• Florida, Texas and North Carolina are the country’s top three states for net migration
  • Nine of the top 10 states for net migration are located in Southern and Southwestern US, with Connecticut the only outlier
  • The South is the only region showing population gains from interstate moving in 2022, with almost 690K net move-ins
  • Millennials favor the South, with Texas, Georgia and Florida seeing the highest volumes of net migration among 24-to-39 year-olds in 2022
  • Connecticut and North Carolina — plus Washington, DC — emerge as the best states for attracting and retaining Gen Zers
  • 19 out of the 50 states and DC are seeing negative net migration numbers
  • Half of the country’s top 10 busiest state-to-state moving routes originate in California

Relocating to a neighboring town for an extra bedroom doesn’t seem to cut it anymore for many Americans. Whether seeking better jobs, friendlier housing markets or more bang for the buck in general, an increasing number of people are taking the longer route to their new homes.

Interstate moving is in fact at an all-time high, with a record-breaking 8.2 million Americans making the move across state lines in 2022. Conversely, same-state relocations plummeted over the last decade, from 37.8 million Americans involved in local moves in 2013 to just 31 million in 2022.

Considering the major impact of relocation on the self storage industry, we aimed to identify the top moving destinations in the US and the states that excel at retaining residents. Our research is based on the latest US Census data, which includes migration patterns for 2022. We focus on net migration numbers, calculated as the total number of move-ins to a place minus the total number of departures from that same place. Additionally, our analysis incorporates a range of economic and housing indicators in order to uncover the factors influencing relocation preferences.

Moving trends broken down by generation: Gen Zers steer away from millennials’ beaten path

Comprising 34% of all state-to-state moves in 2022, millennials continue to represent the largest moving generation in the US. Approximately 2.8 million individuals aged 24 to 39 relocated to a different state in pursuit of better homes — and, more often than not, they found their desired residences in the South.

With generally lower home prices and thriving job markets, Southern states are currently the most favorable destinations for those aspiring to climb the property ladder. Texas, in particular, saw a net influx of over 75,000 millennials in 2022, making it the top choice for young professionals, while Georgia emerged as the runner-up, welcoming a net gain of 36,000 millennials. Florida ranks third in terms of millennial preferences, with a net migration resulting in over 34,000 new Gen Y residents.

Gen Zers, on the other hand, are steering away from tradition. In terms of sheer numbers of movers, they are close behind millennials as the second-most mobile generation in the US. But they are less inclined to go for the allure of traditionally fascinating — and increasingly expensive — urban hubs like LA and NYC. In fact, the states of New York, California and Illinois are seeing negative migration of Gen Zers.

In their prime years of exploration and personal development, Generation Z is mostly focused on solidifying career paths and streamlining life expectations. Connecticut and Washington, D.C., stand out as the most agile places at attracting and retaining Gen Zers. Both locations boast personal incomes well exceeding the national average, at $91K for DC and $67K for Connecticut, ranking first and fourth, respectively, among the US states. Impressively, the influx of 13K young people that DC experienced in 2022 represents almost a quarter of the District of Columbia’s total Gen Z population.

As the first digitally native generation, Gen Zers are more comfortable with fully remote working. Their approach to work-life balance and their lifestyle preferences opens them up to a wider range of potential places to call home and might even influence the migration status-quo currently seen flowing mainly towards Southern hotspots. DC, in fact, is home to the largest cohort of remote workers in the US – roughly 23% of the local talent pool. Connecticut is also among the states that support WFH setups, with 14% of local employees working remote.

With a strong interest in building eco-conscious lifestyles and a growing desire for a slower pace of life, many Gen Zers are taking the path to more relaxed environments. Joining other popular, education-centered hotspots for Gen Zers like North Carolina, Texas and Pennsylvania, Utah has proved to be a nurturing place for members of the iGeneration. North Dakota and Alabama are attractive as well for young Americans, and for good reason. They all come with great perks, from countless options for outdoor fun to neighborly communities and varied job markets in less-crowded surroundings. The 10 best states for Gen Zers have all experienced a net migration of more than 9,000 18-to-23-year-olds in 2022.

