16 Facts About How Often (And Where) Americans Move

Shocking statistics reveal the nomadic nature of American society.

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Updated May 28, 2024
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Whether you’re relocating for a job, want to be closer to family, or you’re looking for a new adventure, odds are you’ll move, or have moved, at some point in your life.

The housing market is confusing and ever-changing, and both coasts are expensive. Yet that’s often where the jobs are. Sometimes people move for a better job so they can stop living paycheck to paycheck.

Regardless of the reasons for moving, Americans are on the move. Here are 16 interesting facts about why people move, how often they move, and more.

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People move every 5 years

New Africa/Adobe moving boxes and furniture Van

It’s estimated that the average American moves roughly every five years, whether that’s within their hometown, home state, or cross-country. Most, however, move to different counties within their state.

Average American moves 11.7 times in their lifetime

Vasyl/Adobe girl running into her new home as her parents hold moving boxes in their hands

Some people stay in the same house their whole lives, and others move multiple times in a lifetime.

However, according to data from the American Community Survey, the average American moves an average of 11.7 times throughout their lifetime, whether for school, work, marriage, family, or other reasons.

25.6 million Americans moved in 2023

Pormezz/Adobe man packing moving box with tape

The annual migration survey by HireAHelper reported that roughly 25.6 million Americans moved last year, for a total of 7.8% of the overall population. This is compared to 27.3 million in 2022.

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Fewer people moved last year

Jacob Lund/Adobe couple holding boxes in new house

The percentage of people who moved in 2023 was 7.8%, which is down from 8.6% in 2022.

Not only is this percentage lower than the previous year, but it’s also the lowest it’s ever been in terms of population percentage for as long as the Census has been taken.

More people left California than any other state

Pixel-Shot/Adobe moving boxes in room

Migration trends released by U-Haul revealed that California was the most moved-out-of-state in 2023. In fact, this is California’s fourth year holding this title.

Other states frequently left in 2023 included Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Jersey. Illinois held this title in 2022.

More people left San Diego than any other city

BalanceFormCreative/Adobe couple carrying big cardboard box

Other migration reports for 2023 show that San Diego had the most outbound movers, followed by Chicago, Seattle, Detroit, and Los Angeles. Factors like the cost of living and housing prices are likely to be responsible.

The most moved-out-of-city the year before was New York City.

More people moved to Texas

Aneese/Adobe labeled boxes

As for the most moved-to state, Texas takes the title for 2023. Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee are the other top hitters for the year.

Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Virginia, and Washington were also among the more popular states to move to in 2023, with Arizona being the most popular in 2022.

Charleston was the most moved-to city

A. Frank/peopleimages.com/Adobe moving in new home

The city most moved to this year was Charleston, South Carolina. The runners-up include Tucson, Charlotte, Nashville, and Phoenix. Tucson was the most moved-to city in 2022.

Factors like low cost of living, housing, and better employment opportunities may have driven people to these cities.

Moving costs between $2,200 to $4,400

tapui/Adobe truck carrying goods

It’s no secret that moving is expensive, including Realtor or broker fees, deposits, down payments, and general moving costs.

Current estimates say that a local move to a three-bedroom home costs an average of $2,200, and long-distance moves are estimated to cost around $4,400.

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Vermont and North Dakota have the most expensive movers

Leika production/Adobe workers unloading the van

Vermont ranks the highest in terms of cost for movers when hired locally, at an average cost of $1,780.

North Dakota has the most expensive movers for long-distance moves, with an average price of $4,740.

Arkansas, Florida, and New York have the cheapest movers

Rido/Adobe hands holding cardboard box

On the flip side, Arkansas has the cheapest movers for local moves at an average rate of $650.

Florida and New York are tied for the cheapest long-distance movers, costing an average of $3,500.

Most people hired movers

Leika production/Adobe smiling male mover wearing uniform

Even in the cheaper states, hiring professional movers is still incredibly pricey. Nevertheless, 69% of people who moved in 2023 hired movers, according to a survey by HomeBay and Allied Van Lines. 

The survey also showed that 90% of those who moved used a paid moving service or product.

Quality of life was the highest motivating factor

Rido/Adobe family moving home

According to the HomeBay and Allied Van Lines study, the top reason people moved in 2023 was to improve their quality of life. In fact, 31% of those surveyed cited this as their primary reason.

Other top reasons included needing more space, major life changes, and because of work flexibility.

People are upsizing

pressmaster/Adobe couple packing cardboard boxes

Say goodbye to the tiny-home trend. In 2023, 21% of those surveyed said they moved for more space.

Additionally, 47% moved to a larger space. Of that 47%, 18% feel they need more space.

Moving led to arguments and stress

Antonioguillem/Adobe happy tenant resting after moving home

It’s no secret that moving is stressful, and the numbers can back it up: 42% of surveyed movers said they fought with their household during the process, 46% admitted to crying, and 66% described the process as stressful.

Home owning increased, renting decreased

didesign/Adobe playtime during a moving in break

While the housing market is undeniably volatile right now, that didn’t stop people from buying homes this year.

In 2023, 39% of those who moved bought a home, a sizable increase from 29% in 2022. On the flip side, only 37% identified as renters, down from 44%.

Bottom line

luckybusiness/Adobe family moving into a new house

If you were one of the millions of Americans who moved last year, you can probably identify with these statistics. 

Whether you’re moving to a new city after college graduation or downsizing to prepare for retirement, the cost of moving must be considered when you make that decision.

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Lucy Clark

Lucy Clark has considerable experience writing about real estate, as well as homes and gardens, home value, and more. She is savvy and resourceful, and she aims to ensure others can be, as well.