Americans are moving all the time. Whether they’re seeking a better life, better employment, or just want a change of scenery, people all over the country pack up their lives and head from their home states to somewhere new.
So which states are they leaving?
Luckily, a moving company called United Van Lines can tell us. They help thousands of people move every year, and they keep track of where everyone’s going. They’ve released their 2020 report, revealing where Americans are leaving, where they’re going, and why. Work is almost always the number 1 factor, but it’s not everything.
Lifestyle, geography, and culture all influence people to pack up and head elsewhere, but money is usually the biggest driving force.
Here’s a breakdown of the states the most Americans are fleeing—and the ones they’re flocking to.
1. New Jersey
Outbound Movers: 68.5%
Unfortunately for the Garden State, this isn’t anything new. For the last 10 years, New Jersey has been near the top of the list for people moving out, and a lot of people leaving give the same reason: Taxes. With some of the highest rates in the country, from property taxes to goods and services, money seems to be the biggest thing driving people away.
One user took to Reddit to defend their state’s beautiful scenery and cultural institutions, but even they had to admit the cons: “High Taxes, poor mass transit, poor highway infrastructure, and people who don’t mind their own business.”
Outbound Movers: 66.5%
Illinois gets the wrong silver medal for the second year in a row. Home to deep dish pizza, vast farmland, and one really big bottle of catsup, there’s another thing most Illinoisans will tell you about their state: High taxes. According to a combined survey by NPR Illinois and the University of Illinois Springfield, 77% of people say that the economy is fair or poor, and yet taxes are still relatively high.
The same survey asked people if they had ever thought about moving elsewhere, and three out of five said yes. Now, one Quora commenter points out that Illinois taxes are so high because they support local school systems—but that doesn’t change the fact that people are leaving more than almost anywhere in America.
3. New York
“Cost of living is too high.”
Outbound Movers: 63.1%
This is probably the most obvious one on the list: New York City is one of the most expensive places in the country to live. With median homes costing $1.6 million and rent running at $5,000 a month, it’s no wonder people are heading for the hills. But it’s not just NYC. A report published by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) on cost of living calculated that New York State has the fifth-highest cost of living in the US.
Once again, like so many others on the leavers list, the main culprit is the same: High taxes.
“Everything is expensive.”
Outbound Movers: 63.0%
If New York’s cost of living is bad, Connecticut’s might be even worse. MERIC has released its information on Connecticut, and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture: Pretty much everything in the state is expensive, but the worst culprits are housing and utilities. For many years, Connecticut relied on people wanting to retire there, but that’s fading fast too. Over a third of the people leaving the state did so because they wanted to retire elsewhere.
Another third left because to find better jobs. And of course, Connecticut has high taxes compared to many other states. All these things combined make Connecticut land at #4.
“Not enough good jobs.”
Outbound Movers: 58.5%
Apparently, people in Kansas haven’t seen the Wizard of Oz, because they’re not saying, “There’s no place like home.” Unlike the states above it on this list, Kansas has relatively low cost-of-living, taxes, and plenty of jobs. The quality is the problem. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people in Kansas earn $6,000 less per year than elsewhere in the US.
Add people leaving to retire or to join family somewhere else, that leaves Kansas in the lurch.
“Low wages, few jobs.”
Outbound Movers: 57.8%
Money is yet again the major reason people are leaving Ohio, but it’s more like Kansas and less like New York. Wages in Ohio are below average compared to the rest of the country, and yet there’s still a high 4.2% unemployment rate. But, according to internet commenters, finances aren’t the only reason people are putting Ohio in the rear-view mirror.
There’s also the weather! With an extreme climate that can fluctuate between scorching in the summer and frigid in the winter, Ohio apparently just isn’t for everybody.
7. (tie) California
“Everything costs more.”