Winners and losers in the interstate relocation race: The South displays magnetic appeal, while the Northeast nosedives for net migration

The recent interstate migration activities resulted in a clear winner – the only US region that ended 2022 with a population gain is the South. Roughly 3.7M people moved into southern states while nearly 3M left, resulting in a net gain of 690,000 residents from interstate migration. Contrastingly, all other regions — the Midwest, Northeast and West — experienced net declines. Among these, the Northeast suffered the most significant loss, shedding over 300,000 residents.

The attractiveness of the Southern United States for movers is multifaceted. Factors contributing to its appeal include its relatively lower cost of living – especially compared to historic migration capitals on the East and West Coasts – favorable climates, abundant job opportunities and, in some areas, a robust economy. More than that, the South has also worked hard over the last decade to amp up its infrastructure and real estate landscapes so it can accommodate the huge influx of new residents and businesses moving here. An earlier StorageCafe study showed that fifteen out of the top 20 cities for real estate development from 2013 to 2022 were Sun Belt cities, including Houston and Austin in Texas, Phoenix, Arizona, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Jacksonville and Orlando in Florida.

The South’s predominance becomes strikingly evident when examining a ranking of the US states in terms of net migration numbers – there are very few non-Southern exceptions among the top 10 states for net migration gains.

1. Florida

  • Incoming migration: 736K
  • Outgoing migration: 497K
  • Net migration: 238K
Riverwalk in Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida

With a net population gain of nearly 240,000 people in 2022, Florida emerges as the country’s top moving destination. Florida's allure as a moving hotspot is rooted in its advantageous tax environment, attractive climate and robust economy. The Sunshine State remains a magnet for retirees, seeing the oldest cohort of newcomers from all states, with an average age of 39. However, the state's burgeoning industries, particularly in technology hubs like Tampa and thriving business centers such as Miami, are also enticing young professionals and families in search of employment opportunities.

Those relocating to Florida have an average personal income higher than the state's overall average, standing at $63,000 versus the statewide average of $53,000. This financial advantage might explain why 51% of newcomers successfully transition into homeownership within their first year in the state. Despite a noteworthy 31% increase in home values within Florida over the last five years, this growth rate trails behind the substantial 48% national surge in home values over the same period.

The top three most popular originating states for newcomers to Florida are New York, California and New Jersey. Those moving in from New York or New Jersey get access to a friendlier housing market, including more options and lower prices. In fact, Florida is among the best equipped states in the country in terms of housing inventory, with 0.46 units per capita, higher than in both NY and NJ. Home prices in Florida are 18% and 13% lower than in New Jersey and New York, but the most substantial benefits await those trading California for Florida as they are halving their homebuying costs. The median home value in California is $713K whereas Florida homes call for roughly $350K. It may come as no surprise then that an amazing 56% of Californian transplants become homeowners during their first year in Florida.

Florida's active real estate construction sector remains a pivotal factor in maintaining the state's competitiveness in terms of homeownership, and in its success as a desirable moving destination. In Jacksonville, for example, permits were issued for more than 37K single family homes from 2013 to 2022, the fourth-highest number among the 100 biggest urban hubs. The apartment market has also gotten a big boost with roughly 28K permits for multifamily units issued in Jax over the same period. Self storage, which generally mimics residential development, is also on a significant growth path with no less than 2.6 million square feet of space added to the existing Jacksonville self storage inventory over the last decade.

2. Texas

  • Incoming migration: 661K
  • Outgoing migration: 489K
  • Net migration: 172K
Houston Park, downtown Houston
Houston, Texas

The runner-up in net migration for 2022 is Texas, which acquired a net total of nearly 172,000 new residents through domestic migration alone. The state's main holds are its thriving economy, affordable housing market and zero income tax, drawing in a youthful cohort of newcomers with an average age of 31. A significant influx into Texas hails from California (100,000 individuals), Florida (43,000 people), and New York (32,000 residents), all enticed by considerably more attractive home values compared to their states of origin.

The migration route from California to Texas continues to be the nation's most sought-after path, and for obvious reasons. Californian transplants experience a real estate market that’s 62% more affordable, translating to potential savings of approximately $440,000 in home acquisition costs. While the disparities in home values for those arriving from Florida or New York are slightly less dramatic, they remain substantial at 22% and 32%, respectively.

