People always need to move. That simple fact is more important than ever as the housing market shifts, and mortgage rates, inflation and geopolitical uncertainty squeeze both buyers and sellers. Even so, surveys continue to show that people move for personal reasons, not based on market conditions.
Last week, United Van Lines released its most recent survey of movers, tracking which states people were leaving, which states they were flocking to, and why. With major shifts in why people buy and sell homes—driven by remote work, affordability issues and deeper demographic trends—understanding what is shaping your region’s housing market is vital to your success.
In 2022, United Van Lines found that 33.3% of movers overall did so because of work—an identical proportion to last year, but significantly lower than the pre-pandemic 45% who cited a job change. Maybe not coincidentally, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) found that the same slice of buyers—33%—cited convenience to job as a factor in their home choice in 2022. A much smaller group of sellers (11%) cited job-related factors in their decision to sell.
Knowing that work will continue to be a primary driver of real estate markets, here are the Top 10 states people moved to for work in 2022. Percentages reflect overall movers who did so for work-related reasons:
1. Oregon (51%)
Home to some behemoth corporations, including Nike, Intel and Boeing, Oregon has benefited from an exodus (or expansion) of California tech giants. With an area around Portland nicknamed the “Silicon Forest,” the Beaver State continues to draw job-seekers or transfers in the era of remote work. Oregon also saw an extremely young inbound population, with almost a third of incoming residents (32.6%) under the age of 34. Buyers were also more affluent, with 42.5% reporting incomes above $150,000.
2. California (50.4%)
Against the backdrop of a remote work revolution, California continues to attract in-person workers. Even as big tech companies cut jobs in the state, it continues to be a destination for young, high-earning workers—just not as much as in year’s past. In 2017, 65.5% of movers cited work as their reason for moving to the Golden State, and in 2014, it was even higher, at 71.3%. But movers continue to be young and wealthy, with exactly half under the age of 44, and 56.3% with incomes of $150,000 or more—little changed in the last five years.
3. Rhode Island (48.5%)
The largest state (by population) is followed on this list by the smallest state (by land area). The Ocean State offers at least some access to both New York and Boston for hybrid workers, and is also the headquarters of CVS Health. In 2021, health care and social assistance were the largest classes of employees in the state, followed by retail and manufacturing, according to the Rhode Island Department of Labor. The state is also somewhat more affordable than others on this list, with almost one in four (24%) inbound movers reporting an income of less than $75,000.
4. Washington, D.C. (47.4%)
With a housing market that is famously held steady by the churn of Federal government jobs, the nation’s capital actually saw its lowest proportion of movers citing work as their reason for coming there. In 2014, 91.7% of newcomers to D.C. said it was due to their jobs. This strong job market remains a primary factor in ensuring home prices resist downturns. A staggering 87.5% of movers to D.C. in 2022 reported incomes of $100,000 or more, a significant jump from 75.6% the year prior.
5. Louisiana (47.2%)
With a decent spread of incomes and ages, the Bayou State seems to be offering something for any job seeker. A recent report from WalletHub found that Louisiana had the fourth-most job openings out of all 50 states. But there has been a steady drop in people coming to the state for jobs, from 72.8% in 2017 and over 60% as recently as 2020. More people are now inbound due to family or retirement, up 10.2% and 15.1% respectively over the last five years.
6. Texas (43.5%)
The Lone Star State has been through some tough times recently, ranked as the third-most impacted state by climate disasters, according to WalletHub. But that hasn’t prevented folks from taking their talents there, drawn by a diverse offering of jobs—from petroleum in Houston to tech in Austin. Once known for its affordability, less middle-income folks are moving to Texas, with only 22% reporting incomes under $100,000 in 2022, after close to double that proportion (42.3%) were in that bracket in 2014.
7. Nebraska (42.9%)
A blue-collar powerhouse, the Cornhusker State also hosts Berkshire Hathaway and a large manufacturing industry. The top three in-demand jobs advertised in Nebraska, according to the state Department of Labor, were all nursing related—RNs, nursing assistants and vocational nurses. The state saw a good balance of age groups in movers, with 47.8% under the age of 54, and 52.2% 55 and older. Despite the more working-class industries housed there, incomes skewed higher, with almost a third (31.6%) of movers making $150,000 or more—a proportion that has remained consistent over the last several years.
8. Missouri (41.7%)
The Show-Me State weighs in as another representative from the Midwest. Missouri saw an influx of movers at the lowest and highest end of the age range, with 31% age 65 and older and 23.2% age 34 and younger. Income distributions were also somewhat balanced, with 38.4% of movers reporting less than $100,000 in income, and 36% claiming $150,000 or more. According to the state’s labor department, the most common professions remain on the lower end of the income scale—retail, food service and nursing. But the biggest change over the last eight years has been with age, with only 11.5% in the 65-and-over group, arriving in the state in 2014.
9. Minnesota (41.4%)
Like both Missouri and Nebraska, the Land of 10,000 Lakes saw a good representation of age groups—38.5% under 44, and 33.3% between 45 and 64 (though the state skewed older overall, with 28.1% 65 and older). But compared to its Midwestern neighbors, Minnesota attracted a more affluent crowd, with 69.4% of people boasting incomes of $100,000 or more. But apparently everyone is working—according to Minnesota Public Radio, the state has one of the highest employment rates in the country. Health care behemoths Mayo Clinic and UnitedHealth Group are two of the state’s largest employers, with about 66,000 employees in the state.
10. Wisconsin (39.7%)
As the fourth Midwest entry on this list, Wisconsin rounds out the top states for movers looking at employment. Similar to Minnesota in terms of age and incomes (62% making $150,000 or more; 30.4% 65 and up and 35.4% under 44), The Badger State appears to offer plenty of work at various levels and in various sectors. Often a destination for tourists and vacationers from Chicago, Wisconsin gained 40,000 leisure and hospitality jobs over the last two years, according to the Wisconsin Examiner, with an unemployment rate well below the national level (2.9%).