Outbound Movers: 56.9%
This is a new one. While the previous states have been common staples in United Van Lines reports, California just broke the top 10 for the first time. So why are so many people leaving the Golden State? While many on the survey reported that work was the reason they were leaving, that’s not what made California so high on the list.
Why? Because almost as many people who came to California said they did so because of work. They pretty much cancel each other out. No, the reason people are leaving California is much the same as New York: It’s too darn expensive. According to MERIC, California is the third-most-expensive place to live in America.
There’s pricey housing, high taxes, and not to mention the threat of natural disasters like wildfires or earthquakes.
7. (tie) Michigan
“Hard to find work.”
Outbound Movers: 56.9%
Unemployment is a major factor causing people to move away from Michigan. At 4.1%, it’s got one of the highest rates in the country. But even people who have work can have trouble making ends meet. Many jobs in Michigan offer low wages, and the majority of people with work are paid less than $20 per hour.
Because of this, the Michigan Association of United Ways is reporting that more and more households can’t afford basic services. But, according to one Reddit user, that’s not everything: There’s also the fact that Michigan is lacking in a cultural hub—not to mention the same intense weather as Ohio.
9. North Dakota
“Good jobs are hard to find.”
Outbound Movers: 55.2%
North Dakota was never a big hub of population, but this sparse state is getting even sparser. The state can boast an amazingly low unemployment rate of 2.4%—but finding a job here isn’t the problem. It’s finding a good job. On the United Van Lines survey, a whole 60% of the people leaving North Dakota said they were doing so to seek out better job prospects.
But if you ask people who actually live there, that might not be the only reason. One Redditor chalked it up to a “lack of public transportation, lack of style, lack of flavor…(and) lack of seafood.”
“Limited upward mobility.”
Outbound Movers: 55.0%
Iowa has a fairly similar story to North Dakota. Plenty of jobs, but good jobs are few and far in between. That’s why 68% of the people who left said they wanted to find better work. The fact that Iowa’s population growth is almost half that of the national average doesn’t help either.
Redditor aberrantArtificer had to regretfully leave the state, but their options were limited: “It’s hard not to leave when Iowa State gave me such bad financial aid it literally was more expensive than all other schools I applied to…That, combined with potential jobs being very limited in opportunity and restricted to basically two metro areas, make it hard to justify sticking around…”
Outbound Movers: 54.8%
Massachusetts has it all: Amazing history, gorgeous landscapes, world-famous institutions—but those don’t amount to much if you can’t afford to live there. MERIC’s cost of living index paints a grim picture for people hoping to settle down in Massachusetts, labeling it as the sixth most expensive state in the US.
One user took to Reddit to try and find out what makes living in Boston so expensive, and time and time again, the answer was the same: Skyrocketing rent thanks to not enough housing. Until that changes, people are going to keep leaving Massachusetts for somewhere cheaper.
“High unemployment rate, scorching hot summers.”
Outbound Movers: 54.7%
Cost of living is not the problem in Louisiana. You just have to look at the state’s unemployment rate to find out why so many people are leaving: At 4.9%, Louisana is well over the national average. Census data reveals that one in five people in the state are living below the poverty line, so it’s little wonder that many are packing up and moving out to where job prospects are better.
Then there’s the weather: One user took to Quora to get a sense of what living in Louisiana is like, and commenter Delani Lass didn’t sugarcoat it: “It is horribly hot in the summer. (100 degrees with 100% humidity). Summer lasts from April until September/October. It gets cold once a week for two whole days then it warms back up.”
“Tons of room, still not enough housing.”
Outbound Movers: 53.9%
Apparently, there isn’t as much treasure in the Treasure State as there used to be. Money is still a big factor here, but people responding to United Van Lines’ survey gave many reasons for why they were leaving Montana: 32% said work, 27% said family, 23% said retirement, and 20% said lifestyle. Surprisingly, for such a big state with such a small population, housing seems to be a key factor in this exodus. The University of Montana conducted a study and discovered that more and more people were struggling to afford a place to live.