A notable 21% of newcomers from New York are working remotely. Also, 41% of them are boasting a bachelor's degree or higher. This paints a vivid picture of remote workers seeking more favorable homeownership prospects, coupled with the appeal of tax-free earnings and a better climate.

3. North Carolina

  • Incoming migration: 345K
  • Outgoing migration: 266K
  • Net migration: 79K
Downtown area Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina

North Carolina secures the third spot nationally with a net influx of nearly 79,000 individuals in 2022. These fresh arrivals typically enjoy a moderately higher income than the state's average, and 38% are holding a bachelor’s degree or higher. About 40% of these newcomers to North Carolina purchase properties in the state during their inaugural year, capitalizing on an affordable housing market where the median home value stands at $277,000, significantly below the national benchmark of $319,000.

The most common originating states for North Carolina's newcomers are Virginia, Florida and South Carolina, with the first two routes welcoming over 30,000 individuals each in 2022, while the last-named registers a figure slightly below that threshold.

About 47% of those relocating from Virginia and Florida achieved homeownership within their first year in North Carolina, benefiting from home prices roughly 20% lower compared to their states of origin. And yet, North Carolina's allure transcends its housing affordability. The state boasts a diverse economy, anchored by the Raleigh-Durham-Cary Research Triangle and Charlotte, which are serving as vibrant hubs for technology and finance and offering a wealth of attractive job prospects. This economic diversity might well contribute to the consistent migration from South Carolina, despite homes in North Carolina being 11% pricier than in the neighboring state.

4. Arizona

  • Incoming migration: 282K
  • Outgoing migration: 205K
  • Net migration: 77K
Phoenix, Arizona, park downtown
Phoenix, Arizona

Arizona secured the 4th spot for net migration in 2022, acquiring over 77,000 new residents and solidifying its status as a prime relocation destination. The state's appeal is bolstered by its robust economy, proximity to California and its red-hot housing market, as well as its coveted climate, rendering it a favored choice for retirees.

California emerges as the primary origin of newcomers, with nearly 75,000 individuals making the move to The Grand Canyon State in 2022. It's not just individuals but also Californian corporations that are making a beeline for Arizona. Companies like Intel, Tesla, Charles Schwab and PayPal have substantially expanded their operations in Arizona in recent years, creating a ripple effect that intertwines corporate and individual migration. This surge in corporate presence translates into promising job prospects, creating a magnet for newcomers. Moreover, Arizona's housing market, while not universally affordable, presents a more accessible option for Californians, with home prices being 44% lower than in Cali.

Washington state stands out as the second significant source, contributing over 20,000 new Arizonans in 2022, among whom 29% are baby boomers. The average age of those migrating from Washington to Arizona stands at 45, a clear indicator of the current retirement trends. Other states sending significant amounts of people to Arizona include Texas, Colorado and Oregon.

5. Georgia

  • Incoming migration: 327K
  • Outgoing migration: 252K
  • Net migration: 74K
Downtown Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia

Georgia emerges as one of the top 10 states for net migration, witnessing over 74,000 new arrivals in 2022, primarily from Florida, Texas, North Carolina and California. Renowned for its diverse industries spanning technology, logistics, film production and manufacturing, the state presents a thriving job market, especially in bustling urban centers like Atlanta. Its business-friendly climate fosters corporate growth and entrepreneurship, attracting professionals and companies seeking favorable conditions for expansion, making its spot among the leading states for domestic migration no surprise.

While newcomers to Georgia generally earn similar incomes to the state's residents overall, variations arise based on their origins. Those relocating from Texas tend to earn approximately $8,000 more annually than Georgia's average income, so it’s safe to assume that they are enticed to move here by lucrative job opportunities. As a downside, home acquisition costs in Georgia run at about 8% higher than in Texas. Newcomers from California, on the other hand, benefit from a real estate market about 60% less expensive, and a notable 19% of them are working remotely.

