Out-of-state moves rise for the first time in decades

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

The end of an era

The number of U.S. residents moving out of state has declined since the mid-80s. But according to new data, that trend might finally be ending thanks, in large part, to Millennials and Baby Boomers.

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Millennials, Boomers break the mold in moving

According to data from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the number of residents 25 to 34 and 55 to 64 are increasingly moving out of state.

Younger movers are trending toward places like Colorado, Washington, Georgia and Texas. Colorado and Washington gained nearly 70,000 new residents aged 26 to 34 in 2016, as well as nearly 50,000 25- to 44-year-olds.

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Arizona, Florida and Nevada tend to be popular with all out-of-state age groups. Arizona saw more than 70,000 new 26 to 34 year-old residents, 40,000 35 to 44 and almost 30,000 45 to 55.  Delaware and South Dakota are particularly popular with older movers.

“For the first time in decades, the number and share of Americans moving to another state may be rising,” reported Riordan Frost, research assistant at the JCHS. “The increases are due in large measure to the growing number of Millennials and Baby Boomers who are moving from places like California and New York to places like Colorado, Washington, and Florida. If these trends continue, they would represent a marked shift in domestic migration patterns within the United States.”

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Left behind

States losing the most residents were California, New York and Massachusetts – likely due to high housing costs. More oil-rich states also saw more outgoing residents than incoming in recent years.

“In the wake of declining oil prices, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wyoming, all of which have energy-production-based economies and all of which had been growing, saw net out-migration in 2016,” Frost reported. “In contrast, Utah was the only state that went from losing residents in 2012 to gaining them in 2016.”

Texas, Arizona top list for most popular migration spots

According to the JCHS, there’s no telling where the out-of-state migration trend will continue.

“Looking forward, the question is whether the rise in interstate migration is a short-term change or a long-term fundamental shift that marks the end of the decades-long trend of declining mobility,” Frost reported. “If it is the latter, the changes could have important implications, from increased labor mobility to changes in housing demand, for the states that are gaining – or losing – residents overall.”

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