Even people from Montana are admitting there are some serious flaws to living there. In their post “Reasons Montana Sucks,” Redditor DoctorBadger101 highlighted their issues with the state, but mainly chalked it up to one thing: “Isolation.”
“Jobs, housing, traffic.”
Outbound Movers: 52.9%
Virginia is supposed to be for lovers, but fewer and fewer people seem to be falling in love with it nowadays. With tens of thousands of people moving away from the state every year, Virginia is seeing its lowest population growth in a hundred years. So what gives? Over half the people leaving say that they’re looking for better jobs, but that’s not everything.
One Redditor defended their state online, but had to admit some flaws, mainly, “Traffic is consistently terrible,” and, “Housing is pretty expensive for what it is.”
“Too darn cold.”
Outbound Movers: 52.6%
Apparently, all the cheese you can eat isn’t enough to keep people from leaving Wisconsin. Like we see across the whole list, over half the people moving away did so to look for better work, but that’s not the only reason. The majority of people leaving were over 55, so it seems pretty clear most of them don’t want to spend their retirement dealing with Wisconsin’s frigid winters.
In fact, users on Reddit believe the intense winters are probably the state’s biggest drawback: “You’ll notice a lot of people break plans in the winter because of the cold. No one will directly say it, but it happens regularly that plans with people will get a, ‘I’m feeling kinda tired,’ which translates to, ‘I’m under the blankets and Netflix is already on.’ It’s pretty frustrating.”
“High unemployment, low-paying jobs.”
Outbound Movers: 52.4%
The reason people are leaving Kentucky is simple: Work. It has a high unemployment rate at 4.3%, but just because you’ve got a job doesn’t mean life is getting easy. Kentucky has kept the Federal base minimum wage of $7.25 an hour for years, and that doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon.
Many residents have taken to commuting out of state for better job prospects, so is it any surprise they’re moving away too?
“Plenty of jobs, but they don’t pay well.”
Outbound Movers: 52.1%
Indiana can boast better numbers in a lot of areas compared to other states on the list. It has low unemployment rates, low cost of living, and particularly affordable housing. Unfortunately, the jobs in Indiana just don’t match up to the rest of the country. Over 64% of the people leaving Indiana said they wanted to find better work.
Workers in Indiana, on average, earn much less than workers elsewhere, and it’s got the same $7.25 per hour minimum wage as Kentucky. And beyond jobs, the picture doesn’t get much better. Reddit user Red32389 laid their problems with the state bare: “Indiana is below average in life expectancy, per capita GDP, maternal mortality, educational attainment, and infant mortality.”
“Unemployment is a big problem.”
Outbound Movers: 52.0%
The Mississippi Delta isn’t shining like it used to. A whopping 72% of people in the United Van Lines survey said they were leaving Mississippi to find work. With an unemployment rate of 5.7%, more than 2 points above the national average, it’s not hard to see why. And here too, if you do manage to find a job, it might not be all that great. Responding on Quora, Timothy Dunaway had this to say:
“Minimum wage is the norm at most non-factory jobs. Benefits are hard to come by as well. In my county alone, most workers have to travel out of state for decent jobs.”
“The winters aren’t worth it.”
Outbound Movers: 51.9%
Minnesota has a much lower unemployment rate than some of the other states on this list, but the fact that it’s trending upward—up to 3.3% from 2.9% the year before—is certainly a cause for concern. It definitely helps explain why the majority of people who responded to United Van Lines’ survey claimed that jobs were their main reason for leaving. But work isn’t the only factor.
If you search internet forums, everyone who either lives in Minnesota or has left seems to have the same complaint: The winters are just too darn brutal.
“You’re going to pay through the nose for housing.”
Outbound Movers: 51.6%
There are actually several reasons people are leaving Maryland. While the biggest reason is still jobs, retirement is right up there as well, and over half the people leaving are over 55. And there’s another problem: Expensive housing. Believe it or not, Maryland actually ranked 7th in MERIC’s cost of living index, and housing is a big part of that.
