Surprise, Surprise: This Is the U.S. State Everyone Moved to This Year

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Residential Neighborhood in Portland, Maine
Credit: halbergman / Getty Images

If you’ve been thinking of moving out of state, you’re not alone. A new survey shows that Americans are on the move again after several years of uncertainty and unpredictability in the housing and job markets. And, if you’re one of them, chances are, you’re headed north.

Each year Atlas Van Lines releases its Migration Patterns Study that tracks the moving habits, patterns, and preferences of Americans based on internal data. The U.S. state with the highest percentage of inbound moves in 2023 was Maine, which boasts a hot real estate market and a scenic place to live, work, and play with very low crime rates. Earlier this year, U.S. News & World Report ranked Maine the safest state in the country with the lowest rate of violent crime and property crime.

Why is everyone moving to Maine?

Maine has steadily gained popularity over the past few years with research showing it’s likely due to a lower cost of living that attracts remote workers, families, and retirees alike. Popular landmarks like Acadia National Park, Portland Head Light, Cadillac Mountain, and Mount Katahdin are all within reach by car from anywhere in the state, and foodies love having fresh seafood readily accessible — especially lobster.

What were other popular states to move to in 2023?

Several of the other states on the top 10 list appear to be good for business — that is, friendly to small businesses and skilled workers alike — including Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington.

North Carolina, which ranked number two in the recent Atlas study, is one of the fastest-growing economies in an already fast-growing region of the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Startups receive support from organizations like the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, and businesses enjoy a relatively low corporate tax rate (2.5%). Nearly 50% of the state’s workers are employed by small businesses across a number of industries, including finance, technology, and textiles.

While Maine and North Carolina remain top-desired states from 2022, New Hampshire made the largest jump from 10th to third place in this year’s study. For the outdoors-inclined, New Hampshire is considered a hiker’s paradise with 48 peaks over 4,000 feet and access to the Appalachian Trail within New Hampshire’s 800,000-acre White Mountain National Forest.

Which states did people move from the most in 2023? 

As for the states most Americans are moving away from this year, Illinois ranked first on the list. Pennsylvania’s rate of outbound moves dramatically increased, as did Oregon’s, although the number of people leaving Indiana seemed to slow down, according to the study. Those fleeing cited high taxes, job losses, low pay, and severe weather as reasons they’ve left what used to be considered more affordable places to live in the Midwest, such as Minnesota and Ohio. It’s no wonder Hawaii remained one of the most popular inbound destinations this year. Aloha, sunshine. 

You can read more about the 2023 Atlas Van Lines Migration Patterns study here.