These are the top 10 states that people are moving to

Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
  • Business Insider has compiled a list of the 10 US states where the most Americans moved to between 2016 and 2017.
  • Many of the states that top the list are favourites for retirees and have bustling economies.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

Business Insider compiled a list of the 10 states where the most Americans are moving, based on US Census Bureau data from 2016 and 2017.

A bulk of these states are in the southeast or southwest, regions popular with Baby Boomers moving to warmer weather to retire.

But it’s not just retirees who are driving population growth in these states. Each of the 10 states that made the list have strong economies, as well, which make them attractive to those still in the workforce.

Below we note what’s driving population growth in each of these 10 states, which had the highest net number of people moving there between 2016 and 2017.


10. Colorado gained 33,465 people between 2016 and 2017.

Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty ImagesThe original Chipotle restaurant is seen above in Denver, Colorado. The company remains headquartered in the state. Also visible next door is a weed dispensary. Colorado became the first state to legalise recreational marijuana and therefore has been a hub for the ‘green’ business.

Colorado’s bustling economy and scenic outdoors make it a favourite for young and old movers alike.

The Centennial State is home to such large companies as Chipotle and Coors. The city of Boulder has also emerged as a tech hub with Apple, Amazon, and Google setting up offices there.

From 2018 to 2019, Colorado added 44,800 jobs, according to a report the Colorado secretary of state released. These kind of job opportunities have driven a younger population to the state. SmartAsset.com listed Colorado No. 3 on its 2018 list of the states where the most Millennials are moving.

BuiltInColorado.com spoke to several recent transplants in 2016, who moved to the state for jobs in the tech industry. Many cited the state’s outdoor offerings as a main reason for the move.

Tarah Speck, who moved to Colorado in 2012 with her husband, told the website that they were “burned out from the hustle and bustle of [Washington], DC.”

“We’ve always loved the mountains, so we made the decision to go live near them. We packed up our car with no jobs and headed westward. We never looked back,” the digital marketing manager said.

But Colorado is also popular with retirees. US News and World Report ranked Colorado #3 on its list of the most rapidly ageing states. In the decade ending in 2016, the state’s senior citizen population increased by 55%.


9. Nevada gained 35,232 people between 2016 and 2017.

George Rose/Getty ImagesThe Bellagio Hotel’s nightly water fountain show is seen amongst the lights of other casinos on the Las Vegas strip.

Nevada has neighbouring California to thank for its growing population.

Studies in recent years have consistently shown that there’s a mass exodus of Californians relocating to Nevada, thanks to its lower cost of living.

For example, in Henderson, a suburb of Las Vegas that’s become one of the fastest-growing communities in the country, 56% of newcomers between 2013 and 2017 were from California, according to Nevada DMV data reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Recent migrants from California who spoke to WSJ in February cited a lower cost of living, business opportunities and less traffic as some of the reason why they made the move.

KNTV reported last year that the average cost of a home in Las Vegas was $US249,000, compared to $US923,000 in the Bay Area and $US636,000 in Los Angeles.

Nevada’s economy is going strong as well, with nearly 50,000 jobs added in the last year, according to a jobs report put out in April, the Pahrump Valley Times reports.

Gov. Steve Sisolak boasted in an announcement about the report that the state has the “fastest growing private sector in the nation” and that “small business employment” has reached a new record high.


8. Tennessee gained 37,223 people between 2016 and 2017.

Donald Miralle/Getty Images for Rock ‘n’ Roll MarathonThe Nashville, Tennessee skyline is seen in April 2018.

Like many of the states on this list, Tennessee is a popular state for retirees to move to.

The Street ranked Tennessee #21 on its list of the best states for retirees, thanks to its low cost of living and below average taxes.

But it’s also becoming a hot spot for younger migrants. A 2018 ranking from SmartAsset.com ranked Nashville as the second-best city for creatives.

“In total there are 8,700 people employed in creative occupations. This means for every 10,000 workers about 93 works in a creative field,” the report stated.

