Top 11 Reasons Americans Relocate (#8 Surprised Us)

Moving isn’t easy, so there’s usually a good reason to hit the road.

cardboard boxes
Updated July 18, 2024
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According to the U.S. Census, in 2023, 25.6 million Americans packed up their belongings and moved. 

Some may have left in pursuit of new employment, others wanted more space or better schools for their children, and the luckiest ones were able to retire early to a bucket list location.

The reasons that people choose to uproot their lives vary widely, but according to a recent survey, these are the most popular reasons that Americans decide it’s time to make a change.

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Lower cost of living

New Africa/Adobe van full of moving boxes

When everything seems to be getting more expensive, seeking a place with a lower cost of living is a good reason to make a change. In 2023, 20% of Americans reported moving to try to find a new home with a lower cost of living.

They may find lower rent, lower home prices, lower groceries, and even lower utilities in their new lower-cost-of-living locations.

Improved quality of life

Vasyl/Adobe family moving in new house

What actually motivates people to pick up and move? For 31% of Americans, it’s improving their quality of life, according to a survey by Home Bay and Allied Van Lines. 

They believe that leaving their old home behind will allow them to discover a place where they’re happier and more content. This may mean access to more parks, cultural institutions, or an active community.

More space

JacobLund/Adobe couple moving in new house

It’s no surprise that following the pandemic, people are still searching for more space — or at least a home office to accommodate working from home. 

Of those who moved in 2023, 21% said they did so to find a larger home with more square footage or bigger outdoor space.

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More bedrooms

BalanceFormCreative/Adobe couple carrying big cardboard box

Not only are people generally looking for more space, but many are specifically looking for more bedrooms. Of the movers in 2023, 47% bought or rented a new place with more bedrooms than their previous home.


Pormezz/Adobe sealing cardboard box

Not everyone moves for more space. Of the millions of Americans who moved in 2023, 12% actually moved to find a space with less square footage. 

Moving to a place that may require less maintenance may also mean lower utilities, less furniture, and less yardwork.

Major life changes

Pixel-Shot/Adobe moving boxes in room

It’s often a major life change that encourages someone to move, and the reason could be on opposite ends of the life spectrum. 

Some people move away for college, while others finallyreacho their dream retirement destination. For 21% of Americans, this was the reason behind their moves.

Work flexibility

Aneese/Adobe labeled boxes

Being able to work anywhere has its advantages, and one of those is the ability to live wherever you want. For 20% of people who moved in 2023, that greater work flexibility and the option to work remotely is what inspired their move.

Political reasons

A. Frank/ carrying box for property rent

As the divide between red and blue states continues to grow, 10% of Americans who moved in 2023 cited political reasons as a motivating factor for their change. 

There are even moving companies cropping up that work specifically with those looking to make a move based on the political climate in their state.

Job relocation

tapui/Adobe truck carrying goods

A new career is an exciting prospect. In addition to those who moved because they could work from anywhere, 18% moved due to a job relocation that took them to another city or state for a new opportunity.

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Proximity to family and friends

pressmaster/Adobe couple packing cardboard boxes

Living closer to family and friends is always a plus, and many people prioritize it when considering where to live. In 2023, 20% of Americans who moved did so specifically to be closer to family and friends.

Better schools

Rido/Adobe family moving home

Good schools may be at the top of your list if you have children when considering where to live. Of those who moved in 2023, 16% made the change in pursuit of better educational opportunities.

Bottom line

Leika production/Adobe workers unloading the van

Moving is a stressful experience, and 46% of Americans who moved in 2023 said that the experience of packing up their life for a new home actually reduced them to tears.

Another 45% said that the moving experience was not affordable. Many people may have to find ways to make extra money to pay for the move.

Thankfully, 75% said that after the tears had dried and all was said and done, they were happy with their decision to move.

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Author Details

Heather Bien

Heather Bien is a writer covering personal finance and budgeting and how those relate to life, travel, entertaining, and more. With bylines that include The Spruce, Apartment Therapy, and mindbodygreen, she's covered everything from tax tips for freelancers to budgeting hacks to how to get the highest ROI out of your home renovations.