Residents Are Fleeing California, But It’s The Top Destination For Movers From 6 States

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Americans are moving South.

Between 2021 and 2022, eight of the 10 states with the highest net migration (more people moving in than moving out) were in the South. Of these, Florida and Texas were the only ones with a net gain of at least 100,000 residents.

After looking at our findings, stick around for expert tips on making a move across state lines, including how to minimize potential moving debts.

  • Florida had the highest net migration between 2021 and 2022. During this period, nearly 739,000 Americans moved to Florida, while just less than 490,000 left — a net increase of more than 249,000. The highest number of new Florida residents — more than 91,000 — came from New York, while Floridians most commonly moved to bordering Georgia.
  • Texas had the second-highest net migration. Between 2021 and 2022, Texas had about 174,000 more move in than move out. California was the top state for Americans moving to and from Texas: While just about 42,000 Texans moved to California, more than 102,000 California residents headed to Texas.
  • Eight of the 10 states with the highest net migration were in the South. Arizona (No. 4) and Connecticut (No. 7) were the only states outside of the South that cracked the top 10. Of the 10, three had residents most commonly moving from Florida, while New York and California occupied two top move-out spots each.
  • Americans most commonly left expensive states. California had the highest net decrease in residents between 2021 and 2022, losing nearly 342,000. New York followed, losing about 244,000. Although less expensive, tax-burdened Illinois rounded out the top three, losing about 116,000 residents.
  • Despite losing the most residents, California was the top destination for movers from six states. Beyond Texas, Americans from Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Hawaii and Utah most commonly moved to California. Notably, Oregon was the only state bordering California where the top destination for movers wasn’t California. Meanwhile, Florida was the top destination for movers from nine states.

Across the U.S., the Sunshine State is attracting the most residents. Between 2021 and 2022, Florida had a net increase of more than 249,000 Americans — with nearly 739,000 Americans moving to Florida and just less than 490,000 leaving.

According to LendingTree senior economist Jacob Channel, it’s understandable why Florida might appear enticing to movers — though it isn’t always sunshine and rainbows.

“Florida is an often affordable state where there’s typically a lot to do, plenty of places to eat and year-round warm weather,” he says. “That said, Florida isn’t some sort of perfect utopia where everyone should live. The state has plenty of problems, and if it doesn’t start putting more effort toward supporting lower-wage workers and building more affordable housing, it’s probably only a matter of time before people stop flocking there.”

The median home value in Florida is $33,200 higher than the U.S. median, at $354,100 versus $320,900 — making it a pricey state for homeowners.

Of course, retirement also plays a role. With no state income tax and a relatively average cost of living — according to 2023 data from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) — Florida has long been a top retirement destination. In fact, Florida needs its retirees to keep its population growing. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data showed Florida had about 261,000 deaths and just 216,000 births in 2021, for a net loss of around 45,000 before migration. That’s the highest net loss of the natural population of any state.

The highest number of new Florida residents came from New York, at more than 91,000. New York was followed by California (about 51,000) and New Jersey (47,000). Meanwhile, over 51,000 Florida residents moved to Georgia — making it the top destination for Florida movers. After that, Florida residents most commonly moved to Texas (about 42,000) and North Carolina (about 35,000).

Following Florida, Texas had the next highest net increase from migration. In the period analyzed, Texas had about 174,000 more residents move in than move out. Like Florida, Texas doesn’t have a personal income tax, nor does it have a corporate income tax. Coupled with its lower-than-average cost of living, it’s understandable why Texas may be appealing to so many Americans. Notably, Texas had the largest net natural population increase of any state, gaining nearly 106,000 residents when comparing births and deaths — a stark contrast to Florida’s net natural population decrease.

As far as who Texas attracts most, California residents top the list — but many Texas residents are similarly drawn to California. Just about 42,000 Texas residents moved to California from 2021 to 2022, but more than 102,000 California residents moved to Texas.

In total, 32 states had a net population gain from migration between 2021 and 2022.

As for where residents are heading, many are making their way South. Across the 10 states with the highest net migration between 2021 and 2022, eight were Southern states. Of those outside the South, Arizona and Connecticut ranked No. 4 and No. 7, respectively.

Why the South? Channel says Southern states are among the most affordable areas in the nation. And, unlike some similarly affordable Midwestern states, they don’t typically get much, if any, snow.

“On top of that, while some people are attracted to colder parts of the country, there’s no getting around how difficult snow and freezing temperatures can make life,” he says. “Something as basic as driving to the store can be all but impossible with too much snow on the ground. And, as you age, doing things like shoveling your driveway becomes more and more difficult.”

However, Channel cautions that Southern states aren’t perfect. “Many of them are among the most impoverished areas in the nation, and though things like housing might appear cheap compared to other parts of the country, high poverty rates can make homebuying or renting very difficult for many Southerners,” he says.

