New Jersey, the most densely-populated state, has been one of the states people have been fleeing rather than flocking to during the pandemic. According to United Van Lines’ National Migration Study, New Jersey topped the list of outbound locations in 2020 — and not for the first time. The state topped the outbound list in the past three years and has been in the top 10 for the past decade.
But where do people from New Jersey move to the most? To determine residents’ pre-pandemic relocation patterns, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed state-to-state migration flows from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. This data records the number of people living in other states (or Washington D.C.) in 2019 who had lived in New Jersey the previous year. (All data on the list is from the ACS and rankings are out of a universe of 49 states and the District of Columbia.)
Well, it turns out that people from the Garden State don’t go that far when they move — at least they didn’t in 2019, before the pandemic. Nearly a third who moved from New Jersey that year ended up in neighboring New York or Pennsylvania. Another 20% remained on the East Coast but moved further south, to warmer Florida and North Carolina. (Find out where people from Pennsylvania are moving the most.)
In fact, all but two of the top 10 destinations for people who moved out of New Jersey in 2019 were along the East Coast — those two exceptions being Texas and California. About 4.5% of movers from New Jersey decided to go to the Lone Star State, and 4.7% moved across the country to the Golden State. (Find out where people from California are moving to the most.)
The reason most people from New Jersey cited for moving out of state in 2019 was for a job (35%), with retirement close behind at 33%, and family at 22%, according to the United Van Lines survey. The reasons were slightly different in 2020, with 32% citing retirement as reason for leaving the state, 28% citing family, and 23% citing jobs.