US moving trends 2023: NY, NJ rank high for outbound movers, low for newcomers, reports show

People continue to leave New York and New Jersey in big numbers – and a new study shows moving trucks may be avoiding the Tri-State too.

U-Haul announced their list of the Top Growth States of 2023, with New York finishing at 43rd (46th last year) and New Jersey at 45th (47th last year). 

The annual 2023 United Van Lines National Movers study showed similar trends, with the Garden State ranking first on the list of "Moving Out" states for the sixth consecutive year. New York was listed as third.


NY, NJ residents moving out in high numbers in 2022, but to where?

New Jersey and New York ranked high on United Van Lines' national movers study.

This comes as New York lost more residents – and at the largest rate – in 2023 than any other state, despite an overall rise in the U.S. population, according to U.S. Census data. In fact, along with a 0.5% rate of population decline, the Empire State also recorded the largest decline in pure numbers, with a drop of almost 102,000 residents.

The Census data actually shows that New Jersey's population grew slightly last year, adding about 30,000 residents.

United Van Lines says they calculate growth states by each of their net gain, or loss, of one-way equipment from customer transactions in a calendar year. The U-Haul Growth Index is "compiled from more than 2.5 million one-way U-Haul truck, trailer and U-Box moving container transactions that occur annually across the U.S. and Canada."

"Migration to states in the Southeast and Southwest is still very pronounced," John "J.T." Taylor, U-Haul International president, said. "Demand for one-way equipment out of certain markets in the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast mirrors what we have seen during recent moving cycles."

According to the United Van Lines National Movers study, more residents moved out of New Jersey than any other state, as 65% of the state's moves were outbound. The top motivation for moves out was driven mainly from those looking to retire.


New York sees largest population decline of 50 states in 2023: census

Along with the 0.5% rate of population decline, New York also recorded the largest decline in pure numbers, with a drop of almost 102,000 residents, according to the U.S. Census.

Texas was ranked the number one growth state for the sixth time in eight years and has ranked no lower than second on the U-Haul Growth Index throughout the stretch.

For the fourth year in a row, California reflected the largest net loss of one-way movers. Other bottom-five states for growth were Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois and Massachusetts.

Top 10 U-Haul growth states of 2023

1. Texas

2. Florida

3. North Carolina

4. South Carolina

5. Tennessee

6. Idaho

7. Washington

8. Arizona

9. Colorado

10. Virginia 

"While U-Haul migration trends do not correlate directly to population or economic growth, the U-Haul Growth Index is an effective gauge of how well states and cities are attracting and maintaining residents," the company said.