Moving Americans are looking for some southern comfort.
While the country’s movement rate has been steadily declining since 2017, those who they are still packing things are heading south and west.
Four of the 10 most popular cities that Americans moved to last year were in Texas, according to the annual Top Moving Destinations report from truck rental giant Penske released this week, with Houston occupying the top place. The cities of Lone Star State San Antonio, Dallas and Austin were also on the list, as were Charlotte, North Carolina and Orlando, Florida.
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Las Vegas, which was No. 1 the previous year, ranked second on the 2021 list, while Phoenix (No. 3) and Chicago (No. 10) topped the top 10.
The following are Penske’s top 10 moving destinations for 2021:
Las Vegas, Nev.
San Antonio, Texas
Penske has been compiling its relocation list since 2010, analyzing its single-consumer truck rental reservations made through its website, call center, and retail locations in combination with U.S. census data to determine locations. most popular where Americans move.
Nearly every city on the list was also ranked in the top 10 of the 2020 list. But this was the first time Charlotte entered the list since 2018, and Chicago has not topped the top 10 in Penske since of 2015. However, Atlanta, which has been part of the ranking since Penske’s inaugural list in 2010, dropped for the first time. The report suggested that “removals are giving Atlanta some leeway” after years of meeting in the Georgian capital.
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The data comes in the midst of rising rental costs in the United States. Over the past year, the cost of housing has risen by 5.1%, marking the largest increase in 40 years: housing costs account for a third or more of the typical family budget.
The Penske report suggested that the COVID-19 pandemic and rising remote job opportunities, which allowed many people to live further away from work, could be one of the reasons why Americans moved last year. And the mild winters of the Sun Belt were another attraction.
But the trend toward Texas predates the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, 2021 was the seventh year in a row that Texas had a flow of more than 500,000 residents, according to the Texas Relocation Report published by the Associated Press. Many of the engines came from California and Florida; U.S. Census Bureau data show more than 687,000 Californians have moved to Texas over the past decade.
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In a 2019 report on why Americans go to Texas, MarketWatch highlighted factors such as accessibility, jobs, natural beauty, and warm weather.
Interestingly, some data from recent surveys indicated that Boise City, Idaho, and Austin, Texas, are some of the least expensive cities in the United States.
However, it should be noted that fewer Americans generally move. Census data show that the number of people living in a different residence in 2021 compared to the previous year reached a minimum of seven decades (only 8.4%). And this decline in the rate of movement of people also predates the pandemic.