If you live in Maryland, you’re going to be paying well over the national average—but on the bright side, you can at least expect affordable health-care compared to elsewhere.
“The tech industry is inflating rent and housing.”
Outbound Movers: 51.4%
At first glance, Utah has it all: Gorgeous landscapes, amazing skiing and snowboarding, and a burgeoning tech industry. But the rise of tech is leaving some people behind. Two-thirds of the people who left Utah said they couldn’t find work in their home state. The tech industry in Utah is doing great, but only one in seven people get jobs in tech. The rest of them are seeing dimming prospects.
One Redditor asked the site, “Why are people moving out of Utah?”, and housing was one of the biggest factors users suggested. They also mentioned that if you’re not Mormon, you might feel a little out of place.
“Manufacturing jobs are drying up.”
Outbound Movers: 51.2%
Pennsylvania has relied on the manufacturing sector for almost its entire history—but the times, they are a changing, and domestic manufacturing just ain’t what it used to be. Even today, 9.5% of Pennsylvania’s workforce is in manufacturing, but it’s a shrinking sector. Between 2008 and 2018, the state lost 80,000 manufacturing jobs, and that number just continues to fall.
So it’s little surprise, then, that many of the people leaving did so to find work.
“Slow growth rate, lousy Midwest weather.”
Outbound Movers: 51.1%
Missouri suffers from some of the same drawbacks as other nearby states. A low population-growth rate seems connected to fewer jobs and lower education rates than elsewhere in the United States, but that’s not all. Like other midwestern states, Missouri suffers from temperamental weather, ranging from brutal winter storms to sweltering summer heat and humidity.
One Redditor who left Missouri said the weather was just too much: “It sucks so bad, that it is our prime motivation to move away.”
Where Americans Are Going
All these people have to be going somewhere: For every state that’s losing people, there’s another where all those people are going! United Van Lines doesn’t just keep track of where people are leaving, so let’s dive into the states that Americans are flocking to.
(Note: Vermont technically has the highest percentage of incoming movers, but since United Van Lines has extremely limited data for the state, we’re keeping it off the list).
“A great place to start a family.”
Incoming Movers: 67.4%
For years, Idaho was like the best-kept secret in America—well, it looks like the secret is officially out! Percentage-wise, more people are moving to Idaho than anywhere else in the country.
So what’s the reason? Basically, the reasons people left so many of the states above are the reasons they’re heading to Idaho. Looking for a job? The job market is booming. Looking for a more affordable lifestyle? The median home price in Boise just $332,698, almost a full million dollars cheaper than in San Francisco.
But it’s more than just money and jobs. If you ask people who live there, they’ll tell you it’s just a great place to live and start a family. Diane Allen, a longtime Idaho native, took to Quora to say, “I loved the fact that my kids knew their teachers in and out of the classroom. I knew their bus drivers and knew my kids were in good hands.”
“Amazing natural beauty and great job prospects.”
Incoming Movers: 65.4%
Pioneers took the Oregon Trail centuries ago, and there’s never been a better time to follow in their footsteps. For three years running, Oregon has claimed the silver medal in United Van Lines’ moving survey. So why do so many people want to call Oregon home? The mountains and forests are an obvious appeal, but the jobs are even better.
Home to big companies like Nike, Columbia, and Fisher Investments, not to mention an ever-growing tech industry, Oregon is a great place to land for anyone looking for good work.
“Few better places to retire.”
Incoming Movers: 63.2%
Weather drew a lot of people 55 and older out of some of the states above—and Arizona is exactly what those retirees are looking for. Low cost of living and gorgeous weather no doubt account for Arizona’s 3rd-place finish, up two places from the same study the year before. When Quora asked, “What makes Arizona a place to live?”, people gave all kinds of answers, from the affordability to the people, but everyone kept coming back to the same thing: The views.
