Illinois No. 2 for most outbound moves in 2016, study finds

Kevin HoffmanReboot Illinois

Jan 05, 2017

While there wasn’t much movement toward resolving the state budget stalemate in 2016, there was plenty of activity on the roads leading out of Illinois.

An analysis of shipment data released by the St. Louis-based moving company United Van Lines found Illinois once again was one of the top exporters of residents last year.

According to the study, 62.9 percent of the 8,782 state-to-state shipments involving Illinois were outbound moves, while 37.1 percent were inbound.

That’s the second-highest percentage of outbound moves behind New Jersey, where 63.2 percent of United Van Lines’ customers moved out of the Garden State.

The Land of Lincoln edged out New York on the list of states with the most outbound moves after holding steady at the No. 3 spot since 2014. Illinois now has been ranked among the top 5 states with the highest outbound move percentages for eight consecutive years.

About 54 percent of those surveyed cited a job as their reason for moving out, followed by 23 percent who cited retirement and 19 percent who said they were leaving for family reasons. Conversely, the most common reason cited among inbound movers — 65 percent — was for a job.

As for income levels, 41 percent of those who left the state made $100,000 or more, while almost 65 percent of customers moving to Illinois earned at least six-figures.

*Click on each state in the map below to see respondents’ reasons for inbound/outbound moves, as well as a breakdown by age and income. 

Michael Stoll, an economist and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in a press release the findings show more retirees are deciding to relocate now than ever before, with the vast majority seeking warmer climates in the South and West.

“Interestingly enough, these retirees are leaving at such a fast pace that the movement of millennials to urban areas in the Midwest and Northeast is being overshadowed,” Stoll said.

The United Van Lines study mirrors U.S. Census Bureau data released in December that revealed Illinois lost 37,508 people between July 2015 and July 2016, marking the largest population loss of any state and the third straight year the populace has shrunk.

Illinois also experienced the steepest decline in net migration rates, losing an estimated 6.5 residents per 1,000 people. Domestic out-migration during the 12-month period hit a record as 114,144 more people left the state than moved here.

South Dakota had the highest inbound move percentage at 67.7 percent, though the total number of shipments there was 504. Rounding out the list of the top five states for inbound moves was Vermont, Oregon, Idaho and South Carolina.

Top 10 states for inbound moves:

  1. South Dakota
  2. Vermont
  3. Oregon
  4. Idaho
  5. South Carolina
  6. Washington
  7. District of Columbia
  8. North Carolina
  9. Nevada
  10. Arizona

Top 10 states for outbound moves:

  1. New Jersey
  2. Illinois
  3. New York
  4. Connecticut
  5. Kansas
  6. Kentucky
  7. West Virginia
  8. Ohio
  9. Utah
  10. Pennsylvania

You can find the full study here.

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