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What Moved America: 2021 Moving Industry Statistics You Should Know

Monday, March 27, 2023
Laptop on a desk, its desktop showing infographic on moving statistics in 2021

Nothing could have prepared the moving industry for the events of 2020, and relocations was one of the hardest-hit sectors. Despite this, the moving industry has bounced back and we’re witnessing more moves, interesting trends and new influences on people’s moving decisions. Let’s check out the moving statistics of 2020 and 2021, and industry perspectives on where the industry is headed next.

Here is what you should know.

Moving Statistics in General

A strengthening economy in 2021 has driven the demand for moving services over less expensive alternatives.  

Moving is segmented - Amid improved demand, establishment numbers are projected to grow.

a pie chart showing the types of moves by percentage in 2021: residential moves, commercial moving, warehousing services and other
  • 11.7 times in the average amount that the average American moves in their whole lifespan.
  • About 8.93 million people in the US have moved homes since the start of the Covid-19 in 2020.
  • This is an increase of about 94,000 when compared with 2019 with most people making their moves in March.
  • 9.8 percent of Americans move annually. 
  • 15.3 million households in America, with an average size of 2.3 family members, move annually.
  • 3 million people move interstate every year in the US. 
  • 60 percent of people move during summer - between May and August.
  • There are approximately 50 thousand moving trucks in the US.
a family moving into a new house with moving boxes by the door

Money Behind Moving 

  • 122,600 people are employed by the moving industry, making the combined payroll about $3.6 billion per year.
  • $86 billion is the estimated total annual economic impact of the moving world.
  • The growing rate of the moving industry is about 3 percent annually since the Great Recession ended.
  • 8.5 percent of moving companies employ over 100 people.
  • 47.8 percent of small moving companies employ fewer than 5 people.
  • About $9.42 billion in tax revenue is generated yearly through the wages paid.
  • Below is a breakdown of the moving industry revenue: 
a pie chart showing the cost of moving in percentages in 2020
  • There are about 7000 moving companies in the United States.
  • Moving companies work in 13,900 locations across the US.
  • There are approximately 186,722 jobs created by the moving industry.
  • 482,081 jobs are created, indirectly, by the moving industry (e.g. real estate agents, painters, etc.).
  • Self-storage and the moving industry are closely linked to each other, with self-storage making about $36 billion annual revenue.

Average Moving Cost

  • Interstate: $4,100 
  • In-state: $980 
  • Local movers hourly rate: $25
Click here for a free virtual moving estimate

People Moving in 2020

This is according to the National Association of Realtors looking at the months between March to October 2020:

an infographic showing the numbers of people who relocated in peak season in 2020

State VS State In Terms of Number Coming In And Going Out 

The numbers below show the average amount of people coming in (+) or going out (-) compared to those who moved out or moved in, respectively and on average in 2020, during the pandemic:

Coming InGoing Out
New Jersey (NJ): +2 032New York (NY): -2 847
South Carolina (SC): +1 439Texas (TX): -2 681
Maryland (MD): +1 035North Carolina (NC): -905
Iowa (IA): +679California (CA): -726
Connecticut (CT): +545Pennsylvania (PA): -421
Nevada (NV): +416Illinois (IL): -400
Arizona (AZ): +386District of Columbia (DC): -375
New Mexico (NM): +338Minnesota (MN): -188
Ohio (OH): +334West Virginia (WV): -141
Mississippi (MS): +282Florida (FL): -102
New Hampshire (NH): +272Missouri (MO): -92
Wisconsin (WI): +205Massachusetts (MA): -73
Alabama (AL): +198Kentucky (KY): -43
Indiana (IN): +194Nebraska (NE): -19
Arkansas (AR): +156Tennessee (TN): -16
South Dakota (SD): +135Montana (MT): -7
Rhode Island (RI): +131Utah (UT): -7
Kansas (KS): +131
Colorado (CO): +121
Alaska (AK): +114
Delaware (DE): +110
Virginia (VA): +95
Wyoming (WY): +82
Oklahoma (OK): +67
Idaho (ID): +63
North Dakota (ND): +63
Washington (WA): +61
Oregon (OR): +32
Georgia (GA): +29
Vermont (VT): +15
Hawaii (HI): +13
Michigan (MI): +12
Maine (ME): +7
Louisiana (LA): +2

United States flag laying on a wooden table

It is estimated that these numbers will change. According to Nexus’s moving statistics for 2021, the states that have seen the most growth in the end are: 

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Idaho

And things must have really turned around for North Carolina, and Texas since they too made the list.  Well, people do tend to change their minds, perhaps they wanted to get their 11, 7 moves in early. 

More Stats

  • A lot of people moved out of large cities during the pandemic. They moved to suburbs, possibly to be closer to their homes.
  • 33 percent of New Yorkers moved to Brooklyn, 29 percent to the Hamptons, and 8 percent to Jersey City.
  • Many people from San Francisco moved to the countryside in a radius of about 60 miles from their last owned home.
  • 6,100 people moved to Williamson County in Texas.
  • 2,250 people moved out of Williamson County.
landscape with a big tree on the right side, and a green field surrounding it, with a flock of birds moving to the south

How People Move

The rate of DIY moves has increased. Around 1 million people do their moving by themselves with rented trucks. 1.35 million people do not rent trucks while they do their DIY moves. And around 650 000 people use professional movers. 

