Special Report

The 20 American Cities Where the Most People Are Leaving

ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images

The primary catalyst of moves in the past year and half is the work-from-home lifestyle driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies were forced to clear out offices because of the virus. Some of these companies have decided to allow workers to work wherever they would like.

United Van Lines tracks which cities and states people are leaving and which they are going to in its Annual National Movers Study, which it has published for 45 years. The research is based on the number of households United Van Lines has moved. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the study to find the 20 metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of outbound moves in 2021. A metro area had to have more than 100 moves to be considered.

Commenting on the results, Michael A. Stoll, economist and professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, said, “This new data from United Van Lines is indicative of COVID-19’s impact on domestic migration patterns, with 2021 bringing an acceleration of moves to smaller, midsized towns and cities.” (These are the 16 states where the population shrank since the pandemic started.)

One trend the study shows is that the cities people are leaving tend to be concentrated around New York City. The city with the highest percentage of departures is Nassau-Suffolk, which is east of the city on Long Island. Departures accounted for 79% of total moves. Of the 12 metropolitan areas with the highest outbound moves, seven are in the New York City area.

These are the 20 cities Americans are moving out of the fastest

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

20. Lake, IL
> Percent of moves outbound: 67%

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19. Bismarck, ND
> Percent of moves outbound: 67%

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18. Rockford, IL
> Percent of moves outbound: 67%

17. Monmouth, NJ
> Percent of moves outbound: 68%

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16. Hamilton, OH
> Percent of moves outbound: 68%

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15. Oxnard, CA
> Percent of moves outbound: 69%

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14. Lake Charles, LA
> Percent of moves outbound: 69%

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13. Chicago, IL
> Percent of moves outbound: 70%

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12. Jersey City, NJ
> Percent of moves outbound: 71%

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11. Trenton, NJ
> Percent of moves outbound: 71%

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10. Springfield, IL
> Percent of moves outbound: 72%

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9. Middlesex, NJ
> Percent of moves outbound: 72%

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8. Poughkeepsie, NY
> Percent of moves outbound: 73%

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7. Joliet, IL
> Percent of moves outbound: 74%

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6. Newark, NJ
> Percent of moves outbound: 74%

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5. Binghamton, NY
> Percent of moves outbound: 75%

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4. Bergen, NJ
> Percent of moves outbound: 76%

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3. Santa Cruz, CA
> Percent of moves outbound: 76%

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2. Hagerstown, MD
> Percent of moves outbound: 77%

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

1. Nassau-Suffolk, NY
> Percent of moves outbound: 79%

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