Some surprising – and not-so-surprising – migration metrics

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For nearly the last two decades, national moving conglomerate Atlas Van Lines has put together what it dubs a “migration patterns” study that examines the places folks are leaving in the U.S., the places they’re moving to, and whether or not states are exhibiting what the company calls “balanced” moving flows.

“Balance” is a bigger deal than you think, because if more folks are leaving versus moving into particular states, certain ripple effects develop: shrinkage in the tax base, labor pool, and potentially an outflow of jobs.

Yet a glance at the 2012 Atlas Van Lines Migration Patterns study indicates that “balance” in terms of moving trends is on the upswing, with Southwestern and Mid-Atlantic coastal states remaining as the most popular destinations, while the Midwest is become more balanced than in years past.

"One of the more positive signs of 2012’s results is the shift from the majority of Midwestern states being outbound to a more balanced state,” noted Jack Griffin (at right), president and COO of Atlas World Group, which is the parent company of Atlas Van Lines.

“The increase in the number of balanced states/provinces throughout the U.S. and Canada is a promising sign that the economy could be stabilizing,” he explained.

For example, six states that were outbound-heavy in 2011 are now balanced states, including: Massachusetts, Delaware, Louisiana, Missouri, Utah and Wisconsin. Also, four states that were inbound-heavy are now shifting into a more “balanced” mode: Maryland, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Virginia.

Griffin added that in 2012, the total number of interstate, or between states, and inter-province moves reached 73,256. In addition, regional trends show consistency over the past year with fewer significant shifts – again, signs that the U.S. economy could be finding firmer footing.

Now, there are some “unsurprising” migration factoids to report as well, with the highest number of moves occurring in California, Texas and Florida, last year. California comes in at the top with nearly 13,000 moves in 2012 but for the seventh consecutive year, Washington D.C. maintained the highest percentage of inbound moves, with 63% of all moves being inbound.

Atlas added that Nebraska and New York beat out Ohio for the highest percentage of outbound moves, with outbound moves accounting for 58% of each state’s total.

Let’s hope the portents of all that moving offers a positive indicator for our nation as 2013 gets underway. 

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