The cities in which Americans traveled the most in 2021, according to Penske

The cities in which Americans traveled the most in 2021, according to Penske

Fewer Americans are moving than ever before, according to recent data from the US Census Bureau, but a new report indicates that those taking the plunge are flocking to some familiar cities.

Houston, Las Vegas and Phoenix topped this year’s edition of the annual Top Moving Destinations report from truck rental company Penske, which uses data from its one-way truck rental bookings to compile a list of 10 most popular cities in the country for movers. More generally, the Sun Belt led the way, with Dallas, Austin and San Antonio also coming out on top.

Eight of the 10 cities made the list in 2020, creating some consistency in the pandemic era. The two newcomers this year — Chicago and Charlotte, North Carolina — reappeared after a five-year and three-year hiatus from the roster, respectively.

Here are the country’s top 10 moving destinations for 2021, according to Penske’s report:

  1. Houston
  2. Vegas
  3. Phoenix
  4. Charlotte, North Carolina (which has not ranked in the top 10 since 2017)
  5. denver
  6. Saint Anthony
  7. dallas
  8. Orlando Florida
  9. Austin, TX
  10. Chicago (which hasn’t ranked in the top 10 since 2015)

Penske says it’s been compiling its annual list since 2010. U-Haul also publishes a similar report every year, using data from its own one-way rental customer transactions, more recently identifying top states across the country for movers. like Tennessee, Texas and Florida.

The drop in the country’s moving rate is historic: according to a March report from the US Census Bureau, 8.4% of people changed their residence in 2021, compared to 9.3% in 2020. This is the lowest since the Bureau began collecting this data in 1948, and less than half the rate of that inaugural year.

Interestingly, this is not a pandemic event: the rate has decreased or remained stable every year for the past five years. During the same period, most Americans who moved remained in their city or state, with relatively few people crossing state lines to establish new residences.

“In 2021, less than a fifth [of movers] moved between states, while more than half moved within the same county,” the Bureau report noted. “This was also the case from 2017 to 2020.”

The report identified two trends that could be attributed to the pandemic: fewer international movers, which “may be linked to international travel restrictions”, and fewer people moving for work reasons.

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