United States Moving Statistics

By Ross Bentley | August 4, 2023

moving day concept - brown cardboard boxes with belongings stacked over gray wall background

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The rise in remote work has allowed people to move with much greater freedom. Many employees no longer need to reside in the same city or even the same state as their employer. This shift in the employment landscape has come with one huge caveat, though. As remote work became more common, the cost of homeownership increased. While more workers are free to move, not everyone can afford to do so. In fact, the 2021 mover rate was less than half of what it was in 1948, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. A look at moving statistics from 2022 reveals a few moving trends for 2024.

Key Moving Statistics

According to an analysis of 2022 U.S. Census Bureau data published by Brookings, moving in the United States followed these trends:



Top 10 States People Left

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, here are the top 10 states and territories that people left in 2022 and their net migration rates. These states had the lowest percentages of net migration as percentages of their populations, meaning more people moved out than in.

  1. New York: -1.13%
  2. Illinois: -0.88%
  3. Louisiana: -0.84%
  4. Puerto Rico: -0.82%
  5. Hawaii: -0.66%
  6. California: -0.56%
  7. Alaska: -0.51%
  8. Maryland: -0.35%
  9. New Jersey: -0.27%
  10. Oregon: -0.24%

This list closely resembles the list of states with the highest annual average cost of living, according to data published by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. New York, Hawaii, California, Alaska, Maryland, and Oregon ranked among the top 10 most expensive states in 2022, and New Jersey was not far behind. Illinois and Louisiana are exceptions. While Puerto Rico does not have a high cost of living, damages from Hurricane Fiona in September 2022 likely contributed to a sizable exodus.



Top 10 States People Moved to

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, here are the top 10 states or territories that people moved to in 2022 and their net migration rates.These states had the highest percentages of net migration as percentages of their populations, meaning that more people moved in than moved away.

  1. Florida: 2%
  2. South Carolina: 1.79%
  3. Montana: 1.59%
  4. Idaho: 1.57%
  5. Delaware: 1.4%
  6. Tennessee: 1.27%
  7. Arizona: 1.27%
  8. South Dakota: 1.23%
  9. North Carolina: 1.18%
  10. Texas: 1.16%



Are High Home Prices Driving People From Certain States?

One reason to move from one state to another is the cost of living—specifically, the cost of purchasing a home in a certain state. We already mentioned how the cost of living in the top 10 moved-from states correlates with the moving trends observed in 2022. But what about home prices?

To answer this question, we looked at the cities that had the highest and lowest median home sale costs in 2022. Seven of the 10 cities with the most expensive home prices were in California or Hawaii, both states that experienced a net loss in migration. The rest were in Colorado or Utah. Although these states did not rank among the top 10 most-left states in 2022, they did have higher-than-average living costs.

Among the cities with the lowest home sale prices in 2022, three are located in Ohio, two are in Illinois, and two are in North Carolina. North Carolina ranked ninth on the list of states people moved to in 2022, while Illinois and Ohio ranked in the top 20 least expensive places to live based on the cost-of-living index.

Based on these statistics, it seems that high home prices and living costs may be driving people from certain cities and states to others. However, there are likely many other factors at play.



Cities With the Highest Median Home Sale Costs

Below are the 10 U.S. cities that had the highest median home costs in 2022, according to data published by Zillow. Note that these figures were calculated using the median average of home sales each month in 2022.


San Jose, CA


Santa Cruz, CA


San Francisco, CA


Heber, UT


Breckenridge, CO


Kahului, HI


Edwards, CO


Kapaa, HI


Los Angeles, CA


Napa, CA


Cities With the Lowest Median Home Sale Costs

Based on median home sale prices, the following cities were the least expensive in 2022. Note that for this list, Zillow only considered cities that ranked within the top 200 housing markets by size.


Peoria, IL


Youngstown, OH


Rockford, IL


Birmingham, NY


Davenport, IA


Toledo, OH


Erie, PA


Canton, OH


Winston-Salem, NC


Greensboro, NC





Although moving rates within the United States hit historic lows in 2021 and 2022, long-distance moves have become more common. This curious trend may be due to the rise in remote work. When jobs are tied to physical locations, local moves are more common. Workers tend to stay within the same county because moving away would mean commuting further or hunting for a new job.

As more employers offer remote work positions, Americans have been able to base their housing decisions on other factors—such as the median home price or cost of living in a certain place. Remote workers have more freedom to shop around for a better price, and many seem to be taking advantage of that fact, migrating away from expensive cities and into more affordable areas.