Joe Buettner put it best when he said, “It’s difficult to beat the scenery in Arizona.” Then he let his breathtaking photo collection do the talking.
4. South Carolina
“Great weather, great cost of living.”
Incoming Movers: 61.8%
If weather and money drove people away from the states above, it’s the same reason so many people are heading to South Carolina. There’s a reason that the state’s population is growing at the sixth-highest rate in the entire country. The warm weather is a big plus, but the prices are even better. Alexander Lay on Quora says, “I moved from North Carolina, and the cost of living decrease essentially acted as a 20% raise.”
Who wouldn’t say yes to a 20% raise?
“Jobs, jobs, jobs.”
Incoming Movers: 59.5%
Washington may not have the same number of retirees as other states, but it’s the young people accounting for the Evergreen State’s growth. Ever heard of Amazon? Microsoft? Starbucks? Guess where they all call home. You guessed it: Washington. It’s no surprise, then, that half the people who responded to United Van Lines’ survey said work was the reason they were moving to Washington.
Sure, the cost of living is relatively high, but as PC Ghosh said on Quora: “You get what you pay for.” High cost of living isn’t so bad with an abundance of high-quality work.
6. District of Columbia
“Great jobs and a manageable cost of living.”
Incoming Movers: 59.3%
OK, Washington D.C. isn’t technically a state, but that hasn’t stopped people from flocking to the metropolis in recent years. Remarkably, 75% of people moving to D.C. say it’s because of work. But, high-paying jobs can be a double-edged sword. As Philip Marnell put on Quora: “Residents of Washington, D.C. work long hours. A majority of the people are highly educated and motivated to succeed professionally. Many tend to sacrifice their personal life.”
“A great place to retire.”
Incoming Movers: 58.1%
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone: Over 40% of people moving to Flordia claimed that they’re going there to retire. Quora responder Mace Andrews summed up the appeal in one sentence: “The dress code is literally shorts, T-shirts, tank tops, and flip flops.” However, young people might find a harder time making a go for it in the Sunshine State.
Job prospects have plummeted in 2020, and the state’s economy is going to take some time to recover. But for the retirees who just want sunshine, palm trees, and low taxes? What more could they ask for?
8. South Dakota
Incoming Movers: 57.4%
Take a tour of South Dakota and it’s not hard to picture why so many people want to move there. If you can’t, just ask Nick Blazer on Quora: “Big skies during the day. Fantastic looking clouds. Panoramic sunsets. Freaking awesome thunderstorms and lightning. You can also see the stars at night due to no light pollution.”
But it’s not all landscapes and sunsets. While South Dakota is on the rise, 70% of the people who left claimed they did so to find work, so make sure you’ve got a job locked down before you head to the Mount Rushmore State.
9. North Carolina
“Buying a home has never been easier.”
Incoming Movers: 57.3%
Come for the BBQ—stay for the housing prices. As an anonymous Quora responder put it: “Older and brand new housing developments, the type of home you want can be yours.” Combine that with great food, amazing natural beauty, and a stunning coastline, it’s not hard to see why North Carolina is on the rise.
10. (tie) Tennessee
“Low taxes are music to people’s ears.”
Incoming Movers: 56.1%
Tennessee is a mecca for music lovers, but that’s not the only thing drawing people to the Volunteer State. “Tax wise, people tend to love Tennessee. There is no income tax. Period. None. Property taxes are also extremely low,” says Logan Flowers on Quora. If high taxes are driving people out of some states, then Tennessee is the perfect place for them to end up.
Flowers does point out, “Sales tax can be rather high…with most places resting somewhere between 9-10%,” but for many, that’s a small price to pay. Coupled with a laid-back lifestyle, legendary food, and great music, it’s little wonder Tennessee is on the way up.