6. South Carolina

  • Incoming migration: 222K
  • Outgoing migration: 154K
  • Net migration: 69K
Downtown Charleston, SC
Charleston, South Carolina

South Carolina secures a solid sixth place nationally, with a net migration gain of 69,000 people. These arrivals boast an average annual income of $53,000, approximately $5,000 higher than the state's average, and are showcasing a keen interest in homeownership as 55% of them secured properties within their inaugural year.

Nearly 38,000 newcomers hail from North Carolina, probably drawn by the short relocation route that provides access to a more favorable housing market. Additionally, common originating states for newcomers to South Carolina include Georgia, New York and Florida. Arrivals from all these states benefit from reduced housing costs as well, with former New Yorkers seeing home prices 38% lower in South Carolina – likely the driving force behind 59% of them becoming homeowners soon after settling in.

7. Connecticut

  • Incoming migration: 146K
  • Outgoing migration: 82K
  • Net migration: 64K
Downtown Hartford, Connecticut
Hartford, Connecticut

Connecticut emerged as an outlier in 2022 among its Northeastern counterparts — Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania — all grappling with population decline. While these states face dwindling newcomers’ numbers, Connecticut experienced an astonishing surge in net migration, from a few thousand in 2021 to an impressive influx of 64,000 newcomers in 2022, marking a fifteenfold increase year-over-year.

These numbers become even more remarkable when considering Connecticut's recent migration trends. The state ended a longstanding losing streak of negative net migration in 2021 after eight consecutive years of decline. The Constitution State bore the brunt of migration losses in 2016, shedding over 43,000 residents that year alone due to state-to-state moving.

The recent spike in migration can be attributed to Connecticut's sizable retiree population, generating ample job vacancies and enticing workers from neighboring states. Millennials are the first to jump at the job opportunities opening in Connecticut, with the state boasting a net gain of almost 24K members of this generation. Gen Zers come in second, with around 15K net newcomers, turning Connecticut into the best state nationally at attracting and retaining Gen Zers.

While Connecticut's home values surpass the national average, the state remains relatively more affordable than its neighbors. The primary migration routes leading to Connecticut stem from New York and Massachusetts, which both experience considerably pricier housing markets. Individuals relocating from New York to Connecticut encounter homes that are, on average, 13% more affordable, while those arriving from Massachusetts benefit from homes that are a substantial 35% less expensive.

8. Tennessee

  • Incoming migration: 228K
  • Outgoing migration: 182K
  • Net migration: 47K
Downtown Knoxville, TN
Knoxville, Tennessee

Tennessee, Alabama and Oklahoma round out the predominantly Southern top 10 states for net migration. Tennessee secured the 8th spot, attracting a net total of nearly 47,000 newcomers in 2022, with new arrivals making slightly less income than the state average. However, the state boasts a favorable tax environment, featuring no income tax on wages and salaries, making it an appealing destination for those seeking financial advantages.

Prominent origin states for Tennessee newcomers include Florida, California and Georgia, while Texas and Illinois also each contributed over 13,000 newcomers in 2022. California transplants in Tennessee enjoy homes nearly 60% more affordable, leading 57% of them to become homeowners within their first year.

9. Alabama

  • Incoming migration: 137K
  • Outgoing migration: 104K
  • Net migration: 33K
Downtown Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama

Alabama witnessed a net migration of over 33,000 individuals in 2022. Interestingly, unlike most states in the top 10, Alabama newcomers actually report a lower personal income compared to the equivalent overall statewide figure: $41K vs. $45K.

The newcomers hail primarily from Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Texas. Migrants from these states experience a significantly more relaxed housing market compared to their former home states, with newcomers from Florida gaining access to homes that are 43% less expensive. Consequently, 52% of them successfully purchased a home shortly after relocating to Alabama. Texas sends a significant share of young migrants to Alabama — about 37% of those taking the Texas-to-Alabama migration route are Gen Zers.

10. Oklahoma

  • Incoming migration: 114K
  • Outgoing migration: 85K
  • Net migration: 28K
Oklahoma City downtown
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma, ranking 10th nationally with over 28,000 net newcomers in 2022, exhibits the lowest percentage (among the top 10 states for new migration) of new transplants purchasing homes within their first year — only 33%. Despite gaining access to the lowest home values among the top 10 states at $191,000, newcomers to Oklahoma seemingly take their time exploring the housing market without the urgency to swiftly purchase a home.

