4. South Dakota
  5. Hawaii
  6. Indiana
  7. Delaware
  8. New York
  9. Louisiana
  10. Kansas

In contrast to the percentages United and North American provide, Atlas gives actual numbers of inbound and outbound moves for each state. Here we see that Vermont has seen just a fraction of the moves so many other states see, so it’s easy to imagine why they wouldn’t have made it onto North American’s list. (Meanwhile, once again, Canada’s Yukon Territory has seen zero moves. We’ll blame it on the roads.)

Allied Van Lines


Florida Takes Allied 2017 Inbound Crown

Allied Van Lines keeps it all very short and sweet. They report only their top fives:


  1. Florida
  2. Arizona
  3. North Carolina
  4. South Carolina
  5. Texas


  1. California
  2. Illinois
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. New Jersey
  5. Michigan

Based on this limited report, we’re able to come to at least one solid conclusion: Allied’s drivers love moving people south even more than North American’s do.


Texas Takes U-Haul 2017 Inbound Crown

Because news outlets predominately focus on Full Service van lines, it can easily be argued this eliminates an entire sector of the migrating public. (In fact, Full Service van lines actually conduct less than half of all moves performed in the US every year.)

Do U-Haul’s numbers reflect what the van lines suggest are moving trends?



  1. Texas
  2. Florida
  3. Arkansas
  4. South Carolina
  5. Tennessee
  6. Washington
  7. North Carolina
  8. Connecticut
  9. Colorado
  10. Vermont


  1. California
  2. Illinois
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. Michigan
  5. Massachusetts
  6. New Jersey
  7. New York
  8. Arizona
  9. Maryland
  10. Georgia

Texas tops U-Haul’s 2017 Growth States list. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, as Texas has fared well recently in the inbound-outbound game. In 2017 their inbound percentages with United, North American and Atlas were 54, 53 and 53, while Allied put Texas down as their fifth biggest inbound state.

Oddly, Texas won U-Haul’s Growth State crown by bringing in – get this – a whopping 50.3% of all one-way truck rental traffic crossing Texas’s borders. That’s right. Fifty. Point. Three.

This hardly lends a whole lot more understanding to the migration trends we’re trying to dissect. But here we are, so let’s keep moving.

U-Haul rounds out its top five Growth States with Florida, Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee. Yes, Arkansas – which has been balanced on United’s report 37 of the last 40 years. Then again, Arkansas remained balanced in 2017 on United’s ledger with a 54% outbound rate, so that they are U-Haul’s #3 Growth State is rather surprising no matter how minuscule their positive U-Haul balance might have been.

And who comes in at #8 on U-Haul’s list? That big loser with United and North American (but not with Atlas), Connecticut.

On the flip side, U-Haul has Colorado at #9 – exactly where United and North American have them.

United States Census Bureau

Idaho Takes United States Census Bureau 2017 Inbound Crown

Yes, the Bureau has all the moving numbers we could possibly want. So many, in fact, that it could take until next January to weed through them all.

But thanks to Business Insider we don’t have to.

In this piece with the strangely long title: While the Bureau considers “a variety of components” in determining what’s happening among the more than 325 million people who make up the US population, Business Insider brings us what we need: domestic migration.

Here we see the net population gain or loss for each state for 2017. Births, deaths and international immigration are not counted; this is simply and strictly an account of how many people moved into or out of each state. (Again, not moves, but individual people.)


  1. Idaho
  2. Nevada
  3. South Carolina
  4. Oregon
  5. Arizona
  6. Washington
  7. Montana
  8. Florida
  9. Colorado
  10. North Carolina

And in this, the winner is Idaho, with a net domestic migration gain of 14.6 people per 1,000 residents. In second place comes Nevada, with South Carolina, Oregon and Arizona rounding out the top five. The second half of the big ten winners are Washington, Montana, Florida, Colorado and North Carolina.

These results actually mirror the van lines’ findings to a striking degree. Only Arizona, Montana and Florida don’t show up in United’s top ten. Seven of the Census top ten are also on North American’s top ten. Unbelievably, Colorado is #9 on all three lists.

