With its mountain vistas and strong job market, Colorado is among the top 20 states people choose to find a better way of life. (Photo: Bigstock).


Tom Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder

Americans want something more and they are making it known with their feet, according to United Van Lines Movers Study. The latest data showing which states people are moving to versus fleeing shows inbound states are in the West and South while the Northeast and Midwest are places to leave in search of something more.

With its mountain vistas and strong job market, Colorado is among the top 20 states people choose to find a better way of life.

But what is the “something more” that has people hitting the road? Across all regions, a major driver of migration is a career change, as approximately one out every two people who moved with United Van Lines in the past year left for a new job or company transfer.

Colorado’s actual ranking is 17th on the list of new places to call home with 53.4 percent of the moves going to Colorado. People love the mountains and outdoor lifestyle, but the reason more people move both in and out of Colorado is for a job, according to survey data. Colorado’s unemployment rate has been among the nation’s lowest prior to the economic downturn caused by the new coronavirus. And the number of jobs was on the rise in 2019, with an increase of 2.1 percent.

Moneywise reports that Colorado’s “annual wages are also around $2,100 higher than the national average, which only sweetens the call of the mountains.”

Other reasons cited for moving in and out of Colorado are family, lifestyle, retirement and health, in that order.

Idaho saw the highest percentage of inbound migration among states experiencing more than 250 moves with United Van Lines at 67.4 percent. This is Idaho’s first time leading the list of inbound states in more than 25 years. Following Idaho, the top four states are Oregon, 65.4 percent; Arizona, 63.2 percent; South Carolina, 61.8 percent; and Washington, 59.5 percent. The remaining top 10 are District of Columbia, Florida, South Dakota, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Yet for all the newcomers, people are also leaving, and New Jersey tops the exodus list. For the second consecutive year, the study found that more residents moved out of New Jersey than any other state with 68.5 percent of New Jersey moves being outbound. The Garden State has been one of the top 10 move-out states for United Van Lines for more than a decade. When asked their reason for leaving, people cited jobs and retirement equally.

Rounding out the top three states people are leaving: Illinois with outbound moves of 66.5 percent and New York with outbound moves of 63.1 percent.

Top three states people are fleeing:
• New Jersey outbound moves: 68.5 percent
• Illinois outbound moves: 66.5 percent
• New York outbound moves: 63.1 percent

For more about the United Van Lines study and interactive map visit unitedvanlines.com/newsroom/movers-study-2019. For more about the comings and goings of people, read

By Tom Kalinski. Tom is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, the local residential real estate company he established in 1977. He was inducted into Boulder County’s Business Hall of Fame in 2016 and has a 40-year background in residential and commercial real estate. For questions, e-mail Tom at [email protected], call 303.441.5620 or visit boulderco.com.