StreetAsset.com said that the most popular creative field in Nashville was the music industry, with just under 1,800 singers and musicians living in the city.

US News and World Report this year also ranked Tennessee #12 on states with the strongest economies.

Tennessee has culture in spades, from it’s spin on BBQ to it’s rich music history. In Nashville alone there are a variety of live music venues from the Bluebird Cafe to The Grand Ole Opry. The state also hosts one of the biggest music festivals of the summer, Bonnaroo.


7. South Carolina gained 39,073 people between 2016 and 2017.

Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG via Getty ImagesCharleston, South Carolina is known for his pastel-coloured buildings.

South Carolina, with it’s comfortable climate and stable economy, attracts both young and old migrants.

The state seems particularly popular among retirees. South Carolina came in at #4 on SmartAsset.com’s 2018 ranking of the states where the most retirees are moving, with an estimated 8,521 people 60 years and older moving there in 2016.

US News and World Report also included South Carolina in a list of the 10 most rapidly-ageing states, saying that the population of citizens 65 years and older had nearly doubled in the decade ending in 2016, to more than 830,000.

The University of South Carolina actually put out a report last year, explaining the reason for the state’s population growth, according to the Post and Courier.

It found that Millennials (people in their 30s) and Baby Boomers (people in their 60s and early 70s) were the fastest-growing population groups in South Carolina.

University of South Carolina economist Joseph Von Nessen told the Post and Courier that “a good chunk of the older newcomers relocate from the Northeast in search of milder climates and lower cost of living.”

Meanwhile, the younger migrants are looking for jobs and affordable housing after leaving states like Arizona, California, and Colorado, he said.


6. Oregon gained 40,059 people between 2016 and 2017.

Mike Albright Photography/ShutterstockBend, Oregon — one of the fastest growing cities in America — is pictured above.

Oregon’s exploding tech center is one reason why so many Americans are moving to the Beaver State.

With companies like Intel and Xerox setting up offices and manufacturing plants in the greater Portland area, the region has been dubbed the “Silicon Forest.”

But it’s not just the tech industry that is wooing workers to Oregon. Statistics released by the state’s employment department in September show that between 2017 and 2018, Oregon created 42,000 jobs, with 11,400 in construction. One of the other growing industries is health care, which added 6,400 jobs in that same period of time.

According to CNBC, state economists have said this boom in health care jobs is in response to the state’s ageing population.

In fact, many retirees have also been moving to Oregon, though it may not seem like an obvious choice for older Americans.

According to an analysis by SmartAsset.com, Oregon ranked #7 when it came to the states where the most retirees were moving in 2018.

Oregon does have a mostly mild climate year-round, and a varied landscape – from snow-covered mountains to scenic coasts to a high desert – that would be positives for a more active retiree.


5. Texas gained 61,043 people between 2016 and 2017.

Education Images/UIG via Getty ImagesTourists take a River Walk boat tour in San Antonio, Texas.

Texas’ rapidly-growing population is most likely due to its economy.

Just last year, CNBC named the Lone Star State the best state for business, thanks in large part to the oil industry, which continues to be a major contributor to the state’s GDP.

Between 2017 and 2018, the state added over 240,000 jobs, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, with mining and logging accounting for the fastest-growing industries.

But Texas is also beginning to establish a tech industry as well, with Apple, Google and Amazon setting up new offices in Austin. And Inc. magazine dubbed San Antonio a “tech hub” last year thanks to its multiple cybersecurity start-ups.

In fact, according to Census data released last year, San Antonio saw the most population growth between 2016 and 2017 of any large city in the US. When it comes to counties, Harris County, which includes Houston, was the third fastest-growing county in the nation.

In January, moving van rental company U-Haul released its annual report and named Texas as the most popular state to move to for a third year in a row.

