Due to the shifting economy, rise in remote work opportunities, and desire to relocate to less densely populated areas, more than one in ten Americans moved in the first part of 2021 alone. With more than 35 million address changes in the last year—including both permanent and temporary changes—it’s no wonder why U.S. migration trends have been changing! How will U.S. moving patterns continue to change in 2022? Check out these migration trends to keep an eye on in the coming year and the current most popular states to move to when relocating!
Moving Trends for 2022
When we examined various trends and migration patterns from 2021, there were some commonalities that stood out, which may help predict how and where Americans will relocate in 2022.
Affordability Is Crucial
With an unemployment rate and economy that are still recovering from the global pandemic, many Americans are looking to move to a different state or city for lower living and housing costs. Finances and growing expenses were the main reasons behind Americans moving in 2021, with nearly half of Americans lacking emergency funds to cover higher-cost living expenses.
Americans looking to relocate who had higher financial security were able to consider the pros and cons of urban vs. suburban living, which led to many taking the opportunity to purchase affordable homes. The rise of remote work has allowed many Americans who previously lived in expensive cities to relocate to more affordable cities. This U.S. migration pattern explains why 82% of urban areas have seen more people moving out, while suburban areas have seen more people moving in.
More Space Is All the Rage
Many homebuyers opted for more spacious areas in 2021, a moving trend we anticipate to continue in 2022. 31% of young adults living in urban areas said the pandemic, proximity to family, and work options lead them to relocate to another state. Many others who were considering moving to a new state or city looked for homes with desirable amenities like yard space, home offices, designated spaces for remote learning, and home gyms or workout options. Ultimately, people want homes with porches, spacious backyards, and room to breathe.
The desire for more space has Americans flocking to places like Idaho, New Mexico, and Maine, which are among the least populated states in America. On the flip side, the top states people departed from in 2021—places like Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut—are some of the most densely populated states in the country.
People from All Age Groups Are Moving
Based on the demographic trends of who moved in 2020 and 2021, we predict people of all ages and backgrounds will continue to move in 2022. Professionals, families, and retirees have been moving homes, and many young adults are moving south and west across the United States. Almost 10% of singles, young adults, and young professionals moved in the first part of 2020, due to reasons like financial and housing changes caused by the pandemic. This includes students who moved home because of college housing shutdowns and young people who relocated to more affordable cities for remote work opportunities. Additionally, many families with kids relocated to be closer to grandparents, childhood friends, and other extended family members. Even retirees have chosen to move out-of-state to other places like Arizona, Florida, or South Carolina!
Work-from-Home Jobs Are on the Rise
The growth of remote work opportunities will likely continue to influence U.S. migration trends in 2022. More than 40% of remote workers expect to continue working remotely or to follow a hybrid work model, rather than going back to the office full-time. Those with remote-working jobs no longer have to adhere to the high housing costs of massive labor markets, which means a large portion of those individuals are taking advantage of the opportunity to purchase less expensive homes.
As more Americans experience remote work, its desirability increases. The lack of a commute saves workers both time and money, and flexible work schedules allow employees to prioritize family, health, or other activities. If Americans don’t already have a work-from-home job allowing them to live where they want, they may be looking to move to cities with amazing remote work opportunities. Cities like Cleveland, Chattanooga, and Salt Lake City offer plenty of work-from-home or hybrid work opportunities, making them attractive destinations to move in 2022.
People Moved to Suburbs Outside Big Cities
An examination of U.S. moving patterns revealed a nationwide shift from downtown communities to the surrounding suburbs, indicating a rise in desirability for suburban living. Able to work remotely and no longer attached to city centers, homebuyers often looked to purchase housing in less dense neighborhoods.
Another 2021 moving trend, many movers relocated to more suburban areas rather than stay in the city center, but still stayed in-county. For instance, home sales in suburban communities surrounding NYC have increased dramatically compared to in-city dwellings. Even though rent continues to stay relatively low in the city, suburban living can provide housing options with more space, better school districts, and more affordable housing costs.
Proximity to Family Is Important
Proximity to family and loved ones has been found to be one of the main reasons people will stay in their hometowns or eventually move back home, and this fact has not changed in recent years. Of those who chose to move in 2021, 30% stated proximity to family was the primary cause.