Key origin states for Oklahoma include Texas and California, followed at a distance by Missouri and Kansas. Almost 27K Texans traded the Lone Star State for Oklahoma in 2022, and they enjoy homes that are 30% less expensive. The almost 17K Californians who moved to Oklahoma last year, on the other hand, have the opportunity to save over half of million dollars in the process of buying a home.

California holds the country’s unfortunate negative net migration record

Among the 50 US states and DC, 19 are experiencing negative net migration figures, or, in other words, a loss of residents due to relocation trends. The exodus is particularly pronounced in states like California, New York and Illinois, which are losing the highest numbers of residents. In the course of 2022 alone, California witnessed a net outflow of approximately 346,000 residents due to domestic migration, followed by New York, which saw a loss of 248,000 individuals, and Illinois, tallying almost 110,000 net departures. These states' population losses can be attributed to a variety of factors, including soaring living costs, challenges associated with housing affordability and even the relocation of jobs, prompting a significant number of individuals to seek residences elsewhere.

It’s very telling that five of the top 10 busiest migration routes in the US originate in California, and another three of them start in New York. The California to Texas exodus registered about 100K individuals in 2022, while New York to Florida comes a close second, with 90K people taking the route.

The self storage sector is keeping pace with demographic changes

Relocation stands as a primary driver for self storage demand, and fortunately, in most of the nation's leading states for net migration, the self storage industry is keeping stride with the surge of incoming residents. The top 10 states, with the exception of Connecticut, all exhibit self storage inventories that surpass the national average of 7 square feet per capita, and that can comfortably cater to the extra storage needs of newcomers.

Oklahoma leads the pack, boasting the largest self storage inventory at 12 square feet per capita, closely followed by Texas and Alabama, each offering over 10 square feet per capita. Consequently, Oklahoma claims the lowest self storage costs among the top 10 states, with prices set at just $78 per month for a 10’x10’ non-climate-controlled storage unit. Even as Florida enjoys an ample self storage inventory of almost 9 square feet per capita, its street rates still reach $121 for a 10’x10’ storage unit, likely due to heightened demand.

Connecticut, on the other hand, newly in the migration spotlight, features an inventory of around only 5 square feet of storage space per capita, resulting in the highest average street rate among the top 10 states for net migration of $132 per month for a 10’x10’ unit.

Self Storage Availability and Pricing in the US

RankStateSelf Storage Street Rate (10x10 NCC)Self Storage Price/ Sq. Ft.Self Storage Inventory (sq. ft. per capita)
1Florida$121 $1.20 8.75
2Texas$97 $0.94 10.49
3North Carolina$98 $0.93 9.33
4Arizona$115 $1.08 8.46
5Georgia$103 $0.99 9.08
6South Carolina$95 $0.92 9.92
7Connecticut$132 $1.25 5.23
8Tennessee$100 $0.94 9.37
9Alabama$86 $0.85 10.49
10Oklahoma$78 $0.71 12
11Kansas$90 $0.82 6.92
12Kentucky$91 $0.85 7.84
14Idaho$97 $0.78 16.47
15New Mexico$97 $0.91 9.3
16Delaware$131 $1.18 4.91
17Mississippi$97 $0.91 11.21
18Indiana$89 $0.82 7.71
19Arkansas$78 $0.74 13.46
20Alaska$159 $1.59 7.09
21Nevada$117 $1.06 10.78
22New Hampshire$120 $1.10 8.66
23West Virginia---
24Missouri$98 $0.88 6.74
25Maine$128 $1.16 7.85
26South Dakota$87 $0.72 13.84
27Iowa$86 $0.81 7.02
30Rhode Island$134 $1.27 4.78
31North Dakota---
32Washington$146 $1.32 7.9
33Nebraska$88 $0.74 8.14
34Minnesota$102 $0.96 6.42
35Colorado$121 $1.10 8.37
36District Of Columbia$158 $1.62 2.05
37Pennsylvania$120 $1.11 4.64
38Ohio$95 $0.83 6.15
39Michigan$104 $0.92 5.92
40Hawaii$264 $2.62 3.18
41Virginia$121 $1.17 7.66
42Wisconsin$94 $0.84 7.25
43Utah$110 $1.01 10.04
44Louisiana$101 $1.04 10.84
45Oregon$136 $1.19 8.24
46Massachusetts$146 $1.42 4.32
47Maryland$134 $1.28 5.73
48New Jersey$149 $1.44 3.87
49Illinois$106 $1.06 5.29
50New York$174 $1.75 3.61
51California$173 $1.57 6.33
StorageCafe analysis of Yardi Matrix data

