One more year has passed, and as usual Call the Movers would like to professionally review the moving trends 2020. Everybody agrees that 2020 was a challenging and difficult year for almost all of us. Many industries had to go online to keep operating. But what about moving in the year of the pandemic? Does it have a significant effect on moving habits, reasons, and directions? We have prepared this article to paint a picture of how Americans moved in 2020 and what changes the moving industry embraced.

Like in the previous year (see more about moving trends in 2019 – here), Call the Movers have analyzed the 44th Annual National Migration Study and the 2021 HireAHelper American Migration Report to share some interesting insights and highlights regarding moving trends 2020.


Online EstimateTo keep employees and clients safe, the virtual and online moving estimates became a significant tool to evaluate moving-related costs. Instead of face-to-face meetings and in-home estimating, digital processes became a day-to-day practice.

The Peak Season. As the pandemic hit in the spring and summer, 30% more Americans moved in the late summer and fall than in 2019. So, the moving industry experienced the fall season peak, because Americans continued moving throughout the fall at unprecedented levels.

Daily Routine. Movers had to change their daily routine, because of the need to assign more time for proper disinfection of the surfaces of the moving trucks and wearing and regularly changing their personal protection equipment – masks, gloves.

The Moving Distance. The vast majority of Americans who move do it locally within a distance of 27.7 miles on average. In 2020, that changed. The average distance for a move was 49% longer because of the wish to find a safer place.


  • A quarter (25%) of Americans who moved in 2020 did it because of pandemic reasons, while in 2019 a new job opportunity or a company transfer was the most common reason for relocation. On the contrary, in 2020, 28% of the people moved away from their job-related living places, because they started working from home and no longer had to live close to their work.
  • Wishing to be closer to a family was even stronger in moving trends 2020. COVID-19 forced 31% of Americans who relocated to move to either shelter-in-place with the family or to take care of family members.
  • Another major reason for moving was related to changes in employment. A total of 35% of the people who moved were forced to move because of financial hardship and income change. The average square footage of the move was 282 square feet smaller than in 2019.


  • 36% of the people who relocated moved to a place where they felt safer – where there were fewer pandemic cases, while 10% of the people deliberately moved somewhere where lockdowns were not as tight, and the schools were open.
  • 8% of the people who moved used the pandemic as an opportunity to sell their homes and find a new career path.
  • Only 3% of Americans who were forced to move because of the pandemic moved to a larger place in order to either work from home or keep the kids at home while schools were closed.

Throughout 2020, we saw many new remote workers leaving big cities in droves, students relocating back home as colleges and universities went online, and those who moved to a different city to wait for the pandemic to end. But can you believe that twice as many people moved into Idaho as moved out of it? It has been the top inbound state for two years now!

Call the Movers reveals the TOP 10 states Americans were moving to in 2020:

  1. Idaho
  2. South Carolina
  3. Oregon
  4. South Dakota
  5. Arizona
  6. North Carolina
  7. Tennessee
  8. Alabama
  9. Florida
  10. Arkansas

The biggest changes about inbound states are that Washington, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia are no longer in the TOP 10, and were replaced with Tennessee, Alabama, and Arkansas. Since 2019, South Dakota has moved up from 8th place to 4th place, North Carolina from 9th place to 6th place and Florida has dropped from 7th to 9th place.

Throughout the pandemic in 2020, major metropolitan areas and hotspots, such as New York City (72%), Newark (72%), and Chicago (69%), experienced the bigger increase in outbound move rates, while lower-density cities like Wilmington, North Carolina (79%) and Boise, Idaho (75%) saw higher levels of inbound moves.

The TOP 10 outbound states for 2020 were:

  1. New Jersey
  2. New York
  3. Illinois
  4. Connecticut
  5. California
  6. Kansas
  7. North Dakota
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Ohio
  10. Maryland

The TOP 3 outbound states have not changed since last year, because people are leaving the states with a higher cost of living and ever-expanding cities. Maryland and Massachusetts have entered the chart and kicked out Iowa and Michigan from the TOP 10. Iowa and Michigan have been on the top outbound list since 2018. North Dakota and California faced higher outbound rates in 2020 than in 2019, while Ohio dropped from 6th to 9th place.

In moving trends 2020, there were some changes in the balanced states (with nearly the same number of residents moving in and out) as well. In 2019, the most balanced states were Maine and Oklahoma, while currently, they are New Hampshire and Montana that have plenty of outdoor activities, national parks, forests, and mountains.

Despite all of the unpredictability of moving trends 2020, moving directions and habits seemed reasonable – people just wanted to feel safer and more stress-free. We expect more calmness and positivity in 2021 because we have put in a lot of effort to accept the new reality as our daily routine. With decades of experience and know-how in local and long-distance moving, we are keeping on working hard to provide the best, smoothest, stress-free, and now the safest moving experiences to our valuable consumers in Fairfax VA, Northern Virginia, Maryland, or Washington D.C.


  1. United Van Lines 44rd Annual National Movers Study.
  2. The 2021 HireAHelper American Migration Report.