The geographic location of family can be a deciding factor for Americans of all ages when moving out-of-state or to a new city. Many people who move may choose to live with family in order to lower living expenses, while others relocate so they can be present for family functions, offer support for older and new parents, or bond with siblings and extended family. The recent growth in remote work opportunities makes moving closer to family a more sustainable and long-term option.
Top States People Are Moving to in 2022
We looked at the states that saw the most growth in 2021 and noticed some trends that may carry over into 2022. Specifically, states with more space, lower costs of living, and remote work options will continue being the ideal places to live in the U.S. Check out this list of the top six states people are moving to!
Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Chandler all saw population growth in 2021. And because Tucson is one of the best cities for remote work, Arizona is the perfect place for those looking for work-from-home opportunities or digital nomads looking for that Southwestern heat. The Grand Canyon State’s warm climate can also help improve health, and its proximity to outdoor recreation has made it a top destination for Americans moving out-of-state, county, or city. Living in Arizona allows residents to live near Grand Canyon National Park, enjoy the stunning natural beauty of Glen Canyon, hit the links at high-quality golf courses like Raven Golf Club and TPC Scottsdale, or explore famous ghost town Jerome!
The Sunshine State ranked as the best state to move in 2020, and relocations to Florida have continued to rise in 2021. Warm weather, diversity, and affordability cause many movers to choose Florida as their new home. While the state may have a higher cost of living than the national average, Florida-living isn’t impossible—there’s no state income tax, property taxes are low, and Florida housing is relatively affordable, too. The Sunshine State offers a variety of experiences to explore, including the Latin American influence of Miami, the beaches and bay access of Tampa, and the history of Tallahassee. Plus, Jacksonville is considered one of the best places to work remotely! Moving to Florida gives residents entertainment options like Disney World and Universal Studios, but locals also love exploring the state’s outdoor curiosities including the Sunken Gardens, Dry Tortugas National Park, Devil’s Den Spring, and the Cape Romano Dome Houses.
One of the least populated states, Idaho offers people looking to spread out open space and growing economic opportunities. Idaho saw more than twice as many people move in as move out in 2020, with Meridian and Nampa among the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. Idaho is one of the best states for jobs, with Boise topping the list of cities with great job opportunities. Plus, with its low cost of living—which is 2.3% lower than the national average—and low crime rates, the Gem State is great for families and retirees alike. Among Idaho’s many attractions are Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve, Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Lake Coeur d’Alene, and Shoshone Falls.
North Carolina has become one of the top states for remote work in recent years, which compliments its low cost of living and outdoor opportunities. And because many companies moved to more affordable locales like Durham and Raleigh in 2020, The Old North State became a popular pandemic destination. However, migration patterns show people continued to move to North Carolina throughout 2021 because of the state’s location and affordability. These trends could continue to play a role in why Americans decide to move in 2022. Locals love to go bird-watching at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, take in breathtaking views during a hike through Chimney Rock State Park, and admire the scenery of “America’s favorite drive,” along Blue Ridge Parkway.
Home to some of the best places to live in the South, The Palmetto State offers incoming residents affordable living with unique weather, an interesting history, and plenty of delicious foods, including South Carolina’s state fruit, peaches! The cost of living in South Carolina is substantially lower than the national average and the median home price follows suit, coming in at $300,000. Charleston and Columbia are two of the state’s best cities to move to because they offer big city amenities with a small town feel. Because this state sees plenty of sunny days and rain, residents flock to many of the state parks in South Carolina including Aiken State Park and Table Rock State Park. Locals also enjoy the white sand beaches of Myrtle Beach, the day and night markets at the Charleston City Market, the Isle of Palms, and experiencing both thrills and family-friendly fun at Dollywood.
The sprawling prairies of the Lone Star State draw in movers seeking room to grow, affordable land and housing, and remote or in-person job opportunities. While big cities like Austin and Dallas continually experience growth, it’s Texas’ suburbs that are really seeing a boom because of out-of-state movers and people leaving the city. Suburbs and smaller cities like Katy, Richmond, and Frisco have seen an increase in population growth during the pandemic, due to the low cost of living and land owning options. Not only does Texas offer considerable space, great culture, and plenty of things to do, but it’s also one of the best states to get a job working from home. When you live in Texas, you can explore the extensive network of hiking trails at Big Bend National Park, splash in the surf at Stewart Beach, spray-paint your custom design on the sculptures at Cadillac Ranch, or wander through the cave systems at Natural Bridge Caverns.
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