United States Migration Patterns: Where are People Moving To?

A recent study by United Van Lines tracking 2018 United States migration patterns shows which states people are moving to.  According to the study, the top 5 states experiencing the highest rates of inbound migration are:

Top 5 States Growing due to United States Migration Patterns

  1. Vermont
  2. Oregon
  3. Idaho
  4. Nevada
  5. Arizona

To understand these patterns, it is best to look at a number of local as well as national trends and how these trends impact each state.


Vermont benefits from United States migration patterns impacting employment and jobs. This state has a relatively small population compared to other states. Therefore, significant growth in employment is due mostly to people moving to the state to take new jobs or as a transferee within their company. Vermont industries experiencing exceptional growth include:

  • Renewable and Clean Energy including the highest number of solar jobs per capita in the nation
  • Tourism and Outdoor Recreation including top destinations for skiing, camping, and hiking
  • Food Processing including craft beer, cheeses, and maple products
  • Financial Services and Insurance including #1 ranking in the world for assets under management in captive insurance

Vermont is also well known for its beauty, with mountains, lakes, and four distinct seasons. The state has many pristine areas, and tourism is a significant industry. As a result, retirement is another factor driving United States migration patterns with Vermont as a choice retirement destination.


Oregon benefits from United States migration patterns impacting employment and jobs. The state’s economy is one of the fastest-growing in the nation. This is due in part to significant job growth in the manufacturing sector including:

  • Computer and electronic products
  • Machinery
  • Primary metal

Oregon’s landscape includes mountains, lakes, rivers, forests, and waterfalls. The natural areas encourage an outdoor lifestyle, and several state parks are ideally situated for camping, hiking, biking, and boating.


Idaho has seen growth from United States migration patterns relating to retirement. More than half of movers into the state were in the age range between 55 an 74 years old. New residents to Idaho gain access to several lifestyle features they could not have in more populated areas, including:

  • Outstanding National Parks
  • Mild climate with four seasons
  • Neighborhood walkability
  • Low cost of living
  • Educational and cultural centers

Idaho has a relatively low estimated population of 1,790,000 residents. Comparing Idaho to other states, population density is 19.8 people per square mile versus the national average of 434.9 people per square mile. New York by comparison has 419.0 people per square mile. Idaho is known for wide open spaces.


Nevada benefits from United States migration patterns impacting employment and jobs. Most migration to the state is for people to take a new job. The state’s growth industries include:

  • Tourism including Gaming
  • Clean Energy Initiatives including Solar, Wind, and Geothermal
  • Mining including Gold, Silver, and Lithium
  • Aerospace and Defense including several Air Force Bases
  • Information Technology powered by a strong Digital Infrastructure

With no income tax, low property taxes, and a warm climate, retirees find Nevada a welcoming place. Around half of movers into the state were in the age range between 55 an 74 years old.


Arizona benefits from United States migration patterns relating to retirement. Most of the moves to Arizona were for retirement, followed closely by moves for a new job or as a transferee. There are several reasons people choose Arizona for retirement, including:

  • Generally pleasant climate
  • Exceptional natural attractions such as the Grand Canyon
  • Low cost of living
  • Greater number of retirees for social groups
  • Tax-friendly policies

Arizona is increasingly diversifying its economy, with growth in a number of industries including:

  • Bioscience Research and Development
  • Technology and Innovation
  • Manufacturing including High Tech
  • Aerospace and Defense including top ranking University Programs
  • Business and Financial Services including Data Centers

According to a new economic report by State Policy Reports, Arizona ranks #3 in the nation for economic momentum. The momentum is based on Arizona’s growth in categories such as population, employment, and personal income.

What Do United States Migration Patterns Mean for Employers?

Employers in the states of Vermont, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, and Arizona benefit from United States migration patterns that draw a variety of new residents. Growing industries with burgeoning job opportunities tend to generate additional jobs. As a result, communities grow in population and related services are needed such as housing, retail, insurance, and child care. Demand for employees may be strong in these states and many other locations, especially during tight labor markets.

What Should Employers do About United States Migration Patterns?

Employers in locations that benefit from United States migration patterns should review their company’s growth plans and requirements for jobs across all levels of skill sets. A company’s growth plans will impact the number and type of jobs required to meet business plans and goals.

Since the nation is experiencing low unemployment, employers should review their talent acquisition and management programs to ensure they remain competitive to attract and retain new hires and transferees. Relocation Management Companies (RMCs) can provide expert assistance to employers to benchmark their relocation policies and add enhancements that attract talent.


GMS’ team of corporate relocation experts has helped thousands of our clients develop relocation programs that attract and retain qualified employees. Our team can help your company determine how to leverage United States migration patterns for talent acquisition and management.

GMS was the first relocation company to register as a .com, created the first online interactive tools and calculators, and revolutionized the entire relocation industry. GMS continues to set the industry pace as the pioneer in innovation and technology solutions with its proprietary MyRelocation® technology platform.

Learn best practices from Global Mobility Solutions, the relocation industry and technology experts who are dedicated to keeping you informed and connected. Contact our experts online to discuss your company’s relocation program needs. Since United States migration patterns may lead to a growing local population and potential future workforce, be sure your company’s relocation program supports talent acquisition. Give our experts a call at 800.617.1904 or 480.922.0700 today.

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Senior Vice President, Global Account Management Sam joined Global Mobility Solutions in 1996 and has a unique perspective with her 25 years of industry experience. Samantha offers her clients relocation expertise and a commitment to excellence in her. Her proficiency in orchestrating the BVO and GPO Programs, as well as relocation policy design and implementation, are invaluable assets to the accounts she manages. Her experience in administering Pre-Decision Relocation services to enhance the recruiting process further demonstrates her unique abilities to service her clients. Samantha’s diverse experience, leadership, and outstanding communication skills enable her to manage the relocation process for her clients with finesse and polished professionalism.

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