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Pacific Northwest and Northern California Fastest Growing U.S. Regions 

united van lines report

On the heels of the busiest residential moving season since the recession, United Van Lines recently announced the findings of its 2013 Post-Peak Season Moving Trends Summary indicating the Pacific Northwest and Northern California are the fastest-growing and most popular moving destinations. San Jose, Calif., Portland, Ore., San Francisco, Calif., and Seattle, Wash., are among the top six cities with the largest influx of movers into the metropolitan region compared to the number of people departing.


Michael A. Stoll, economist, professor and chair of the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, provided some context for the moves, “The continued growth in the tech sector is drawing people to Northern California, but the high cost of living in Silicon Valley is causing tech companies and workers to migrate north to Seattle. Portland is also experiencing unprecedented growth attracting a range of millennials and retirees relocating for amenities such as public transit, green space, local arts and a vibrant urban culture.”


United, the largest mover in the country, reports residential moves for summer 2013 are up 8.5 percent year-over-year during the industry’s busiest months, May through August. In line with this growth, the National Association of Realtors reports that U.S. home sales hit 5.39 million in July – the highest since 2009 – which signifies that housing remains a driving force for the economy even as mortgage rates have risen from record lows. During the past 12 months, sales have surged 17.2 percent.

Based on United Van Line’s summer moving data, the most popular cities for U.S. families to move to this season were:

  1. Washington, D.C.
  2. Atlanta, Ga.
  3. Houston, Texas
  4. Chicago, Ill.
  5. Seattle, Wash.
  6. Dallas, Texas
  7. Portland, Ore.
  8. Phoenix, Ariz.
  9. Denver, Colo.
  10. Los Angeles, Calif.
  11. San Jose, Calif.
  12. Charlotte, N.C.
  13. Minneapolis, Minn.
  14. Boston, Mass.
  15. San Diego, Calif.


The data also revealed the top cities families were moving from this peak moving season:


  1. Washington, D.C.
  2. Chicago, Ill.
  3. Boston, Mass.
  4. Atlanta, Ga.
  5. Phoenix, Ariz.
  6. New York, N.Y.
  7. Los Angeles, Calif.
  8. Dallas, Texas
  9. San Diego, Calif.
  10. Minneapolis, Minn.
  11. Denver, Colo.
  12. Seattle, Wash.
  13. Houston, Texas
  14. Philadelphia, Pa.
  15. Norfolk, Va.


Although Washington, D.C. tops the list for highest inbound moves, it is also at the top of the outbound list. Overall, the cities that are in fact experiencing growth — more people moving into the metropolitan region than out — were not only in the Pacific Northwest, but the Southeast region as well including Charlotte, N.C., Tampa, Fla., Raleigh, N.C., and Atlanta, Ga. The cities experiencing the biggest moving deficit (more people moving out than in) were Chicago, New York and St. Louis.

To capture the city-to-city migration patterns in the U.S., United analyzed domestic moves during the peak moving season — between May 1 and August 31 — when approximately 35 percent of all domestic household goods moves take place. This included nearly 45,000

Illustration by Ambro at Free Digital Photos.net

Compiled from United Van Lines press materials.

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