Vermont was 'the most popular state to move to' last year, study says—here's why

Sign for Maple Syrup in Woodstock, VT
Michele Falzone | AWL Images | Getty Images

Vermont was the No. 1 state to move to in 2018, according to moving and relocation company United Vans Lines. The top reason for migration: professional opportunity. Of those who moved in, 34 percent listed "job" as the deciding factor.

"A leading motivation behind these migration patterns across all regions," in fact, "is a career change," the report says. About "one out of every two people who moved in the past year moved for a new job or company transfer."

Vermont stands out, UVL explains, since "companies hold pride in their commitment to employees and community. They're well-known for their progressive maternity and paternity leave policies and donations to charitable causes. Environmental sustainability is also very important to businesses in Vermont. So, if any of these benefits are of interest to you, Vermont may be the place to move."

Vermont was also named the No. 1 state to live in by CNBC's 2018 Top States for Business analysis and one the top 15 states for jobs by U.S. News & World Report, which measured unemployment rate, job growth and labor force participation rate.

Some of the people moving to Vermont are ready to stop working altogether, though, UVL reports: The second most compelling reason to relocate to the state was for retirement.

Meanwhile, about 19 percent of people moving to the Green Mountain State said they wanted to be closer to family, 16 percent cited "lifestyle," and 3 percent said "health."

In the map below, the dark blue states are "high inbound" and the yellow ones are "high outbound."

Of the total moves related to the state of Vermont, a whopping 73 percent were inbound while only 27 percent were outbound. In the second most popular state, Oregon, nearly 64 percent of all moves were inbound.

There seems to be a larger trend of Americans leaving the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, which makes Vermont an exception. New Jersey, Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts all ranked in the top 10 states where the highest share of residents moved out.

"The data aligns with longer-term migration patterns to southern and western states, trends driven by factors like job growth, lower costs of living, state budgetary challenges and more temperate climates," Michael Stoll, economist and professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, says in the report.

Vermont does not offer a notably low cost of living: The state is the fourth most tax-burdened in the country, according to data from financial website WalletHub. It ranks higher than notoriously pricey California, Connecticut and even New Jersey, which was UVL's No. 1 state to move out of in 2018.

There are upsides to taxes, though. Americans who live in states that spend tax dollars on public goods like libraries and parks report greater levels of happiness overall, a study published in the journal Social Science Research found.

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