Atlas Van Lines Announces 2011 Migration Trends

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Number of relocations continues to rise; Popular destinations include Southwest and Mid-Atlantic Coastal States; Michigan becomes balanced state after six years of steady outbound moves

2011 Moving Migration Patterns

2011 Moving Migration Patterns

According to one of North America’s leading moving companies, Atlas Van Lines, the number of household moves across state lines continues to rise. The 2011 Atlas Van Lines Migration Patterns study found Southwestern and Mid-Atlantic coastal states to be popular destinations. While Midwestern states continue to lose residents, Michigan became a balanced state after six consecutive years of steady outbound moves. Atlas first conducted the study in 1993 to track the nation's interstate moving patterns.

In 2011, warmer climate states tended to stay balanced or see an increase in inbound moves. Historical data suggests this trend in moving is likely related to retirement and weather preferences.

For the first time in six years, Michigan went from a perennially outbound state to a balanced state. Michigan now joins South Dakota and Iowa as the only Midwest states to remain balanced in 2011, as the rest of the Midwest continued to lose residents.

Five states that were balanced in 2010 are now outbound states, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, West Virginia, Louisiana and Utah. Wyoming and Mississippi, which were outbound in 2010, are now balanced. Previously inbound state Kentucky and New Hampshire are balanced in 2011.

The highest number of interstate, or between states, moves occurred in states with larger cities, including, California, Texas, New York, Florida, Georgia and Illinois. California comes in at the top with nearly 15,000 moves in 2011, which accounts for 19 percent of the total interstate moves in North America. For the sixth consecutive year, Washington D.C. had the highest percentage of inbound moves, with 69 percent of all moves being inbound. Yet again, Ohio was the leader in the highest percentage of outbound moves, with outbound moves accounting for 60 percent of the state’s total.
"Our annual migration patterns study is an interesting gauge of the economy, where economic development is taking place and trends to follow throughout the upcoming year,” said Jack Griffin, president and COO of Atlas World Group. "These new findings are especially promising, as we saw the number of moves increase yet again across North America.”

With overall moves up more than seven percent, several shifts in state and regional trends took place:

Northern States
With the exception of New Hampshire, which went from an inbound to a balanced state, and Massachusetts, Connecticut and West Virginia, which transformed from balanced to outbound states, the Northern States saw relatively few changes in moving patterns from 2010 to 2011.

Southern States
The Southeast remains balanced with the exception of Louisiana, which switched from a balanced state to an outbound one in 2011. Southwest states Texas and New Mexico continue to be inbound states, as well as Mid-Atlantic states Virginia and North Carolina. After becoming a newly inbound state in 2010, Kentucky is now balanced.

Midwestern States
Again seeing the majority of its states with more outbound than inbound moves, the Midwest region only has three balanced states – Iowa, South Dakota and Michigan. Despite uncertain economic conditions, Michigan became a balanced state following an six-year streak as an outbound state. Wisconsin, Nebraska and Kansas finished 2011 as outbound states – all of which were previously classified as balanced states for seven, nine and 10 years in a row, respectively.

Western States
The annual study shows that the majority of the Western states remain balanced with only two states changing status. Utah is now an outbound state and Wyoming is now balanced.

Canadian Provinces
Of the 10 provinces, seven are outbound – Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan – two have balanced moving patterns and one has outbound. New Brunswick, one of the balanced provinces, is in its fourth year out of five as balanced. Of the three territories, Nunavut is outbound, the Northwest Territories are balanced and Yukon is not classified in any of the three categories with only one move in 2011.

How status is determined
Each state or province’s status is determined by its threshold value, which is the total number of shipments multiplied by 0.55 (i.e., in a state with 100 moves, at least 55 must be outgoing to be considered outbound). All other states or provinces in which outbound or inbound numbers don’t exceed the threshold are classified as balanced. Shipments noted for Canada are cross-border-to the United States or from the United States (not inter-provincial).

To view full results of the 2011 migration patterns, a map and annual histories for each state, visit

About Atlas Van Lines
Atlas Van Lines, a national moving company, is the largest subsidiary of Atlas World Group, an Evansville, Ind.-based company. Atlas World Group companies employ nearly 700 people throughout North America. Nearly 500 Atlas interstate moving agents in the United States and Canada specialize in corporate relocation, household moving services and in the specialized transportation of high-value items such as electronics, fine art, store fixtures and furniture. For more information, visit

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