From Urban to Rural: Exploring the Appeal of Different Destinations

Moving to a new home, even in the most ideal circumstances, can be quite stressful. That’s perhaps why, in recent years, Americans have increasingly chosen to stay put. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, fewer than 30 million people moved within the U.S. annually in the last three years, a decrease from over 40 million per year in the 1980s and 1990s.

While some moves are necessitated by evictions or natural disasters, most are voluntary, often driven by housing-related reasons such as the desire for a larger or more affordable home, or a better neighborhood. Work and family considerations also play a significant role.

Interestingly, most Americans don’t venture far from their current location when they move. Since 1948, over 60% of movers have stayed within the same county, and over 80% within the same state. However, there has been an uptick in the number of people moving across state lines.

According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the number of Americans moving to a different state has been steadily increasing for over a decade. In 2022, more than 8.2 million Americans moved to a different state, the highest number since at least 2010.

The increase in interstate moves in 2022 was particularly notable in New Jersey, with an estimated 267,100 people leaving the state for other parts of the country, making it the eighth-highest in terms of outbound moves.

Several factors unique to New Jersey may have contributed to this trend. For one, the cost of living in the state is about 9% higher than the national average, with home prices significantly above the national median. This means that the proceeds from selling a home in New Jersey could go much further in other housing markets.

Notably, some states were much more popular destinations for outbound New Jersey residents than others. Wyoming, for example, saw just 21 people from New Jersey moving there in 2022, while Florida, with its lower cost of living and more affordable housing, attracted the highest number of movers from New Jersey, with 47,000 people making the move.

Overall, while the decision to move is often a personal one, the data suggests that factors like housing costs and quality of life play a significant role in shaping migration patterns across the United States.

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