“Since Houston is booming, surrounding cities are seeing growth as well,” Robert Abidin, U-Haul Company of Northeast Houston president, said in a press release about the report. “Spring is home to the new ExxonMobil® campus, which is bringing thousands of jobs to the area. The oil and gas industry brings people from all over the world to Texas.”


4. Washington gained 62,062 people between 2016 and 2017.

Unlike most of the states on this list, Washington is growing not so much because of a rising senior population, but because of a strong population of young workers.

With several companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks and Boeing headquartered in the state, it offers plenty of job opportunities.

An analysis last year by SmartAsset.com found that Washington was the state where the most Millennials moved in 2016, with the bulk of that group settling in Seattle.

“It is not too surprising that millennials are flocking to Seattle, it is one of the best cities for young professionals and Washington has no income tax,” the website stated.

In April, WalletHub also ranked Washington #3 on its list of the best states for Millennials to move to, based on affordability, education and health, quality of life, economic health and civic engagement.

While Washington may not seem like the most obvious place for retirees to settle, it’s also become popular with older generations.

Last year, US News and World Report included Washington among its top 10 most rapidly-ageing states list. Over 1 million retirees live in the state, which is a 47.2% increase over the last decade ending in 2016.


3. North Carolina gained 73,545 people between 2016 and 2017.

Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG via Getty ImagesNorth Carolina’s scenic coast is a popular place for retirees to settle down. Pictured above is the boardwalk at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

With a mild climate and more than 300 miles of scenic coastline, it’s no wonder that North Carolina has become one of the most popular places to move in the US.

It’s allure seems to resonate with retirees particularly. According to a ranking of the best states for retirees to move to by The Street, North Carolina came in at #7 because of its “pleasant climate and low cost of living.”

There’s data to back that up, too. SmartAsset.com analysed which states the most retirees were moving to, and North Carolina came in at #3 at the list, with an estimated 15,665 people age 60 and older moving to the state for their golden years in 2016.

US News and World Report also ranks North Carolina’s economy as among the strongest in the nation, thanks to a growing GDP and young population.

Charlotte has become a hub for banking, while some of the states other big industries include food processing, pharmaceuticals, technology, and vehicle parts, according to the magazine.


2. Arizona gained 98,843 people between 2016 and 2017.

Dave Cruz/Barcroft Images/Barcroft Media via Getty ImagesRetirement-age Baby Boomers make up a considerable percentage of the population in Arizona. Above, Sun City retirees practice their cheerleading moves.

Arizona is the second-fastest growing state in the country in terms of population, and a lot of that has to do with retirees.

The Grand Canyon State is among the most rapidly-ageing states in the US, according to a 2018 report from US News and World Report.

That report showed that 1.17 million people in Arizona are 65 years or older, or 17% of the state’s total population. The state experienced a 50% growth in this population segment between 2006 and 2016.

Arizona’s year-round dry heat likely contributes to its allure to ageing Americans, but it also attracts this group with its low cost of living and below average taxes, according to a ranking of the best US states for retirees by The Street.

Arizona’s economy is also booming. According to a 2019 ranking from US News and World Report, Arizona’s economy was ranked #10 in the nation, thanks mostly to its friendly business environment and strong GDP.


1. Florida gained 145,094 people between 2016 and 2017.

Topping the list is Florida, which saw a net migration to the state of more than 145,000 between 2016 and 2017.

The Sunshine State’s year-round warm weather and beaches are part of what makes it so attractive, especially for retirees.

In fact, SmartAsset.com did an analysis of the states where the most retirees were moving in 2018, and Florida topped the list, with an estimated 84,663 Americans 60 years and older settling down there.

But it’s not just the good weather, beaches, and golf courses that make Florida a retirement haven.

It’s also one of the most tax-friendly states, and has a sturdy economy to boot.

According to a 2018 ranking by Kiplinger on the most tax-friendly states for retirees, Florida came in at #5 thanks in part to the fact that it imposes no state income tax on its residents.

Florida also comes in at #7 on US News and World Report’s ranking of states with the best economic growth.

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