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We are on the move all across America

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

We Americans are a migratory lot. We move from location to location for a variety of reasons: family, job opportunities, improved quality of life, weather, etc. And, according to a new study by United Van Lines, we move a lot.

States have both inbound and outbound migration. Seems self-explanatory. Missouri, as is almost always the case, is right around the middle. We have a few more outbound migrations than inbound but only slightly. What really surprised me was the leading inbound migration areas. I would have thought Florida or California, the warm-climate states designed for retirees.

Go figure! More people are headed to Oregon and Idaho than any other state. And they're leaving North Dakota, Michigan and New Jersey. Actually you can toss North Dakota because the state's small population tilts the numbers. If a handful of people exit North Dakota, that makes a major statistical impression though in actual numbers, it's a trickle.

But why Oregon and Idaho? What do those two states have in abundance that is attracting newcomers? Can't be the weather.

Another trend that is so obvious is the out-migration from urban centers. More people each day tire of the issues that face the large metropolitan areas and flee for greener pastures. Apparently many of those pastures are in the West.

People are also heading to the Carolinas as well as Nevada and Arizona. And they're leaving Indiana, New York or Illinois to make those moves.

As expected, most people are moving to the West and the Southeast. Logic and common sense would point you in those directions. People are leaving the frigid, industrialized cities in the North and heading where the weather and the job opportunities are greater. It's a self-fulfilling prophesy because the more people moving to those locations creates more jobs and more opportunities.

But this trend - like all others - will also change. Once these new destination locations begin to become overcrowded, Americans will find new locations in search of their dream. Who knows, someday that dream may include the pastoral, quiet setting of Missouri. But don't hold your breath!

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen