Millions of Americans relocate every year, many of them leaving their current zip codes and moving to new cities or states. But where are people going? The answer to this question changes every year. Population increases and decreases in different regions depend on many key factors.
When you’re ready to make big changes, it’s helpful to know which locations are attracting interest from moving companies and why. You might be surprised by some of the top fields. Looking at mobile patterns across the U.S. can give you insight into larger social trends. Who knows? You might be inspired to join in and be one of the millions of people in the new year.
So, where do people move to? Here are the best cities and states to move to in 2022.
Where are people moving to?
The best data we have about where people move is the latest U.S. Census. It shows an overwhelming push toward southern and western states — regions that have recorded the fastest growth rates in the country since 2010.
Florida is the most popular state to relocate to. Of the 25 cities people have moved to, the state is responsible for an impressive 11. Good weather and no state income tax may have something to do with it, as does Florida’s attractiveness to retirees. Myrtle Beach Ditto, No. 1 U.S. News & World Report named one of the best places to retire in 2021-2022.
Factors affecting U.S. moving trends
There are many reasons why people move — and why they choose specific places to move. However, when we talk about larger mobile trends, you can often see some common themes that determine which places are leading the way in mobile.
As mentioned, many of the relocation locations in the top cities are popular with older populations, many of whom may be ready to retire in warmer climates, and retirement communities are thriving. However, people over 65 aren’t the only ones who move, and other factors come into play when examining why and where to move. According to a national survey by Bankrate/YouGov, the main reasons for recent action are:
Relocate to be closer to friends and family
Find more affordable places
The desire for more living space
Look for different climate
Enjoy the ability to work anytime, anywhere
The reasons for moving sometimes could be very personal. But when we find out why people move, we also gain insight into why they move. If any of these factors are the number one factor in your desire to move, follow the trends of these factors before narrowing down your thoughts on where to go.
Below is a more in-depth look at these factors, including potential links between these trends and projections of where people are heading in 2022.
- People want to be closer to their friends and family
Survey data shows that most people who moved in the last year lived close to where they lived, even those who moved to new postcodes. When comparing the cities people left and the cities they moved to, in four of the five cities with the most people moving, most people moved within 30 miles.
It’s normal to want to be close to “Your People”. For example, in 2019, only 15 percent of the more than 32 million relocations in the U.S. crossed state lines, suggesting that most relocations stopped in at least some familiar places. This desire for intimacy may be heightened by the pandemic, so it’s more important than ever to narrow your circle to the people you know best.
- People want to live in more affordable cities
According to Realtor.com’s average home price data, the survey shows that people are moving to areas with lower living costs. The incredibly high housing costs in America’s big cities must be at least partly to blame for pandemic-related unemployment. It also makes sense that people want more money when they move (see factor #3 below).
The lower cost of living can also be observed in many of the states and cities that make up the general immigration country rankings. Take a look at Boise, Idaho, which ranks No. 14 on the list of cities experiencing population explosions, while Idaho itself ranks No. 2 on the list of most popular states. The cost of living in Boise is slightly below the national average, and the city is rich in surrounding nature and a thriving tech community. As the population increases, so does the average house price, but when you leave a big city, where housing and rental costs are much higher than average, it’s easy to see why you’d want to go to a place where your money lasts longer.
3. People want more space
Both of these lists answering the question of where people are moving are missing the type of big city you might expect when you think of places with large populations in the U.S., including New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Even in Florida, a major hotspot for moving companies, cities like Miami and Tampa didn’t make it (though Jacksonville, Florida’s most populous city, did).
Trendy moving locations are not all, or even mostly small towns and suburbs. But these tend to be smaller cities or metropolitan areas around cities. The appeal is obvious, as these areas often offer many of the benefits of an urban setting, as well as great benefits like patios, home offices, and extra storage. In a few years, when more Americans work and go to school from home, more space is a sizable benefit, especially if you don’t sacrifice comfort for it.