10 states with highest net migration

Rank State Moved in Moved out Net change Most moved to Most moved from
1 Florida 738,969 489,905 249,064 Georgia New York
2 Texas 668,338 494,077 174,261 California California
3 North Carolina 341,582 259,422 82,160 South Carolina Florida
4 Arizona 282,729 204,734 77,995 California California
5 Georgia 327,795 253,275 74,520 Florida Florida
6 South Carolina 219,707 154,398 65,309 North Carolina North Carolina
7 Connecticut 145,315 88,733 56,582 New York New York
8 Tennessee 225,969 182,669 43,300 Florida Florida
9 Alabama 139,263 102,894 36,369 Georgia Georgia
10 Oklahoma 117,788 85,782 32,006 Texas Texas

Source: LendingTree analysis of U.S. Census Bureau state-to-state migration data between 2021 and 2022.

Of the top 10, many had residents moving from other Southern states. Specifically, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee had residents most commonly moving from Florida, while South Carolina had residents most commonly moving from North Carolina. Alabama had residents most commonly moving from Georgia, and Oklahoma had residents most commonly moving from Texas.

Outside of this, Florida and Connecticut most commonly had residents moving from New York, while Texas and Arizona most commonly had residents moving from California.

Full rankings

States with highest net migration

Rank State Moved in Moved out Net change Most moved to Most moved from
1 Florida 738,969 489,905 249,064 Georgia New York
2 Texas 668,338 494,077 174,261 California California
3 North Carolina 341,582 259,422 82,160 South Carolina Florida
4 Arizona 282,729 204,734 77,995 California California
5 Georgia 327,795 253,275 74,520 Florida Florida
6 South Carolina 219,707 154,398 65,309 North Carolina North Carolina
7 Connecticut 145,315 88,733 56,582 New York New York
8 Tennessee 225,969 182,669 43,300 Florida Florida
9 Alabama 139,263 102,894 36,369 Georgia Georgia
10 Oklahoma 117,788 85,782 32,006 Texas Texas
11 Kentucky 113,197 88,556 24,641 Ohio Indiana
12 Idaho 87,949 70,542 17,407 Washington California
13 New Mexico 72,095 58,443 13,652 Texas Texas
14 Nevada 127,406 114,131 13,275 California California
15 Delaware 46,162 33,691 12,471 Pennsylvania Pennsylvania
16 Arkansas 86,375 74,408 11,967 Texas Texas
17 Indiana 149,331 137,624 11,707 Illinois Illinois
18 Mississippi 69,948 59,596 10,352 Tennessee Tennessee
19 Montana 48,165 38,483 9,682 Arizona Washington
20 Kansas 94,208 84,558 9,650 Missouri Missouri
21 Maine 41,618 34,659 6,959 Florida Massachusetts
22 Missouri 163,254 156,845 6,409 Kansas Kansas
23 North Dakota 34,536 28,359 6,177 Minnesota Minnesota
24 Ohio 200,809 196,766 4,043 Florida Florida
25 Alaska 36,563 32,755 3,808 Texas Utah
26 Vermont 26,151 23,170 2,981 New York Massachusetts
27 West Virginia 43,493 40,535 2,958 Ohio Virginia
28 New Hampshire 49,782 46,866 2,916 Massachusetts Massachusetts
29 South Dakota 31,300 28,803 2,497 Minnesota Minnesota
30 Wyoming 28,948 27,005 1,943 Colorado Colorado
31 Iowa 72,231 70,359 1,872 Illinois Illinois
32 Rhode Island 40,311 39,156 1,155 Massachusetts Massachusetts
33 Nebraska 49,159 49,472 -313 Iowa Colorado
34 Wisconsin 120,434 121,329 -895 Minnesota Illinois
35 District of Columbia 64,506 67,904 -3,398 Maryland Maryland
36 Colorado 229,876 239,200 -9,324 Texas California
37 Washington 248,355 257,785 -9,430 California California
38 Michigan 157,955 167,885 -9,930 Florida Florida
39 Hawaii 56,209 67,257 -11,048 California California
40 Minnesota 117,016 130,807 -13,791 Wisconsin Wisconsin
41 Virginia 266,970 282,050 -15,080 North Carolina Maryland
42 Pennsylvania 262,700 278,699 -15,999 Florida New York
43 Utah 91,341 109,290 -17,949 California California
44 Oregon 128,359 157,729 -29,370 Washington California
45 Louisiana 75,330 105,897 -30,567 Texas Texas
46 Massachusetts 171,077 214,644 -43,567 New Hampshire New York
47 Maryland 139,784 205,406 -65,622 Virginia Virginia
48 New Jersey 175,023 267,106 -92,083 Florida New York
49 Illinois 228,308 344,027 -115,719 Florida California
50 New York 301,461 545,598 -244,137 Florida New Jersey
51 California 475,803 817,669 -341,866 Texas Texas

Source: LendingTree analysis of U.S. Census Bureau state-to-state migration data between 2021 and 2022.

On the other end of the list, Americans most commonly left expensive states between 2021 and 2022. Specifically, California ranked first. While nearly 476,000 residents moved into California, nearly 818,000 left — a net decrease of about 342,000.

According to another LendingTree study on moving pressures, California was the top state where adults were most likely to feel pressured to move, at 28.75%.