As for the Net Domestic Migration losers? Yes, Illinois is up there, but at #5, maybe this is the survey they should be talking about in Chicago.


  1. Wyoming
  2. Alaska
  3. New York
  4. Hawaii
  5. Illinois
  6. North Dakota
  7. New Jersey
  8. Connecticut
  9. Louisiana
  10. West Virginia

The big loser in the 2017 migration tournament is Wyoming, a surprise since the Equality State doesn’t show up on any van line outbound lists – or inbound for that matter. United had them at 53% inbound for 2017. North American had them at 54% in. Only Atlas has them as outbound – based on a grand total of 330 moves.

The Bureau’s next three biggest net migration losers are Alaska, New York and Hawaii. Alaska and Hawaii, neither of which show up anywhere for United or North American, are Atlas’s #5 inbound and #5 outbound, respectively. North Dakota, New Jersey, Connecticut, Louisiana and West Virginia complete the Bureau’s top ten.

Again, while there are outbound wild cards, we still see some consistency between the Bureau and the van lines. Atlas and the Bureau actually have seven migration losers in common between their top tens. Looking at the US Census Bureau’s Net Domestic Migration map we can clearly see the winners clustered in the south and west with the losers dominating the northeast and midwest.

What’s The Takeaway?

Remember, the numbers put together by each of the van lines represent the migration trends among the customers they’ve served. Van lines count moves, the Bureau counts people.

This may not account for the reason United’s inbound champion Vermont is somehow a net loser according to the Census Bureau’s numbers, but it does suggest that, despite the discrepancies, the van lines and the Census Bureau can give a decent overall on what is going on out there.

But in the cases where data remains too contradictory to be meaningful, evaluating regions rather than individual states might give us a slightly more reliable picture of the migration trends playing out across the US. At the end of the day, we are only looking at a mere slice of the American migratory pie.

There’s More Realistic Data Out There

We need another, more encompassing way to look at where America is moving to and from.

DIY Moves and Hybrid Moves (besides U-Haul), which by far and away are the more common ways to move, are sorely misrepresented. When you move, do you routinely call up $2,000+ movers? Have you ever saved money by having your friends move you? What are these Full Service reports actually reflecting?

That’s something to keep in mind when the local news sounds off on “moving trends” based off a single Full Service Moving company’s report. 

E.E. Ward, a 136 Year Old Moving Company, Wins Supplier of the Year Award


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With every new year comes an avalanche of honors and awards, presented to businesses in every industry from every walk of life. We don’t have any hard data on this, but we figure all the plaques and trophies, laid end to end, would stretch clear across the country. It would take until next year to read them all.

One of them, however, caught our eye.

E.E. Ward, a 136-year-old moving company operating out of Columbus, Ohio, was recently awarded the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Supplier of the Year Award (Class II) by the Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council (OMSDC).

Touted as the nation’s oldest African-American-owned business, E.E. Ward was established way back in 1881 when there were only 38 US States and Billy the Kid was still robbing banks. In accepting the award, company co-owner Dominique Brooks pointed to their pride in having survived the Great Depression, two world wars and twenty-six presidential terms.

An impressive run, for sure. But longevity is not their only strong suit. Equally admirable and worth highlighting is their list of 2017 achievements, which are decorated with their deep and varied community involvement, then capped off with the abovementioned award, Take a quick look at E.E. Ward’s year right here.

E.E. Ward employees, 2017

Not bad, right? But guess what? For all their history and their accomplishments, at the core, they’re still a moving company – just like all of us. A moving company striving to for excellence, in their work and their community.

Just like us.

Here Are the Movers Who Are Helping in Houston


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It’s not easy to just drop what you’re doing and drive to another part of the country. It’s even harder when you’re a mover in the last days of the busiest season of the year.

But when disaster strikes, people find a way to move. And movers find a way to help.

Thousands and thousands of people all across the country have dropped what they were doing to give something – anything – to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Among the most busy have been our storage and moving colleagues. Here we highlight some of their efforts and how they were able to get it done.


Two Men and a Truck

Greg Micklos of Pensacola, FL is no stranger to hurricanes. As a resident of North Carolina, he lived through a few of them. So when the owner of Pensacola’s Two Men and a Truck franchise saw what was happening in Southeast Texas, he knew he had to help.