- People want to live in a comfortable climate
A lot of people want to move to a place where the grass is always greener. The search for a better climate has been a key reason to relocate in 2021, whether it’s people looking for better weather conditions or people looking to get away from places affected by climate change. Better weather doesn’t mean the same thing for everyone, although the increase in moving in southern and western states tells us that many movers may be in favor of forgoing cold climates for warmer temperatures.
- People want to take advantage of remote work opportunities
It’s impossible to ignore that the pandemic has been a major driver of trend change over the past two years and today. One of the most notable effects is undoubtedly the massive shift to remote work for a large portion of the U.S. workforce. A full 40% of workers want to remain remote or completely remote post-pandemic, meaning many are no longer geographically tied to work and can move elsewhere if they choose.
Working remotely can allow you to live in a cheaper place with more of your favorite amenities. For many movers, these are good reasons to decide and push and maybe the drivers of some of the other trend-pushing factors listed above.
More Top Trends for 2022
Asking “where are people moving to?” is one way to understand what’s going on in the mobile world. But other trends give us insight into the what, where, when, how, and why behind driver decisions. Here are some of them.
Tricky real estate market
Even if you’re not in the real estate market yourself, you’ve probably heard about the lack of real estate inventory, rising prices, and intense competition that plague 2021. How will 2022 be different? Hoping for more inventory and a less intense seller’s market. However, interest rates are expected to rise again, which may (or may not) limit competition, depending on continued demand.
It’s not just real estate prices that are rising. In some cities, rents have risen by 30% in the past year, forcing many people to move, even if they don’t want to. Unfortunately, rents won’t rise until 2022 in many major markets, including those where rent freezes and eviction moratoriums have expired. As far as housing is concerned, this is a worrying trend and one that is sure to lead to more relocations.
We already know that many people want a change of scenery when they move, even if they don’t travel very far. We also know that remote work opportunities provide renters and homeowners with greater flexibility in positioning. However, none of these things necessarily mean a permanent move, instead, there has been a reported increase in a temporary change of address applications filed with the USPS. If you’ve been wanting to live elsewhere, even for a short time, you’re unlikely to be the first of the year.
Incentive programs like free tuition for residents have made some cities more popular than ever. Some places even pay people to move there, while others offer tax breaks and other benefits for those who relocate to the area. It’s not the norm that cities pay people to move there, but for those looking to relocate, it could be a driving factor in moving from one place to another.
Ready to move? How to find “Your Ideal Place”? Don’t you wish there was a magic 8-ball that could tell you exactly where your ideal place to live is? We’re not there yet, but in the meantime, you can ask yourself some questions to find out what’s right for you.
- Do you want to live in a popular place? The answers to “Where do people move to?” tell us a lot about which cities, states, and regions, in general, are going through their moments. However, some people prefer to stay off the beaten track, and if you are one of them, looking for a less prosperous place might be the way to go.
- What is your preferred climate? In America, everyone has their climate, whether you’re most comfortable in snow-capped mountains, warm beaches, or arid deserts. Moving to a place where you like the climate can improve your quality of life and satisfaction with your housing situation, so keep that in mind when narrowing down your options.
- How much do you want to spend? The average cost of living is as varied as the climate across the country. When deciding where to go, keep in mind housing/rent costs, property taxes, and other related cost factors, and consider realistic budget caps before committing to anything new.
- How important is walking ability to you? Some movers crave the solitude and space afforded by suburban, mountain, and country life, while others can’t imagine living somewhere where they’d need a car just to go grab their morning coffee. Decide where you stand on the spectrum and whether walkability is a must-have or just a nice perk that you can do without.
- Are you looking for culture? Wherever you go, you will have your own culture. However, what this culture contains will be very different. If exposure to nearby art is critical to you, consider that when choosing to move. The same goes for other great facilities, such as a strong library and school system, ample green spaces and parks, or rich and famous history.
- Are you moving with your family? Family friendliness varies by destination. If you have young children, consider school, and if this is important to you, consider a general sense of community and neighborhood when choosing to move.
“Where are people moving?” and “Where should you move?” are two very big and very different questions. We hope this look at mobile trends in 2022 has given you plenty to think about, as well as plenty of general insights into where and why people are moving across the country.