Find Interstate Movers with Shyft

Percentage of The People Who Move Annually

chart pie presenting individual and family moves, corporate relocations, military moves and government agencies moves

More Statistic on People Who Move

  • Ages between 18 and 34 with one to two children are the average movers. People move while they are young, and tend to stay put the older they get
  • People who rent move more often than homeowners
close up of hands holding a tiny house and house keys

Type of Houses/ Apartments People Move Into

  • Houses with four (or more) bedrooms: 7.70 percent
  • Houses with three bedrooms: 20.27 percent
  • Two-bedroom houses: 21.16 percent
  • Single bedroom houses: 28.81 percent
  • Studio apartments: 9.37 percent

Items That Are Moved

  • 1 percent are institutional and office supplies
  • 6 percent are trade shows and exhibits
  • 20 percent are electronic office items such as computers, servers, copiers, etc.
  • 73 percent are household items 

Why Do People Move

As mentioned many people moved to be closer to their families, as well as away from the cities during the pandemic. However, according to US Census Bureau data other reasoning includes:

an infographic naming the reasons why people move with percentage of people moving

Looking at Millennials Moving

  • While many millennials (25 to 35 years old) are less likely to be tied down to marriage, homeownership, and kids, millennials do not seem to move around a lot. Just 20 percent of them moved in the previous year. This is down by 6 percent when compared to the Silent Generation (1963) and Generation X (2000).
  • 42 percent of millennials are living with their spouses as well as being married. A decrease of 40 percent compared to the Silent Generation when they were the same age as the current millennial generation.
  • 37 percent of millennials have a house. 
  • 56 percent of millennials do not have kids.
  • 80 percent of millennials have commented that they are willing to take a pay cut if it means moving to their dream location.
  • Economists remark that the reason why millennials move far less than other generations could be because there are fewer job opportunities for them. As well as not being able to afford to buy a house. These factors could be the reasons why they are less motivated or likely to move or want to move.
Smiling woman in hijab working from a coffee shop

Looking at Retirees Moving 

In recent years, more so in 2020, there has been a great increase in long-distance moving for retirements. According to The Washington Post, many people moved from the city to more rural areas since the pandemic introduced more people to remote work.

States with High Number of People Moving Out States with High Number of People Moving In
Maryland Arkansas
Ohio Florida
Massachusetts Alabama
North Dakota Tennessee
Kansas North Carolina
California Arizona
Connecticut South Dakota
Illinois Oregon
New York South Carolina
New Jersey Idaho

Waste Created Due to Moving 

The annual waste that the average American mover makes is as follows: 

  • Rolls of tape: 30 million
  • Packing paper: 90 million pounds
  • Fuel: 353 million gallons
  • Random items that are thrown out: 8, 4 million tons
  • Cardboard boxes: 900 million 
  • Food: 345 000 towns

When it comes to the last bullet point we would like to offer Move4Hunger as a means to donate your food that you have to leave behind to those in need. 

The Potential Future Of The Moving Industry 

  • 18 percent want to move due to job flexibility, as well as to lower their cost of living.
  • 40 percent of potential movers want to relocate due to homeownership reasons.
  • More people will move from the cities to the country.
  • 70 percent of people plan to get to know their new neighbors, get involved in local activities as well as volunteer opportunities after their potential relocation.
  • More people want to move out of apartments to houses.
  • A lot of people want more outdoor space, storage, as well as more kitchen space.
  • The work from home phenomenon will continue to grow. 
  • People are more likely to be drawn to nature due to the lockdown of the pandemic.
A remote worker at her untidy desk, looking at the laptop while writing notes, she is in front of a blue wall with plenty of notes stuck on it

Top Six States For Moving


Florida is gaining a huge surplus of people and businesses moving to the sunny state. This is mostly due to the lower personal tax, as well as that it is becoming the go-to tech hub of the USA, certainly Miami.  


The Grand Canyon State had an influx of movers coming later in the year it would seem. It would be an estimate to say that this trend will keep rising in 2021 with more people looking for more space while working at home.  


The Rocky Mountains state, Colorado was the sixth most popular state to move to during the pandemic.  But, the growth may be due to other factors outside of the pandemic. Denver, in particular, is on the top list of cities that millennials want to move to and has been so for the last few years. This does not seem to be changing, meaning a steady growth pattern in 2021. 


There were reportedly more interstate movers in Idaho when compared to the other states during 2020. This could be due to the outdoor enthusiasts wanting to move from the cities. However, the pandemic did cause an increase in movers, with more people wanting to live in more natural scenic areas. This is expected to keep going in 2021. 

North Carolina

Due to their mountains, a moderate climate as well as beaches, it is safe to say that North Carolina will continue to have a boom in 2021. Furthermore, there are plenty of small towns that attract the older population, as well as people just looking for more space outside of a city setting.


Texas is an interesting one. Because on one hand, they saw a decrease in population only for a turnaround to happen in the midst of the pandemic. There are plenty of reasons for people to want to move to the Lone Star State outside of dealing with the aftermath of the pandemic such as its thriving job market, affordable houses, and no state income tax which can be a big draw for many people. Certainly, those working from home.

Advice for Those Moving in 2021

Regardless of what the future moving trend or statistics will be (we will most likely better find that out in 2022) one thing for certain is that moving is a tough process. Therefore, our advice to you is to get help with the organization of your potential move. Shyft is a moving platform that will do all the hard work for you as well as give you a minimum of three quotes from different moving companies so you can decide which one best suits you and your budget. And Shyft will manage your move, saving you time and nerves.  

It would seem that more people are opting to move outside of the city to houses instead of apartments. As well as to be closer to family. These reasons make sense since the pandemic really did a number on us. If you decide to move make sure you do the right research, or just get Shyft to do it for you. Either way, stay safe out there everyone.