In the ongoing narrative of US net migration, Southern states are currently spearheading the attracting of new residents. Their economic prospects, coupled with affordable living costs and enticing lifestyles, are shaping the demographic landscape. However, the Gen Zers, who are now entering colleges and the job market, have growing influence and hold the potential to pivot these migration patterns in the future.

Here’s a look at net migration patterns in all 50 US states plus the District of Columbia:

Expert opinion

Check out an expert opinion on domestic migration trends and the key factors shaping these trends:

Joshua Dietz, MA, Research Assistant, American University

What are the primary driving forces behind the recent shifts in domestic migration?

There are numerous factors contributing to domestic migration trends in the U.S. The most prominent forces driving declines in mobility and geospatial shifts are changes in economy, life course, the housing market, and cost of living. Deindustrialization and workforce evolution have impacted domestic migration along with regional growth. Younger metros, such as Los Angeles and Phoenix, have become less transient as populations increasingly settle and establish roots there. Furthermore, millennials have become less mobile as shifts in life course have resulted in young adults starting families later, waiting to buy a home, and living with their parents longer. Finally, cost of living and a lack of affordable housing has shaped migration patterns, affecting where people move and rendering many immobile. Historic low interest rates and remote work opportunities produced an uptick in relocation early in the COVID pandemic, but market inflation and high interest rates have further stifled domestic migration.

Has the rise of remote work changed where people choose to live within the US?

I am unaware of studies identifying correlations between increases in remote work and where people are choosing to live. Studies do show that remote work has increased unevenly across regions of the U.S., with coastal areas and major metros seeing the highest rates of remote workers. Some interior cities display a prevalence of remote work as well. I suspect this is a relevant factor shaping migration patterns; I am personally aware of anecdotal cases where work flexibility has influenced people’s decisions in relocation. This phenomenon should definitely be further examined and monitored in years to come.

Will the current patterns continue, or are there emerging factors that could reshape migration in the coming years?

Domestic migration has been declining for at least 3 decades. I believe the most influential short-term factors will be housing supply/affordability along with interest rates. Home buying will play a significant role, and I think we will see pattern shifts as the housing supply stabilizes and interest rates come down. Economic policy will shape domestic migration as well. With U.S. efforts to rely less on foreign manufacturing and certain sectors bringing jobs back on-shore, this could have a significant effect on the frequency of internal migration and where people relocate. Furthermore, inflation is currently a national issue impacting many Americans, and cost of living could become even more of a factor in determining migration patterns as people seek more affordable living.


This analysis was done by StorageCafe, an online platform that provides storage unit listings across the nation.

In this report, we ranked all the US states — plus the District of Columbia — based on net migration numbers, calculated as the total number of move-ins to a place minus the total number of departures from that same place.

The migration numbers, as well as the income levels and demographic characteristics of the people moving across the country, come from the US Census.

To uncover the national domestic migration trends, we used the US Census American Community Survey population data from 2013 to 2022.

To determine state-to-state migration patterns, we turned to the US Census American Community Survey PUMS microdata for 2022.

We used the September 2023 unemployment rate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

We obtained median home prices at national and state levels based on 2022 owner-occupied housing unit values from the US Census. Rents are also from the US Census American Community Survey for 2022.

We used data regarding self storage rent prices and availability from Yardi Matrix, StorageCafe's sister division and a business development and asset management tool for brokers, sponsors, banks and equity sources underwriting investments in the multifamily, office, industrial and self storage sectors.

Fair Use and Distribution

This study serves as a resource for the general public on issues of common interest and should not be regarded as investment advice. The data is true to the best of our knowledge but may change if amendments to it are made. We agree to the distribution of this content but we do require a mention in return for attribution purposes.


Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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