10. (tie) New Mexico
Incoming Movers: 56.1%
New Mexico exploded up the ranking last year, skyrocketing 13 spots to end up in a tie for 10th place. So what about the Land of Enchantment do movers find so enchanting? Reddit user sunshine2survive can’t speak highly of it enough: “I never want to leave if possible.” From easy commutes to great food to stunning landscapes, New Mexico is bursting with reasons to move there.
But sunshine2survive admits that it might not be the best place for someone struggling financially: “It’s heartbreaking how very poor this state is.”
“Never a dull moment.”
Incoming Movers: 55.8%
A whole lot of Americans decided to try their luck and make tracks for the Silver State in 2019. So what draws them to the gambling capital of the US? Geoff Wilcox on Quora writes, “Taxes are low, the weather is good overall besides the hot summers. The weather is dry, real estate isn’t too overpriced, and it’s easy to travel around…”
So, kinda like Arizona, but with gambling. What’s not to like?
“On the up and up for young people starting a life.”
Incoming Movers: 55.6%
Texas is working its way up United Van Lines’ survey, but at least we know one thing: As the biggest state in the contiguous US, they’ve got plenty of room to fit them all! So why are more and more people heading to the Lone Star State? Despite its reputation for oilmen and cowboys, Texas’s major cities are making it a better place than ever for young professionals to start their careers.
Reddit user getoutmyway98 points out how Texas’s big cities have “lots of cool neighborhoods, amazing food, barbecue, and nightlife.” Combine that with a relatively low cost of living and all the space allowing for huge suburban houses, it’s not hard to see why more and more people want to become Texans.
“Good if you have a good job.”
Incoming Movers: 55.5%
Alabama has more people coming than going, but the people leaving overwhelmingly say that jobs are their main reason, so if you’re looking for work, Alabama may not be the place to be. But, if you’ve already got a good job, Alabama might just welcome you with open arms. Steven Mann on Quora wrote, “Doctors and lawyers are almost worshiped down here.”
So if you’ve got decent work and you’re looking for cheap housing, great beaches, and mild winters, Alabama might just be what you’re looking for.
“A strong job market is drawing people in.”
Incoming Movers: 55.4%
Delaware doesn’t yet have a million people, but that might change soon as more and more people are heading to the Diamond State to take advantage of the ample jobs available there. It also seems to be a happy medium compared to many of the larger, more populous states nearby. Residents still have access to major cities like Philadelphia, Washington DC, and New York, but with a much more relaxed pace back at home.
On Quora, Richard Blaine says, “It’s kind of like a small town…If I were young and single, I probably wouldn’t make it first choice. The older I get the more I like it as my priorities and lifestyle change.”
Incoming Movers: 55.3%
Wyoming has the smallest population of any state, but maybe not for long? Apparently, more and more Americans are looking for some peace, quiet, and space—and if you want that, there’s nowhere like Wyoming. With only six people per square mile, Wyoming is also the least densely populated state in the contiguous United States.
But space isn’t the only appeal: On Reddit, user Mycotoxin listed the state’s benefits at length: “Very low crime…supplemental work…great for small business.” There’s plenty of reasons to move there, and that’s why Wyoming is moving up United Van Lines’ list.
“Two Words: Rocky Mountains.”
Incoming Movers: 53.4%
This one’s pretty obvious: People are drawn to Colorado for the stunning mountain views—but that’s not the only reason. Colorado is creating more and more jobs every year. Those jobs also happen to pay well—$2,100 more per year than the average national salary. Todd Allen on Quora had a lot to say about Colorado’s benefits: “The job market currently is pretty strong (including in tech, where I work myself) in the Denver area.”
Even better, Allen points out that housing is far cheaper than in similar tech hubs. And the cherry on top? “Colorado is a world-class attraction for any type of outdoor recreation you may like.”
18. Rhode Island
Incoming Movers: 52.9%
Rhode Island might be the smallest state, but it’s still got a lot to offer—and people are starting to take notice. RI enjoyed a six-place jump on United Van Lines’ survey last year. Roger Williams on Quora explained the appeal—but with a few caveats: “It’s mostly fantastic, with some headaches thrown in for good measure.”
