Alabama Among Top States People Moved to in 2023

Alabama Among Top States People Moved to in 2023

There’s a lot of pride among folks who call Alabama home.  From championship sports teams to award winning chefs and scenic mountains to sugar white sandy beaches, Alabama is a hidden gem among states – until now.  A recent national study by United Van Lines ranked Alabama 8th among states customers moved to in 2023.  That’s a climb of two spots in the annual ranking from 2022 when Alabama ranked number 10.  Alabama has ranked in the top 10 for three years and had positive inbound migration for the past five years, according to the study. 

United Van Lines, the nation’s largest mover of household goods has tracked migration patterns on a state-by-state basis since 1977.  This year’s study of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia, found more moves headed eastward and southward.  “We are continuing to see the trend that Americans are moving to more affordable, lower-density areas across the country, with many heading to Southern states,” United Van Lines Vice President of Corporate Communications Eily Cummings said. “Movers are also becoming more strategic with their planning, as relocation continues to be driven by factors such as the price of housing, regional climates, urban planning and job growth.”

Here are the top 10 locations for inward migration:

  1. Vermont 
  2. Washington, D.C. 
  3. South Carolina 
  4. Arkansas 
  5. Rhode Island 
  6. North Carolina 
  7. South Dakota 
  8. Alabama 
  9. New Mexico 
  10. West Virginia


Why Alabama?

You might guess that newcomers are choosing Alabama for our Southern hospitality, fabulous food, or beautiful and diverse landscapes. Guess again. While all those attributes factor into Alabama’s popularity, jobs and families are Alabama’s primary attraction for new residents.  United Van Lines’ study found that, in 2023, more than 30% said they were moving to Alabama for a job; more than 25% said they were moving in for family reasons; and nearly 13% said they were moving to Alabama to retire.  Those numbers are down slightly compared to 2022. Instead, according to the United study, movers are becoming more interested in the cost of living and affordable housing. Alabama ranked as the first choice among those whose primary reason for moving was to improve their cost of living. A recent ForbesHome article ranked Alabama as the third cheapest state to live in for 2024 citing housing costs 29.9% below the national average. WalletHub ranked Alabama, at 39, among the states with the lowest overall tax burden.

Alabama’s economic attraction is not surprising given the state’s ongoing job growth, low unemployment, low property and state income taxes, and overall livability.  In November 2023, there were 2,169,400 jobs in Alabama, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is an increase of nearly 39,000 jobs over last year.  Alabama also enjoys one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates at 2.4% (compared to the U.S. rate of 3.7%).  Alabama residents have ample opportunities for work, recreation, education, and job training.  


Newcomers Need REALTORS®

Alabama’s housing market plays an important role in attracting new residents.  The median sales price of an existing home in Alabama was $215,018 in November 2023 compared to the national median home sales price of $387,600. Often, homeowners moving to Alabama are pleasantly surprised by how much home they can afford compared to their former home state.  Whether owning or renting, housing costs less in Alabama.  For the real estate market, that means that inbound clients could be willing to spend more on a new home and still feel they are saving money overall.

REALTORS® may find that higher inbound migration means more clients who may be looking for relocation services – specially trained REALTORS® who can ease the burden of transitioning from one state to another.  A brokerage with agents who have obtained certification as a Certified Relocation Professional® or Military Relocation Professional can appeal to movers as they search for a new home, financing, community amenities, and even a church and schools. 

So what states are most of those in the study moving from?  Here are the top 10:

  1. New Jersey
  2. Illinois
  3. North Dakota
  4.  New York
  5. Michigan
  6. California
  7. Massachusetts
  8.  Kansas


The Demographics

People 65 or older were the largest group moving to Alabama, making up over 30% of the total moved by United. More than 28% were 55-64 years old and just under 7% were between 18 and 34 years old.  Alabama is the new Florida when it comes to attracting the pre- and post-retirement crowd. A May 2023 Wall Street Journal article cited a trend of retirees opting to move to Alabama instead of Florida because of housing and overall affordability.

Nearly 46% of those moving into Alabama put their annual household incomes at $150,000 or more. Nearly 32% put their income at $75,000 or below.  

Alabama’s real estate market likely will continue to be affected positively by inbound migration. If the trend continues, REALTORS® may expect increased demand and upward movement in prices on residential, commercial, and investment properties.