New York followed, losing about 244,000 residents. Both California and New York are among the most expensive states in which to live, with the cost of living at least 25 percentage points more expensive than the U.S. average in 2023, according to MERIC.

10 states with lowest net migration

Rank State Moved in Moved out Net change Most moved to Most moved from
1 California 475,803 817,669 -341,866 Texas Texas
2 New York 301,461 545,598 -244,137 Florida New Jersey
3 Illinois 228,308 344,027 -115,719 Florida California
4 New Jersey 175,023 267,106 -92,083 Florida New York
5 Maryland 139,784 205,406 -65,622 Virginia Virginia
6 Massachusetts 171,077 214,644 -43,567 New Hampshire New York
7 Louisiana 75,330 105,897 -30,567 Texas Texas
8 Oregon 128,359 157,729 -29,370 Washington California
9 Utah 91,341 109,290 -17,949 California California
10 Pennsylvania 262,700 278,699 -15,999 Florida New York

Source: LendingTree analysis of U.S. Census Bureau state-to-state migration data between 2021 and 2022.

Illinois followed in a distant third, with a net loss of 116,000 residents. While Illinois isn’t quite as expensive as California and New York, taxes there are higher than in many neighboring states — which can incentivize some people to leave. In 2022, New York had a state and local effective tax rate of 15.9%, California had a rate of 13.5% and Illinois had a rate of 12.9%, according to the Tax Foundation, all within the 10 highest.

Of course, Channel says, not every city in these states is going to be prohibitively expensive. And it’s worth pointing out that even if they saw a net decrease in residents from 2021 to 2022, all three states remain among the most populous in the U.S.

“Even if their states are a bit less dense than before, places like New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose are likely going to remain global, cultural and economic hubs well into the future,” Channel says.

In all, 19 states had a net population loss between 2021 and 2022.

Despite losing the most residents, California was the top destination for movers from six states: Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Hawaii and Utah. Notably, all six states also most commonly attracted California residents. Of the states that border the Golden State, Oregon was the only one where residents weren’t most likely to move to California.

With hubs like San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles, it’s not entirely surprising that California attracts so many residents. In fact, young college graduates have long been the most likely to move to California, mostly for job opportunities, according to the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). Additionally, PPIC finds that those who move to California typically have higher incomes than those who move away, meaning they’re more likely to withstand the high cost of living in the state.

States where residents were most likely to move to California

State Number that moved into California from state
Texas 42,279
Washington 31,866
Arizona 27,412
Nevada 22,183
Utah 13,149
Hawaii 10,747

Source: LendingTree analysis of U.S. Census Bureau state-to-state migration data between 2021 and 2022.

Meanwhile, Florida was the top destination for movers from nine states — the most of any state. Of these states, four also most commonly attracted Florida residents.

States where residents were most likely to move to Florida

State Number that moved into Florida from state
New York 91,201
New Jersey 47,000
Georgia 39,990
Pennsylvania 35,384
Illinois 35,262
Ohio 27,257
Michigan 23,781
Tennessee 20,651
Maine 6,242

Source: LendingTree analysis of U.S. Census Bureau state-to-state migration data between 2021 and 2022.

Moving is a stressful — often life-changing — decision. And it’s one many have considered: According to a LendingTree survey on moving, 31% of Americans were contemplating a move in 2023.

Moving is a decision, Channel says, that shouldn’t be taken lightly. For those considering a move across state lines, he recommends the following:

  • Do your research and don’t rush. “The grass on the other side of the fence often looks a lot greener than it is,” Channel says. “Leaving one state for another might seem like a good idea, but it doesn’t always work out. If you’re in a rush to move to a new state and don’t thoroughly research its positives and negatives, you could find that your new area isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be and end up making yourself miserable.”
  • Make sure you’ve got a job and housing lined up. “This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s probably not a good idea to move to a new state without first having a job and place to live there,” he says. “If you work a remote job, be sure your employer is OK with you moving to a new state. You don’t want them finding out you live in a new area and then using that as a justification for firing you.”
  • Don’t underestimate the cost of moving. “The costs associated with moving even a short distance can quickly add up, and moving to a new state is usually anything but cheap,” Channel says. “Before you set your heart on moving to a new state, be sure you can afford it.” If you don’t have the cash on hand but know you can pay it back, a moving loan may be a good option.
  • Prepare emotionally. “When we talk about moving, we often focus on the financial aspects, like how much movers will cost or whether you’ll be able to find a new job in your new area,” he says. “But there’s also an emotional element to moving. If you want to move to a new state, be sure you’re truly prepared to leave your current area and the family and friends who live there. Remember, a new job or a lower cost of living that a new state could bring might not necessarily be worth it if it requires you to strain your relationships with your loved ones.”

LendingTree researchers analyzed U.S. Census Bureau state-to-state migration data to rank the states with the highest net migration (people moving in minus people moving out).

Specifically, we compared the number of people who immigrated to a state to those who emigrated from a state between 2021 and 2022. We ranked the states from highest to lowest based on net change.

Source

This article originally appeared on LendingTree and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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This article originally appeared on LendingTree and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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