The highlights? “A very appealing mix of city and town living…Some truly awesome beaches…Our airport is one of the most convenient in America.” But the tradeoff is some of the highest taxes in the country and a high cost of living, so keep that in mind.
19. New Hampshire
“Live free or die.”
Incoming Movers: 52.8%
For the many people moving to New Hampshire, the appeal is summed up in the state’s motto: Live free or die. Redditor dcs1289 made their love of the state very clear: “There’s no sales tax, no state income tax, cheap liquor, and legal fireworks!” Now, keep in mind the property taxes are relatively high and the winters can be extremely cold, but that’s easily worth it for many Americans.
“The Land of Opportunity”
Incoming Movers: 52.4%
After jumping seven spots on United Van Lines’ survey, Arkansas is on the rise—but the state definitely has its ups and downs. One anonymous Quora commenter called it, “The best-kept secret in the USA,” for its low taxes and inexpensive cost of living. But at the same time, DJ Thomason pointed out widespread poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and low education rates.
Incoming Movers: 51.2%
Georgia is currently on the rise, with more people coming than going in 2019, but it’s a bit of a mixed bag. On Quora, Nancy deCastro fawned over the state: “I have lived in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, California (short stay), and Georgia…Though I really loved both of the Carolinas…and Florida…Georgia won my heart!”
She points out the amazing weather, great food, and stunning wildlife—but it might not be for everyone. With an average salary almost $7,000 less than the national average and a surprisingly pricey housing market, Georgia might not be the way to go if you don’t have a good job lined up ahead of time.
22. West Virginia
“Country roads, take me home.”
Incoming Movers: 51.1%
John Denver made sure we all know the appeal of West Virginia. From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Shenandoah River, West Virginia has more natural splendor than one state can handle. But notice how “Country Roads” didn’t have a verse about the job market? On Quora, Brian Piercy wrote, “The physical beauty is really hard to surpass,” but had to admit there’s a “lack of upwardly mobile employment opportunities.”
“The quiet life.”
Incoming Movers: 51.0%
Nebraska is the place for people who like to keep things simple. With the 13th-lowest cost of living in the country, it’s easy to set down roots in the Cornhusker State. Redditor timthetoolmantooth says the relative lack of opportunities in the state draw a certain kind of person: “We live here because we are hardworking people that like to keep most of what we earn.”
But that might not be for everyone—of all the people who moved away from Nebraska, 70% of them said it was to look for work elsewhere.
24. (tie) Oklahoma
“Right down the middle.”
Incoming Movers: 50.2%
Oklahoma is seeing almost the exact same amount of people coming as going. The people going tend to say work is the main reason—and with a base minimum wage at $7.25 an hour, it’s not too hard to see why.
But for the people staying/coming, the Sooner State has an undeniable appeal. “It’s actually a pretty nice place to live,” said Celia Mitchell on Quora. “Lots of open areas, but not in the ‘it takes forever to get anywhere’ kind of way. Towns are pretty close together, and people in general are all usually friendly.”
24. (tie) Maine
“Right down the middle.”
Incoming Movers: 50.2%
Like Oklahoma, Maine is seeing just about as many people coming as going. Interestingly, the United Van Lines’ survey says that the #1 reason people are leaving Maine isn’t work or taxes—it’s family, at about a third. However, Maine does still struggle from lower-than-average wages and limited job prospects. But there’s an undeniable appeal to the Pine Tree State.
Beautiful scenery and Stephen King aren’t the only reasons to call Maine home: “Maine is a great place if you need a little space around you. Land and housing are affordable,” says Michael Cyr on Quora. “Maine is beautiful, but not with the raw virgin beauty of some western states. It’s more the subtle natural beauty and you find it almost everywhere.”