While many Americans remained hunkered down during large parts of 2020, others continued to move, whether for jobs, retirement or lifestyle reasons. In 2020, Arkansas was one of the top destinations for Americans to move to.
According to United Van Lines’ 44th annual National Migration Study, Arkansas was no. 10 among U.S. states for inbound movers. Arkansas was one of three new states to the list, including Tennessee and Alabama, with an inbound moving percentage of 59 percent.
The 2020 National Migration Study showed that Arkansas had a total of 928 shipments into and out of the state. Of this total number of shipments, there were 543 inbound shipments and 385 outbound shipments. This accounted for Arkansas’ 59 percent inbound percentage.
Arkansas’ inclusion in the top 10 is part of a larger trend of western and southern states having the highest inbound moving rates, according to the study. The state with the top inbound moving rate was Idaho. The top 10 states, in descending order, are South Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, Arizona, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida and Arkansas.
“United Van Lines’ data makes it clear that migration to western and southern states, a prevalent pattern for the past several years, persisted in 2020,” Michael A. Stoll, economist and professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in a statement. “However, we’re seeing that the COVID-19 pandemic has without a doubt accelerated broader moving trends, including retirement driving top inbound regions as the Baby Boomer generation continues to reach that next phase of life.”
By contrast, the states with the highest outbound moving rates are largely located in the Northeast United States and in parts of the Midwest. New Jersey had the highest outbound moving rate, followed by New York. Illinois had the third highest outbound rate. The remaining states in the top 10 outbound list, in order, were Connecticut, California, Kansas, North Dakota, Massachusetts, Ohio and Maryland.
Jobs were the primary reason for moving both to and from Arkansas. Of the total inbound travelers to Arkansas, 51.85 percent cited jobs as the reason for moving, while 66.67 percent of those moving out of the state listed jobs as the reason for moving.
Family was the second primary reason for moving. Roughly 20 percent of those moving into and out of Arkansas did so for family reasons. Family moves accounted for 22.22 percent of inbound movers and 20.51 percent of outbound movers.
Lifestyle and retirement accounted for similar percentages of moves into and out of Arkansas. A greater percentage of individuals cited lifestyle reasons for moving to Arkansas than moving away from the state; there was a 13.58 percent margin for those moving into the state for lifestyle compared to 10.26 percent moving out of state for lifestyle reasons. Retirement also saw approximately 12 percent for both inbound and outbound movers; there was a 12.35 percent margin for inbound retirement movers and 12.82 percent for outbound retirement movers.