People Are Packing Up and Leaving These 10 States

Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan at sunset. NYC


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Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan at sunset. NYC

American Migration

As the upheaval created by the pandemic continued in 2021, where were Americans moving? An annual migration trends report from U-Haul, based on data compiled from more than 2 million one-way U-Haul rentals, offers an interesting snapshot of moving patterns. The following 10 states had the largest net losses of one-way U-Haul trucks — and for the second year in a row, the same two states led the nation in residents making their escape. 

Related: The Most Popular Towns For Retirees Moving Away From Cities

Little Rock, Arkansas, USA skyline on the River
Sean Pavone/istockphoto

41. Arkansas

2021 one-way arrivals: Up 19%

2021 one-way departures: Up 26%  

Arkansas kicks off the bottom 10 of U-Haul’s 2021 index, ranking 41st of all 50 states. It’s a significant shift from 2020, when Arkansas ranked a relatively high No. 11 based on its net change in U-Haul trucks entering the state vs. leaving. Coming from the other direction, Fayetteville, Hot Springs Village, Centerton, Benton, and Bentonville were the leading destinations for U-Haul customers heading to the Natural State. 

Related: Moving Nightmares (and How to Avoid Them)

Detroit Aerial Panorama

42. Michigan

2021 one-way arrivals: Up 14%

2021 one-way departures: Up 15%


Michigan dropped from No. 40 in 2020 to No. 42 on 2021’s list. For those coming to the state, Grand Rapids, Walker, Southfield, Wyoming, Waterford Township, Troy, Rochester Hills, and Ann Arbor were the top destinations.

Related: Things to Consider When Buying a House After 50

Aerial photo Downtown Baton Rouge Louisiana USA

43. Louisiana

2021 one-way arrivals: Up 9%

2021 one-way departures: Up 9%


In Louisiana, the story was much the same in 2021 as it was in 2020, with the state ranking 43rd and 44th, respectively. The cities of Covington, Lafayette, and Baton Rouge saw the most inbound U-Hauls.

Tulsa skyline, pond, and fountains

44. Oklahoma

2021 one-way arrivals: Up 12%

2021 one-way departures: Up 17%

Oklahoma plummeted big time in this year’s rankings, going from No. 14 in 2020 to No. 44 in 2021 based on its net change in U-Haul trucks entering the state vs. leaving. Yukon, Norman, Broken Arrow, Edmond, Owasso, and Ardmore were the Sooner State's biggest destinations for new arrivals.

Related: Where to Relocate If You’re Working Remote Full-Time

Advent in Brooklyn
Artur Dancs/istockphoto

45. New York

2021 one-way arrivals: Up 25%

2021 one-way departures: Up 26%

Pricey New York slipped from No. 42 in 2020 to No. 45 in 2021. Brooklyn's Williamsburg area, the town of Queensbury, Ithaca, Manhattan, and Woodside in Queens drew the most inbound rentals. 

Related: 15 Types of People Who Shouldn't Visit New York City

Historic Downtown Mobile Alabama USA at Sunset

46. Alabama

2021 one-way arrivals: Up 17%

2021 one-way departures: Up 20%

U-Haul customers decided to ditch Alabama in 2021, with the state falling from No. 22 in 2020 to No. 46 last year. The Alabama cities with the most arrivals were Auburn-Opelika, Foley, and Huntsville.

Related: The Coldest and Warmest Cities in Every State

Boston, Massachusetts, USA Downtown Skyline
Sean Pavone/istockphoto

47. Massachusetts

2021 one-way arrivals: Up 7%

2021 one-way departures: Up 6% 

It’s status quo in the Bay State, which ranked No. 47 for the second year in a row on U-Haul’s growth index. For inbound customers, the top arrival points were Hyannis, Weymouth, Cambridge, Wilmington, and Natick.

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA Cityscape
Sean Pavone/istockphoto

48. Pennsylvania

2021 one-way arrivals: Up 4%

2021 one-way departures: Up 6%

Pennsylvania fell seven spots, from No. 41 to No. 48. Philadelphia and Harrisburg were the top destinations for arriving customers. 

lhongfoto / istockphoto

49. Illinois

2021 one-way arrivals: Up 18%

2021 one-way departures: Up 18%

Just like it was in 2020, Illinois is No. 49 on U-Haul’s growth index. The dismal ranking is nothing new for the Land of Lincoln: U-Haul notes that Illinois has been in either the 49th or 50th spot since 2015. Of the customers bucking that trend and actually heading to Illinois, Champaign, Melrose Park, and Oak Lawn were the top destinations.

Walk of fame - Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles

50. California

2021 one-way arrivals: Down 1%

2021 one-way departures: Down 2%

Once again, California is at the bottom of the heap in U-Haul’s growth index, coming in at No. 50 for the second year in a row. Sacramento and San Diego were the top destinations for arriving customers. 

Welcome to Texas and Drive Friendly road sign

Which states were most popular with U-Haul customers?

On the flip side, do-it-yourself movers unpacked their boxes more often in these 10 states, those with the biggest net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks. The list is dominated by Sun Belt states with a relatively low cost of living. The top three states — Texas, Florida, and Tennessee — were also the top three in 2020, albeit in a different order. 

10. New Mexico (2020 ranking: 39)

9. Idaho (30)

8. Maine (29)

7. Colorado (6)

6. Indiana (12)

5. Arizona (5)

4. South Carolina (15)

3. Tennessee (1)

2. Florida (3)

1. Texas (2)