Micklos quickly launched his “Truck4Texas” campaign on Facebook which, as he puts it, “took off like wildfire.”

“We’re working with a lot of different organizations,” he told the Pensacola News Journal, working to fill trucks to take to Texas. One of those organizations is a school called All American Twirlers run by Jana Williamson, who in 2004 lost her home, her car and everything else she owned when Hurricane Ivan swept through. 

Screenshot of Facebook Post, 2017

Micklos’s drivers, meanwhile, have been volunteering to drive to Texas on their own time – an admirably selfless move when you consider the slow season will soon be upon us and these weeks are the last window of opportunity to cash in on the peak summer season.

All My Sons Moving & Storage, Hilldrup Moving & Storage


Further down in Florida, All My Sons Moving & Storage is working with the Miami Dolphins, with three trucks loaded up and heading for their Gulf Coast neighbors. All My Sons already had a working relationship in place, so they were able to quickly capitalize on the opportunity to help out. A good lesson to you out there who aren’t already reaching out to community organizations.

But you don’t have to have buddies in the big leagues to lend a hand. Up the Atlantic coast, the minor league baseball team in Richmond, VA called the Flying Squirrels set up a collection drive at a recent game. And who is hauling all those donations down to Houston? The hometown Hilldrup Moving & Storage Company.

The Flying Squirrels may be the headline grabbers here, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is collecting whatever you can and getting it to the people who need it. If it helps to hook up with a notable name, go for it.


All That Matters

And if you don’t have that notable connection? You go for it anyway. Amanda Shay, owner of All That Matters in Little Rock, AK decided to fill up an 18-wheeler and, with a couple of her own men, head not for Houston, but “those small towns that nobody is really doing anything for.”


In the course of helping out, they ran into a bit of trouble themselves; First, when they weren’t able to unload their truck at their designated drop-off location in Louisiana, then later finding themselves in need of food and gas with everything around them closed or shut down thanks to Harvey.

It’s quite a story. Check out the All That Matters Facebook page to listen to Ms. Shay recount her experiences while she gives thanks to all the many people who helped her and her crew along the way. Clearly, her’s was not just a matter of driving somewhere, dropping stuff off and driving home.


Mayflower, Hungry Man Movers


Up in Illinois, two high school football rivals teamed up to collect 75,000 bottles of water at a Friday night matchup. And there to carry all that and more down the Mississippi Valley into Texas? A local Mayflower Van Lines agent. http://foxillinois.com/news/local/rival-teams-come-together-to-donate-water-to-texas-09-03-2017

Hungry Man Moving is not a national van lines agent, but that didn’t stop Snyder and Clay Clark from making the trip from Milwaukee with their own load of bottled water. “Canned Water for Kids actually contacted us,” said Hungry Man Moving staffer Amanda Malka. “They told us they could give us as much water as we need and as many times as we want, and take as much as we can carry.”

On their multiple trips, Hungry Man Movers were also taking diapers, wipes, formula and other much-needed supplies. “We advertised on Wednesday,” they told Fox6Now. “By Friday, the truck was full.”

Not bad for a couple of hungry men.

Naturally, there are stories like these from all over the country.

Some of them might even involve our HireAHelper community. So if any of you have a story to tell about how you were able to help out the victims of Hurricane Harvey, let us know! We’d all love to hear it.

And if you’re looking for a way – or another way – to help, check out this list by the American Logistics Aid NetworkOr go here and tell them where you are and what your company can do.

Are you somewhere near the Houston area? Here’s a list of ways to help out, including up to the minute and still very pertinent information on:

  • Shelter and relief
  • Disaster recovery
  • Rescue efforts
  • Shelter and supplies
  • Donations
  • Blood donation
  • Volunteering

If you have some info to share about how those of us in other parts of the country can pitch in, please share! Because even as the flood waters recede, the victims of Harvey will continue to need help.

4 Cases Where You Really Should Move to Save Money


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It’s true what they say: there’s never a “perfect” time to move. But sometimes making that decision is the best thing for you and your family.



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