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Moving truck data again ranks Michigan as among worst states for migration

untied vanlines
For years, Michigan has ranked as among the worst states in the nation for moving van migration, with more leaving the state than entering it. (oksana.perkins /
  • More bad news for Michigan as two national moving companies say state — again — in 2023 had more people move out than in 
  • It’s the seventh consecutive year Michigan has been among the five worst states, according to Allied Van Lines
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has made it a goal to revive the state by attracting more people

Once again, Michigan’s population struggles can be measured by the direction of moving trucks.

New data from United Van Lines and Allied Van Lines show far more trucks left Michigan than entered it in 2023, making it again one of the worst in the nation for state-to-state moves.


In every year since 2017, Michigan has been among the five worst in the nation, according to Allied Van Lines, and for three years running according to United Van Lines.


Michigan has company in the Great Lakes: Illinois and Pennsylvania have also been consistently among the worst net losers, along with California.

If there’s a silver lining, it’s that the percentage of moving trucks in Michigan that are coming into the state (43.2%) is the highest it’s been in years (even though the rate is still fourth-worst among states.)

Between 2018 and 2022, the rate hovered between 35% and 38.6%.


The improvement, however slight, comes as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has made growing the state’s population a top goal. 

She’s assembled a commission to pitch ideas on how to make the state more attractive and reverse stagnation that has Michigan 49th among all states in population growth since 1990.

Among the commission’s suggestions: investing in “regional innovation districts,” making it easier to grow or start a business and creating incentives to attract people to live in the state.

Michigan’s population has grown from 9.3 million in 1990 to 10 million and remains the 10th biggest state in the union. But in the past 30 years, both North Carolina and Georgia have surpassed Michigan in population. 

The latest estimates from 2023 showed the state gained nearly 4,000 people in 2023 — but had lost about 40,400 overall since 2020, leading to job shortages statewide and quality-of-life challenges.

The moving van data is a snapshot of the problem and should not be considered as definitive as Census data, which can rely on its own surveys, income tax returns and other datasets to paint a complete picture.


But the moving van data contains worrisome nuggets: In 2023, 31% of those departing the state said they were leaving for jobs, compared to just 17% of those moving to the state.

And the data shows that a greater percentage of those leaving were 34 or younger compared to those who were coming. 

Census data from 2022 backs that up: an estimated 42% of people coming into Michigan were between the ages of 18 and 34, the 12th lowest percentage in the nation (the average was 46%; the highest was New York at 64%).

Not all the Midwest has been hit by the migration bug: both Indiana and Ohio were net gainers, according to Allied Van Lines (United Van Lines had Ohio as a narrow net-loser, 51% out, 49% in).

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