By Relocation.com Staff
Hard times in Vegas, right? Perhaps, but it might just be a whole lot harder everywhere else these days.
Despite being battered by the housing market and bloodied by a recession that's pinching its gambling-heavy economy, Las Vegas still beckons to people looking for a fresh start, according to an analysis of moving requests from 2008 by Relocation.com, the leading online consumer resource for moving services.
The data revealed that on a per-capita basis, Las Vegas retained its top spot as the No. 1 destination for people looking to make a long distance state-to-state move.
Although the recession has spared no one area of the country, cities in the West and South continue to appeal to people relocating, whether it's moving to take a new job, finding a new home with more solid economic opportunities, or looking for a place with a more favorable climate or cultural opportunities.
Las Vegas was followed in popularity by Denver, Charlotte, N.C., Phoenix/Mesa, Portland, Ore., Seattle, Orlando, Fla., Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg. The results are largely consistent with 2007.
Relocation.com, which matches up consumers looking to move with moving companies, analyzed nearly 500,000 moving quote requests in 2008 to determine where people are moving from, and moving to. Figures from the U.S. census bureau indicate that 34 million people moved between 2007 and 2008 – assuming 2.6 persons per household, Relocation.com's moving data represents nearly 3.5% of people making moves in the country.
"The data are a microcosm of overall activity in the country, but still a good gauge of where people are moving because of job relocations and lifestyle changes," said Bill Sheehan, Chief Operating Officer of Relocation.com.
"The data also offer a sneak peek at where people want to move in the future, because many people request moving quotes several months from the time they want to move," Sheehan added.
Keeping It Local
The Census Bureau says the vast majority of movers in the U.S. make local moves – according to 2006 data, 62% of people making a move stayed within the same county, while 20% moved to a different county but within the same state. 14% moved state to state, while 3% moved from abroad. Relocation.com looked at state-to-state moving statistics in its study.
On a state level, the Great Lakes region in general -- and Michigan in particular -- continues to bleed jobs. Meanwhile, states in the West and South -- and especially North and South Carolina -- have gained and will keep gaining, according to data collected from Relocation.com.
While people move for a variety of reasons, the economy is the primary force driving demographic shifts these days, and the data show the continuing ebb in Michigan and other Lakes states.
For every 100 people looking to move to Michigan, 210 were looking to move out of the state. Ohioans, another state hit hard by the recession, also saw more people wanting to leave than stay: for every 100 people looking to move to Ohio, 150 requested moving quotes to move out of state.
The biggest beneficiaries of this population displacements are North Carolina, which saw nearly 80% more moving requests to move to North Carolina than to leave North Carolina (for every 100 people requesting moving quotes to leave the state, 180 indicated they wanted to move to North Carolina).
South Carolina saw nearly 70% more moving requests to move to the state than to leave, while Texas saw 66% more, and Georgia saw 36% more.
In general, the Northeast, the Great Lakes and the Midwest showed a greater propensity for moving requests out to exceed moving requests in, while the South, the Mountain West, and the Pacific Northwest showed gains. The notable exception is California, a state hard hit by the housing market – it saw more requests to move out of state than to move to the state.
These types of shifts have wide ramifications for the economy as well as political representation. The federal government has recently announced that the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida would each pick up a seat in the House of Representatives. Minnesota, which saw a big jump in population outflow in the Relocation.com data in 2008, could lose a seat, the government said.