Kansas continues its trend as a “high outbound” state for migration within the U..S., according to the 2021 United Van Lines survey, with 55% or more “shipments” or households leaving the state. Kansas’ outbound statistics have ranged from 55% to nearly 60% since 2014. The state narrowly avoided being one of the Top Ten outbound locations in 2021, just edging out Nebraska in a list headed by New Jersey, Illinois, New York, Connecticut, and California. The list of most popular inbound states, those with the most households migrating there, is led by Vermont and includes South Dakota, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Florida.
The report indicates the primary motivation for leaving a state remains employment opportunities, including a recent preference for working from home, with moving near family and retirement rounding out the top three. Interestingly, the report notes the gap between moving for a job and moving to be near family closed considerably in 2021. Kansas’ 2021 migration figures show for the first time in recent years that “moving to be near family” outweighed “job opportunities” as the primary factor for moving into the state.
The methodology used by United Van Lines obscures the seriousness of the outbound trend in Kansas. The state is considered the 11th-worst state in the survey based on the percentage of outbound moves to total moves with United. Those percentages can be materially impacted by changes in the total number of moves from year to year.
Comparing the number of outbound moves to the total population, Kansas is the 6th-worst state in the United Van Lines survey.
Colorado, Washington, Virginia, Montana, and Wyoming are the five worst. That means Kansas is losing a higher percentage of the population due to outbound migrations than states like California, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York.
Kansas had a small net gain of about 50 households due to family reasons, but that reflects where families live rather than Kanas being a desirable state. Aside from moves for family reasons, 39% of moves were inbound and 61% were outbound.