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January 5, 2023

Hello, Maine: New residents continued to pour in last year, though pace slowed

Top 10 inbound destinations, 2022
  1. North Carolina (64%)
  2. Maine (63%)
  3. Arkansas (59%)
  4. Florida (59%)
  5. Montana (59%)
  6. Washington (59%)
  7. New Mexico (58%)
  8. Tennessee (58%)
  9. Alabama (57%)
  10. New Hampshire (57%)

More Information
Atlas Van Lines
On this map, blue indicates states that had more people move in than move out. Maine was No. 2 for 2022.

In the past three years, Maine has ranked in the Top 3 of destinations for households that moved, according to Atlas Van Lines.

Atlas Van Lines reported this week in its annual "Migration Patterns Study" that Maine ranked No. 2 among its “inbound migrations,” down a notch from 2021’s top spot but above the No. 3 ranking for 2020.

North Carolina was the top state, with 64% of the moving contracts for inbound households and 36% outbound. 

In Maine, 63% of households were moving in, 37% headed out. 

Atlas Van Lines, which is based in Evansville, Ind., has measured "migration patterns" since 1992. It said in the past two years its findings have reflected "unprecedented economic and societal shifts."

Meanwhile, United Van Lines, which for 2021 had Maine at No. 14 among states with "inbound" moves, showed Maine falling slightly to No. 17 for 2022.

United showed 54.3% of its Maine-related customers were moving in, with 45.7% moving out. About 1 in 5 households, or 19.5%, were moving to Maine for a job. More than a third, 35.37%, were moving here for retirement.

Nearly half of the inbound customers were 65 years old or older, while nearly 42% of those shipping out were 65 or older. Among customers 18 to 34 years old, just 3% were inbound, while 14% were leaving Maine, United data showed.

Maine's slow population growth

Maine's population, which had been stagnant for many years, has grown slightly over the past two years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

  • April 2010: 1,328,361
  • April 2020: 1,362,341
  • July 2021: 1,377,238 
  • July 2022: 1,385,340 

The country's fastest-growing state last year was Florida, which displaced Nevada, according to the Census Bureau.

Not everyone hires a moving company

Now, the news from Atlas Van Lines may be tempered a bit by a report by U-Haul, which in its Growth Index study has Maine at No. 29.

"People arriving in Maine in one-way U-Haul trucks fell 10% from 2021, while departures fell 7% year-over-year as overall traffic slowed," U-Haul said this week. "Despite a greater year-over-year drop in arrivals, do-it-yourself movers arriving in Maine still accounted for more than 50.1% of all one-way U-Haul truck traffic in and out of the state (49.9% departures)."

Courtesy / U-Haul
Maine ranked No. 29 in U-Haul's annual growth study, down from No. 8 in 2021.

In 2021, Maine ranked No. 8 in the growth ranking.

The U-Haul Growth Index is compiled according to the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks arriving in a state or city, versus departing from that state or city, in a calendar year. Migration trends data is compiled from more than 2 million one-way U-Haul truck transactions that occur annually across the U.S. and Canada. 

Its top growth states are dominated by Sunbelt and western states.

U-Haul's Top 12  growth states (with previous year's ranking)
1. Texas (1)
2. Florida (2)
3. South Carolina (4)
4. North Carolina (19)
5. Virginia (31)
6. Tennessee (3)
7. Arizona (5)
8. Georgia (23)
9. Ohio (24)
10. Idaho (9)
11. Colorado (7)
12. Utah (28)




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