Texas Is Top Destination for Migration in 2023: U-Haul Report

Texas Is Top Destination for Migration in 2023: U-Haul Report
A general view of the Texas state flag during an event in San Antonio, Texas, on March 30, 2023. (Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)
Frank Fang

Texas was the top destination for one-way U-Haul truck users in 2023, marking the third straight year it took the top spot on the annual U-Haul Growth Index.

The moving and storage rental compiles the list by calculating the net gain or loss of one-way U-Haul trucks entering a state versus leaving that state in a calendar year. According to the company, the 2023 calculation was based on more than 2.5 million one-way U-Haul truck, trailer, and U-Box moving container transactions.

U-Haul stated that “do-it-yourself” movers arriving in Texas accounted for 50.4 percent of all one-way U-Haul traffic in and out of the state in 2023, keeping the Lone Star State leading in growth.

Florida finished second in top net gains of one-way U-Haul trucks, followed by North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The bottom five states include Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois, and Massachusetts, with California seeing the largest net loss. New York finished 43rd on the list.

“While one-way transactions in 2023 remained below the record-breaking levels we witnessed immediately following the pandemic, we continued to see many of the same geographical trends from U-Haul customers moving between states,” said John Taylor, U-Haul International president.

“Migration to states in the Southeast and Southwest is still very pronounced,” Mr. Taylor added. “Demand for one-way equipment out of certain markets in the Northeast, Midwest, and West Coast mirrors what we have seen during recent moving cycles. Wherever DIY customers go, and whatever mobility and self-storage needs they have in 2024, U-Haul will be there with solutions.”

According to U-Haul, Texas ranked first as the top growth state for the sixth time since 2016, but Florida is “equally appealing.”

“Florida remains equally appealing to new residents, netting almost as many one-way U-Haul customers as Texas in 2023,” the company added. The Sunshine State has finished second since 2021.
Responding to the latest U-Haul Growth Index, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wrote, “Our job ... is to KEEP Texas, Texas!” in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Jan. 2.
Mr. Abbott wrote in another post: “People are flocking to Texas because of our low taxes, reasonable regulations, & world-class workforce. The Lone Star State is a beacon of freedom & opportunity where ALL Texans can thrive.”

Arkansas saw the biggest jump in growth rankings, moving from 43rd in 2022 to 17th in 2023. Wyoming was next in line, climbing 19 spots, followed by Vermont (18 spots), Washington (16 spots), and Delaware (12 spots).

Oregon had the biggest drop, moving from 22nd in 2022 to 37th in 2023. Other biggest fallers included Connecticut (14 spots), Pennsylvania (14 spots), Ohio (14 spots), Missouri (13 spots), and Indiana (13 spots).

A U.S. Census release last month showed Texas adding more new residents than any other state in 2023, or 473,453 people. In terms of population growth rate, Texas was third with 1.6 percent, behind South Carolina and Florida.
A Wells Fargo analysis published last month said Texas “continues to stand out as one of the star state economies in the United States.” The state had a 7.7 percent GDP growth in the third quarter, higher than the nation’s 4.9 percent GDP growth.

“The Lone Star State has now outpaced the national average in terms of real GDP growth for five consecutive quarters, a streak which is emblematic of Texas’ rapid recovery from the pandemic recession in 2020. The state’s real GDP is now 12% above the level registered in Q4-2019, outpacing all but six other states,” the analysis said.

Wells Fargo predicted that the Texas economy will slow this year but remain strong in the long run.

“Growth looks set to slow in the near term as the macroeconomic backdrop deteriorates and the U.S. economy likely enters a mild recession in 2024. Over the longer run, however, evidence continues to mount that the Lone Star State is quickly becoming a superstar economy,” the analysis said.