Texas was the top destination for one-way U-Haul rental trips in 2021, while California topped the list for outward migration and even ran out of U-Haul trucks for people wanting to leave the state, a new report from U-Haul shows.
The moving and storage rental company has a “U-Haul Growth Index,” which calculates the net gain or loss of one-way U-Haul trucks entering a state versus those leaving that state in a calendar year.
The southern states took the lead in the U-Haul Growth Index report, with Texas narrowly beating Florida as the top growth state of 2021. Texas notably saw more than half (50.2 percent) of all one-way U-Haul traffic in 2021.
Tennessee, South Carolina, and Arizona came in third, fourth, and fifth in top net gains of one-way U-Haul trucks.
While Texas and Florida had widespread growth statewide, the company said the highest number of Texas’s one-way trips were toward the suburbs around the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex, while Florida saw “considerable growth” south of Orlando and along both of its coastlines.
The data encompasses more than 2 million yearly one-way U-Haul truck trips, according to the company.
California came last—No. 50—on the list of net gains, with Illinois just ahead in 49th place for the second consecutive year, meaning these states saw the largest net losses of one-way U-Haul trucks in 2021.
California topped U-Haul’s list for one-way outbound migration. The net loss of trucks wasn’t as drastic as it was in 2020—but this might be “partially attributed to the fact that U-Haul simply ran out of inventory to meet customer demand for outbound equipment,” the company stated.
Matt Merrill, U-Haul area district vice president of the DFW Metroplex and West Texas, said Texas is seeing “a lot of growth” from the East and West Coasts, with “a lot of people moving here from California [and] New York.”
“We also see a lot of people coming in from the Chicago markets,” Merrill said. “I think that’s a lot due to the job growth—a lot of opportunity here. The cost of living here is much lower than those areas. Texas is open for business.”
Kristina Ramos, president of the U-Haul Company of South Austin, said Texas’s economy is growing fast.
“With a strong job market and low cost of living, it’s a no-brainer,” Ramos said. “Texas doesn’t have an income tax, so families get more for their money.”
The company points out that U-Haul migration trends “do not correlate directly to population or economic growth,” but the U-Haul Growth Index makes for “an effective gauge of how well cities are both attracting and maintaining residents.”