U-Haul Growth Index: Texas is the No. 1 Growth State of 2021

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

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By: U-Haul

Migration to southern states continues to be magnified by the lingering pandemic, and no state netted more U-Haul® customers during the last year than Texas.

The Lone Star State earned bragging rights as the leading growth state of 2021, narrowly besting Florida for tops honors, according to transactional data compiled for the annual U-Haul Growth Index.

Tennessee ranks third, South Carolina fourth and Arizona fifth among the top growth states.

Growth states are calculated by the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks entering a state versus leaving that state in a calendar year. Migration trends data is compiled from well over 2 million one-way U-Haul truck customer transactions that occur annually.

California is 50th and Illinois 49th on the list for the second consecutive year, indicating those states once again witnessed the largest net losses of one-way U-Haul trucks.

Texas reclaims the No. 1 growth state status it held from 2016-18. It ranked second to Florida in 2019 and Tennessee in 2020.

“We see a lot of growth coming from the East and West Coast,” said Matt Merrill, U-Haul Area District Vice President of the Dallas Fort-Worth Metroplex and West Texas. “A lot of people moving here from California (and) New York. We also see a lot of people coming in from the Chicago markets. I think that’s a lot due to the job growth – a lot of opportunity here. The cost of living here is much lower than those areas. Texas is open for business.”

Indiana, Colorado, Maine, Idaho and New Mexico round out the top 10 growth states of 2021 as self-movers target the Southeast, Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions as their destinations of choice.

Select Northeast markets showed year-over-year migration recoveries as Maine rose 21 spots, Vermont 14 spots and Connecticut 25 spots in the U-Haul Growth Index. Yet three of the six states with the largest net losses were also in the Northeast: New York (45), Massachusetts (47) and Pennsylvania (48).

California remained the top state for out-migration, but its net loss of U-Haul trucks wasn’t as severe as in 2020. That can be partially attributed to the fact that U-Haul simply ran out of inventory to meet customer demand for outbound equipment.

Texas’s growth is statewide, although some of its biggest gains occurred in the suburbs around the DFW Metroplex. Florida’s gains are equally widespread, with considerable growth south of Orlando and along both coastlines.

Overall moving traffic across Texas increased in 2021, as it did in most states. Arrivals of one-way U-Haul trucks jumped 19% while departures rose 18% over 2020. Arrivals made up 50.2% of all one-way U-Haul traffic last year in Texas.

“The Texas economy is growing fast,” stated Kristina Ramos, U-Haul Company of South Austin president. “With a strong job market and low cost of living, it’s a no brainer. Texas doesn’t have an income tax, so families get more for their money.”

While U-Haul migration trends do not correlate directly to population or economic growth, the U-Haul Growth Index is an effective gauge of how well cities are both attracting and maintaining residents.

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