ST. LOUIS — Americans continue to head west — and to the Mid-Atlantic states — while many are leaving the Great Lakes region behind, according to a study released Wednesday.
St. Louis-based United Van Lines, the nation's largest mover of household goods, has been tracking moves since 1977. Company vice president Carl Walter said the study in the past has accurately reflected trends in migration. He said real estate firms, financial institutions and others use United's data for planning and analysis.
The 2008 study looked at 198,962 interstate household moves in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia.
Missouri reversed a 13-year trend of outbound moves, with 51.4 percent of 2008 moves coming into the Show-Me State. In Illinois, 57.2 percent of moves were outbound, the sixth-highest total. Kansas saw 50.4 percent of interstate moves inbound.
The District of Columbia topped the list for inbound migration, with 62.1 percent of interstate moves going there. Nevada was second (59.2 percent), followed by North Carolina (58.2 percent), Alabama (58.1 percent) and Wyoming (57.8 percent).
Most of the states with high percentages of inbound moves were in the Mid-Atlantic (South Carolina and Delaware also ranked high) or the West — where South Dakota, Oregon and Colorado were high in the rankings as well.
Michigan saw the largest outbound migration, with 67.1 percent of interstate moves heading out. It marked the third straight year that Michigan, hard hit by the economy and layoffs in the auto industry, has seen the highest percentage of outbound migration.
North Dakota (58.9 percent), New Jersey (58.7 percent), Pennsylvania (58 percent) and Rhode Island (57.8 percent) also were in the top five in the percentage of outbound movers. Several other states with high rates of outbound moves were in the Great Lakes region, including Illinois, Indiana, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Most states in the South saw more inbound than outbound moves in 2008. Only two states in the Northeast — Vermont and Massachusetts — had more inbound than outbound migration.